Your experiences in learning/teaching the method of science
#1
I want to start a thread to discuss your experiences in learning or teaching about the method of science, particularly in the context of the Indian education system.

My experience is exemplified in my failure to answer a particular question in an interview for the KVPY scholarship that's handed out at the 10th std level in India. A particular biology educator on the panel asked me the following question:

"Suppose your grandmother tells you that marigold-flower extracts are antiseptics for wounds, how would you go around verifying her claim?"

In hindsight, from a scientific-method perspective, this is a trivially easy question to answer satisfactorily. The answer, at least to start a discussion, would be to design a clinical trial and biochemical experimentation to verify this hypothesis.

But at that time, I was clueless about how to answer such a question. The Indian education system is quite adequate in training us to be good jugglers of algebraic terms and like other education systems, also fills our heads with facts.

I have another observation, perhaps due to what some may call 'post-modernist' tendencies, Indian teachers underplay the role of Enlightenment ideas. While we are taught about the specific conceptual contributions of Newton and Galileo, we aren't told about how they influenced humanity's basic approach to discovery of knowledge. Francis Bacon and David Hume are mere names to memorize as part of 'list of philosophers'.

So, three questions to start this off:

1. What were your personal experiences in learning the scientific method, scientific temperament, rationality, and freethought?

2. What do you think can be done to improve this?

3. Is there a tendency towards postmodernism in Indian pedagogy?
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#2
(26-Aug-2013, 12:30 AM)karatalaamalaka Wrote: 1. What were your personal experiences in learning the scientific method, scientific temperament, rationality, and freethought?

Just of exhilaration! I came across it in Brief History of Time and was so overjoyed to find something so simple yet so powerful. If there is one thing that I would say propelled me in direction of freethought, it would be reading this!

(26-Aug-2013, 12:30 AM)karatalaamalaka Wrote: 2. What do you think can be done to improve this?

It should be introduced in high school before delving into nitty gritties of natural science's study. Its not just important that student gain scientific temper, but I think understanding scientific method makes Science learning fun. It basically establishes the rationale for doing whatever we do in science labs etc.

(26-Aug-2013, 12:30 AM)karatalaamalaka Wrote: 3. Is there a tendency towards postmodernism in Indian pedagogy?

I never got that feeling. Personally I found our education system treats education as a means to employment, rather than an enriching experience in itself.
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