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Decolonising the curriculum

Discussion in 'Education news' started by physicsfanboy, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    alex_teccy likes this.
  2. MsOnline

    MsOnline Occasional commenter

    Will have to agree to disagree.

    There are plenty recommended by health professionals, although not always prescribed.
    Remember guidelines are often about value for money - it doesn't mean reports don't support the theory.

    It's a mindset that pills aren't the stand-alone answer to health.

    That individuals have a responsibility for their own well-being.

    That diet, nutrition, exercise and /or supplements can be used as prevention and cure.

    Health and well-being is holistic.

    Pro action not reaction.

    Eg. you can be prescribed mindfulness and meditation or specific exercises/ gym memberships funded via the NHS.

    I feel there is a huge shift to this way of thinking and it is promoted. Companies are making billions off it, NHS can save millions.

    PSHCE & PE already incorporates this in primary, it needs to continue to secondary. Next step - why not acknowledge where some of these remedies originate from?

    Be interested to hear what Science teachers think too.
  3. costermonger

    costermonger Occasional commenter

    No one thinks 'pills' are THE answer. There are many possible treatments, depending on the ailment. Diet and exercise are indeed very good for things like obesity, depression and as a prophylactic against various cancers. None of that is contentious. However, the snake oil salesmen endlessly look for new rubbish to peddle to people who should know better. Reflexology, chiropracty, homeopathy, lots of other 'ologies' and 'paths'. It's in the same bin as tarot and astrology. It's irrelevant where it's from, because it's drivel.

    By the same token, it's irrelevant where scientific ideas originate. That many originated in western Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries is a function of wealth rather than any superiority.

    There may well be a shift to this kind of woolly, feelgood thinking. It's not a good thing for anyone who cares about living in the real world.
    ACOYEAR8 likes this.
  4. MsOnline

    MsOnline Occasional commenter

    Snake oil

    Often used to describe treatments and preventions from non-Western lands.

    If you were from theses lands, where civilisations have used such 'medicines' and treatments successfully for centuries before 'visitors' arrived...

    ... Well you might just feel offended by the aforementioned adjectives to describe what is part of your culture.

    But yet is only acceptable and accepted once okayed by scientists in the west.

    Just a different perspective really.

    A few years ago CBT would have been seen as rubbish by many more than do today. A few decades ago most certainly, with ( literally) shocking treatments for mental health conditions.

    This is just one example and things have moved on and will continue to do so.

    Finally, the real world of the NHS already funds many of these alternatives.
  5. costermonger

    costermonger Occasional commenter

    No, it only becomes medicine when scientists (of any ethnic background, sexuality, gender or preferred ice cream flavour) find statistically significant data and publish it for peer review, and their results are replicated by other scientists (of any ethnic background, sexuality, gender or preferred ice cream flavour) leading to broad scientific agreement that there is an effect.
    alex_teccy likes this.
  6. MsOnline

    MsOnline Occasional commenter

    All according your view, which might rely on and only respect pill-popping, Western lab views. Things have changed.

    Pupils and teachers come to the class and experience the curriculum from their unique background- this includes culture of all types. Eg if pupils want to discuss experiences of non-Western science views? Would you just dismiss them?

    Gcse content:
    'Lifestyle and health
    Health is the state of physical, mental and social well-being. It is not just being free from disease.'

    'The voyages of discovery saw new medicinal plants introduced into Europe.'

    'Certain drugs can be extracted from natural sources, and have been known about for a long time.'

    So the curriculum already hints as health as being holistic and that non-Westerners have 'contributed' - next step acknowledge where these ideas originate from.

    This -
    'Diversifying the perspectives taught, to acknowledge the value that minority and non-Western perspectives bring to science.'

    By the way, you seem to only address bits of my posts and ignore the parts, which... Anyway don't think we'll agree.
  7. costermonger

    costermonger Occasional commenter

    There are no 'perspectives' in science the way that there are in, say, literature. Cultural views are irrelevant, because the universe doesn't care. The strength of gravity is not a product of empire. The behaviour of photons does not depend on skin colour. Atoms have the same structure whether one is male, female or other.
    The whole point of science is to try to discern what is actually really true. Not what we want, think , expect or wish to be true. Reality doesn't care what you think or feel about it.
    Why are you finding this so hard to grasp?
    alex_teccy likes this.
  8. Romoletto

    Romoletto Occasional commenter

    Whilst your idealised narrative may have some truth, and the universe may indeed not “care”, us as agents and perceivers of that universe are constantly interpreting it and it is in that interpreting that what you dismiss actually has some real bearing. Our axioms, research questions, working assumptions and a myriad of other features of the practical act of doing science are coloured by the scientist or researcher’s background. This has had real life consequences in the history of science and is something that would be beneficial to have acknowledged in the education of future scientists.
  9. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    And so what?
    The point about “de-colonising the curriculum” is to make judgements about an individual and their work based on the
    group values that they have been assigned.

    In this asinine paradigm the fact that Newton’s Laws are mathematically quantifiable and repeatable becomes secondary to their role as a part of Western science which is characterised entirely negatively.

    It’s an extension of identity politics, which is predicated on deconstruction, and conflict between groups.
  10. Romoletto

    Romoletto Occasional commenter

    The “so what” is included in what I said.There have been real life negative consequences to the reality that the background and biases of the one doing the science affects the science and therefore to limit future negative affects of this reality it would be useful to highlight these elements of science rather than content ourselves with perpetuating the deified and mythical view that science is entirely objective, disconnected from any form of subjectivity or human element.

    This is your view and I am sure there might be some who as you say are pushing this view in the exactly the manner you take issue with.

    However, as I believe I have done on more than one occasion during our interactions, that is not my own view of things and I would also add that it is not the only paradigm within which “decolonisation” of some kind or other is advocated, so I think you really ought to move away from trying to make the issues necessarily tied to each other, as that is just not the case.
  11. costermonger

    costermonger Occasional commenter

    I respectfully disagree.
    The axioms, which questions we ask, assumptions etc are indeed affected by culture. All that does is changes which bits of the universe we successfully describe when. It does affect how science unfolds, but not what science discovers.
    alex_teccy likes this.
  12. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    I’m not pushing anything and why exactly are you expecting posters on an Internet forum to align with your opinions.

    I’ve stated my opinion and backed it up with quotes from the PowerPoint you posted, plus a couple of other sources. If you don’t like what I’m saying, that’s on you, just do us all a favour and stop throwing your toys out of the pram.

    “Real life negative consequences”?

    Give one example.

    It is the case. That’s why I listed all of the quotes the demonstrate it to be so,from the powerpoint that you posted and you ignored.

    The clue is in the word- De-colonisation. It’s not about adding it’s about taking away, not adding context and condemning alternative views using weasel-words line “bias”

    That means using authority to remove anything from the curriculum that is related to the colonial period, which effectively includes everything and means stripping our history away.

    Hence “Rhodes must fall” not “Rhodes must be evaluated”

    Hence Churchill is a genocidal racist murderer, not a wartime leader dealing with life and death strategic decisions with limited resources.

    Hence Rudyard Kipling must be expunged.

    Where it can’t be removed the content be referenced as part of a repressive power structure and nothing else.

    It’s about control, that’s it.
  13. Romoletto

    Romoletto Occasional commenter

    The way I view it, paradigm shifts happen in science, in part due to shifts in perspective, and that naturally leads to changes in “what science discovers”, since the theories and hypothesis to used to describe what has been observed have changed and are always liable to change with further evidence. We do not have access to a view from nowhere and so we are forever interpreting whatever data we gain and interpretations can and have changed. I therefore don’t see what you mean by what science discovers not changing, unless you mean the raw data or observations don’t change.

    Anyway, if you agree on the fact that what I brought does affect how science unfolds then doesn’t that still warrant what I said about highlighting those aspects in science teaching?
    MsOnline likes this.
  14. Romoletto

    Romoletto Occasional commenter

    Erm.. to what are you responding to?

    You’ve presented your views and I mine, this post overly sensitive on your part.

    Relax, to clarify my position: you’re entitled to your views, I am entitled to my views, we are entitled to our own views on eachother’s views, we have engaged and expressed those views but I at no point did I “expect” you to align with my opinion.

    and where exactly in my last post did I say you were “pushing” anything?

    Yes and I’ve engaged with whatever you have put forward in good faith and even watched several videos of that fella you put forward as one of those “other sources” and then told you I agreed with aspects of what he said but still disagreed with other aspects. I don’t really see a problem here.

    erm....can you evidence this ? I would really be interested to know how and where I “threw my toys of the pram”


    Or some of the stuff in this video?

    In the interest of not incurring further accusations I am going to politely and respectfully decline to engage with this and just agree to disagree
  15. George_Randle

    George_Randle Established commenter

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings won't be:

    alex_teccy likes this.
  16. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    Disagree on what? What do you disagree on?

    Eugenics was once considered “science” as was phrenology, treppaning and more recently lobotomies.
    The last psychological problem we insist that can be cured with surgery is transgenderism.
    De-colonising is a “cure” for a manufactured cultural issue.

    As you can see, science is being subverted by politics again. Stand up for science.
    George_Randle likes this.
  17. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    I I had to look up copybook headings!
  18. MsOnline

    MsOnline Occasional commenter

    To be clear I 'grasp' what you've written but I disagree with it - part of healthy debate. Meanwhile you continue to ignore evidence in my posts that don't align with your view. It's clear we have a different mindset and that's fine.

    The Science curriculum is not just about atoms - wouldn't you agree? Eg it's also about people, diverse people. I'm not sure what role you play in education but presenting curriculum as if subjects are untouched by context seems old-fashioned. I prefer lessons where pupils feel encouraged to think critically and bring their own experiences to the class knowing they will be respected. We need to engage pupils otherwise how boring!

    What if a pupil contributed their experience or perspective of health and well-being during a discussion based on their culture - would you dismiss it?

    These shifts have happened and there's nothing you can do about it. No subject was developed within a vacuum untouched by context. Classrooms are also influenced by context as teachers and pupils bring their own unique experiences, culture and background - this is positive.

    I can assure that (and I'm sure you'd agree) someone with my mindset would not teach the same way as someone with yours.

    By the way mindfulness aspects are already being taught in reception. A next step is acknowledge where these non-Western ideas come from. The shifts which have crept in need to be properly recognised. Science is not neutral.

    By the way do feel the same way about all subjects or just Science?

    Good day.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  19. George_Randle

    George_Randle Established commenter

    They'll be looking us up. :rolleyes:
    alex_teccy likes this.
  20. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    I don't think there were any people on the curriculum when I did Science, it was all Chemistry/Biology/Physics questions. Why should there be?

    I make an effort in Maths lessons to present diverse cultural viewpoints when possible but it's mostly limited to two areas:
    1) What we call "Pythagoras' Theorem". He was just the first person to write it down and have the writings survive in Europe, there are earlier examples in China and Iraq amongst others. This discussion doesn't change what the Mathematics is and the history of it isn't on the exam or really even part of the subject.
    2) The purpose of Constructions. Mosque decoration is a really good thing to have students make in that topic, you can do Cathedral stained glass windows/architecture too and there's also some Indian construction methods. Again not of that is on the exams other than the most basic cutting lines and angles in half, so unfortunately we don't have time to go into depth although I think we should.

    I imagine there's similar in Science with the names of theories and their inventors, but it's a really minor aspect of the subject and the scope of decolonisation seems to go further than just the history of the subject.
    alex_teccy likes this.

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