This inaugural handbook documents the distinctive research field that utilizes history and philosophy in investigation of theoretical, curricular and pedagogical issues in the teaching of science and mathematics. It is contributed to by 130 researchers from 30 countries; it provides a logically structured, fully referenced guide to the ways in which science and mathematics education is, informed by the history and philosophy of these disciplines, as well as by the philosophy of education more generally. The first handbook to cover the field, it lays down a much-needed marker of progress to date and provides a platform for informed and coherent future analysis and research of the subject.
The publication comes at a time of heightened worldwide concern over the standard of science and mathematics education, attended by fierce debate over how best to reform curricula and enliven student engagement in the subjects There is a growing recognition among educators and policy makers that the learning of science must dovetail with learning about science; this handbook is uniquely positioned as a locus for the discussion.
The handbook features sections on pedagogical, theoretical, national, and biographical research, setting the literature of each tradition in its historical context. Each chapter engages in an assessment of the strengths and weakness of the research addressed, and suggests potentially fruitful avenues of future research. A key element of the handbook’s broader analytical framework is its identification and examination of unnoticed philosophical assumptions in science and mathematics research. It reminds readers at a crucial juncture that there has been a long and rich tradition of historical and philosophical engagements with science and mathematics teaching, and that lessons can be learnt from these engagements for the resolution of current theoretical, curricular and pedagogical questions that face teachers and administrators.