Pragmatic Science: Establishing Non-Racist, Non-Hegemonic Learning From a Deweyan And Bourdieuian Perspective

Year: 2003

Author: Hooley, Neil

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

It is inevitable that formal systems of education will promote the dominant ideology, political and economic interests and culture within which they are located. For citizens who desire a more democratic, equitable and inclusive schooling, strategies for change must be developed that will realistically combat such factors and for which, general support can be won. The curriculum of all regular schools therefore must be appropriate for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, not only in terms of cultural awareness but in the creation of new insights and understanding across knowledge that encourage children to be autonomous and independent learners. School science is a significant site of transformation in this direction because of its uncertain character, capacity for experimentation and the range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies encountered. The paper briefly outlines these issues and proposes both a curriculum and subject design based on pragmatic philosophy and cycles of reflective investigation. Within a context of Deweyan inquiry, preliminary connections are made with the ideas of Bourdieu in analysing the problem. It is proposed that a pragmatic curriculum and science to diminish the impact of racism and educational hegemony are in the interests of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children alike.