Coll, R. & Taylor, N. (2008). The influence of context on science curricula: Observations, conclusions and some recommendations for curriculum development and implementation. In R. K. Coll & N. Taylor (eds), Science Education in Context: An International Examination of the Influence of Context on Science Curricula Development and Implementation (pp. 355-362). The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2896
The genesis of this project and book was our experiences of teaching science and science education at various levels in developing countries; in the Pacific and the Caribbean. These experiences along with numerous conversations with other teachers and educators who had worked in Africa and elsewhere left us with something of a sense of despair. We constantly confronted Western or foreign science curricula which were plainly alien to science learners in non-Western contexts. We witnessed numerous curricula reforms and professional development initiatives, many of which seemed doomed to failure. In fact Helu-Thaman (1991) referred to the ‘wreckage’ of aid-funded curricula initiatives all around the Pacific. Probably the most alarming aspect in all of this was the role of the foreign expert. Someone, normally ‘aid-funded’, who turned up for a short period of time to tell the locals what they should be doing! The naiveté of some of these people was truly remarkable (or perhaps they just didn’t care?). Failure of the program or reforms was generally attributed to the locals not ‘seeing it through’ or not quite understanding the new curriculum initiatives. There was little effort made to take into account local conditions or the views of local experts, especially teachers.
This article has been published in the book: Science Education in Context: An International Examination of the Influence of Context on Science Curricula Development and Implementation. © 2008 Sense Publishers. Used with permission.