International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB)
- Teaching materials, websites and educationally related publications of ISHPSSB members
- Sites of interest to ISHPSSB members developing their teaching and contributing to wider developments in education about the life sciences
Since the early 1980s scientific developments and their potential implications have been made more accessible to the public. The popularization of science through newspaper journalism, television documentaries, and book publishing has flourished. During the same period concerns that K-12 students become more literate in the established bodies of scientific knowledge have led to new initiatives at the national level in science education (AAAS 1997, Montgomery 1994). Many innovations have centered on “student-active learning” (McNeal and D’Avanzo 1997) that fosters learning of concepts by guiding students to (re)discover them for themselves (e.g., Jungck 1997). Some initiatives, however, have adopted a broader social outlook, especially those attempting to integrate science into college-level liberal arts curricula (Gilbert 1997). Texts, courses, and software have appeared that enliven the facts and theories by presenting the historical and social context in which they were established (e.g., Paul 1995, Hagen et al. 1996).
It is fair to say, however, that the potential for history, philosophy, and social studies of science to inform and be included in science education is relatively undeveloped. We recognize that this is a contentious endeavor — in recent years much publicity has been given to claims that humanistic and social scientific studies of science contribute to “anti-science” sentiments (e.g., Gross and Leavitt 1994). Against these claims, it should be noted that scholars interpreting sciecne and technology have often formulated perspectives unavailable to, or underdeveloped by, scientists, and, on this basis, made contributions valued by scientists to discussions about scientific and technical developments (e.g., Paul 1997). In this spirit, the initiators of the Human Genome Project reserved a small, but significant fraction of the Project’s budget for studies of the ethical, legal and social implications of genetics.
The challenge — one many ISHPSSB members already work hard to address — is to promote further the constructively critical analysis of science among students, practicing scientists, and the wider public as well as among STS scholars. In this spirit, the Society’s general meeting in Seattle endorsed the idea of connecting with other educational initiatives in the life sciences and established an educational committee. The committee has established this website, which is very much still in construction. We invite suggestions for additional links, including links to your own syllabi and other work. Files sent by email attachment can also be included on the site. Please also send bibliographic references and feedback on links we have included.
Peter Taylor, syllabi on Critical & Creative Thinking, Biology & Society, Environmental Studies, and Science, Technology & Society
- Bioquest, Co-ordinated by John Jungck
- Developmental Biology, ever developing companion to Scott Gilbert’s textbook
- SHiPS, network linking science teachers applying Sociology, History and Philosophy of Science
Sites of interest to ISHPSSB members developing their teaching and contributing to wider developments in education about the life sciences
Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences
ISHPSSB representative to CELS, Douglas Allchin, firstname.lastname@example.org
AAAS (1997). Blueprints for Reform. http://project2061.aaas.org/products/bluepol/ blpframe.html.
Gross, P. R. and N. Levitt (1994). Higher Superstition : the Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Gilbert, S. F. (1997). “Bodies of Knowledge: Biology and the Intercultural University,” in P. J. Taylor, S. E. Halfon and P. E. Edwards (Eds.), Changing Life: Genomes-Ecologies-Bodies-Commodities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 36-55.
Hagen, J., D. Allchin and F. Singer (1996). Doing Biology. New York: Harper Collins.
Jungck, J. (Ed.) (1997). The BioQUEST Library, Volume IV. New York: Academic Press. (See also http://bioquest.org)
McNeal, A. P. and C. D’Avanzo (Eds.) (1997). Student-active Science: Models of Innovation in College Science Teaching. Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing.
Montgomery, S. L. (1994). Minds for the Making: The Role of Science in American Education, 1750-1990. New York: Guilford Press.
Paul, D. (1995) Controlling human heredity, 1865 to the present. Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press.
——-(1997). “The history of newborn phenylketonuria screening in the U.S.,” Appendix 5 in N. A. Holtzman and M. S. Watson (Eds.), Promoting Safe and Effective Genetic Testing in the United States. Washington, DC: NIH-DOE Working Group on the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Human Genome Research, 137-159.