Science Teaching: The Contribution of History and Philosophy of Science, 20th Anniversary Revised and Expanded Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Science Teaching

The Contribution of History and Philosophy of Science, 20th Anniversary Revised and Expanded Edition, 2nd Edition

By Michael R. Matthews


454 pages

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Science Teaching explains how history and philosophy of science contributes to the resolution of persistent theoretical, curricular, and pedagogical issues in science education. It shows why it is essential for science teachers to know and appreciate the history and philosophy of the subject they teach and how this knowledge can enrich science instruction and enthuse students in the subject. Through its historical perspective, the book reveals to students, teachers, and researchers the foundations of scientific knowledge and its connection to philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, and broader social influences including the European Enlightenment, and develops detailed arguments about constructivism, worldviews and science, multicultural science education, inquiry teaching, values, and teacher education. Fully updated and expanded, the 20th Anniversary Edition of this classic text, featuring four new chapters—The Enlightenment Tradition; Joseph Priestley and Photosynthesis; Science, Worldviews and Education; and Nature of Science Research—and 1,300 references, provides a solid foundation for teaching and learning in the field.


"Matthews (Univ. of New South Wales, Australia) states that research in the history and philosophy of science and science teaching contributes to the resolution of theoretical questions science teachers face on the nature of science, science curricula, and pedagogy…Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." - D. L. Stoloff, Eastern Connecticut State University, in CHOICE, April 2015

"This is a transformative book. It provides an enlightening cartography of the uses of history and philosophy in the science classroom. No one interested in science teaching or science culture should be without a copy of this updated classic."Alberto Cordero, Philosophy Program, The CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College CUNY, USA

"This book's importance transcends science education. Its coverage of topics such as the impact of constructivism on education provides the book with a universal importance. I strongly recommend it to everyone interested in teaching and learning."John Sweller, School of Education, University of New South Wales, Australia

"The Pendulum chapter is a masterpiece! It should be considered obligatory reading for everyone who aims at becoming a science (especially physics) teacher." —Ricardo Karam, Physikdidaktik, Universität Hamburg, Germany

"Science Education is a rigorous and necessary resource for science education researchers, policy makers and practitioners."Sibel Erduran, School of Education, University of Limerick, Ireland

"The new edition of the book by Matthews is a rich source of historical, epistemological and philosophical ideas that can be of immense help to the graduate students, teachers and researchers." Educacion Quimica

"Readers would be delighted to know that a second edition of this wonderful book has just been published by Routledge as the 20th Anniversary Revised and Expanded edition and that it is even better. I strongly recommend it to any one interested in science education even if they own a copy of the first edition. … Science Teaching is a book that is rich, sophisticated and comprehensive, covering all the major topics and issues in science education. It is indispensable reading not only for scholars of science education, science teachers and students, but also for science curriculum designers and policy makers. It puts the philosophy of liberal education back on the table with passion and rigor. After 20 years of hype about fashionable -isms, it was much needed."Science & Education

Table of Contents


Preface (2014)

Preface (1994)

Acknowledgments and Sources (2014)

Acknowledgments (1994)

Chapter One: The Rapprochement between History, Philosophy, and Science Education

Chapter Two: The Enlightenment Tradition in Science Education

Chapter Three: Historical and Current Developments in Science Curricula

Chapter Four: History of Science in the Curriculum and in Classrooms

Chapter Five: Philosophy in Science and in Science Classrooms

Chapter Six: History and Philosophy in the Classroom: Pendulum Motion

Chapter Seven: History and Philosophy in the Classroom: Joseph Priestley and the Discovery of Photosynthesis

Chapter Eight: Constructivism and Science Education

Chapter Nine: A Central Issue in Philosophy of Science and Science Education: Realism and Anti-Realism

Chapter Ten: Science, Worldviews and Education

Chapter Eleven: The Nature of Science and Science Teaching

Chapter Twelve: Philosophy and Teacher Education

Name Index

Subject Index

About the Author

Michael R. Matthews is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is Founding Editor of the international journal Science & Education; Founding President of the International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group; and President of the Inter-Divisional Teaching Commission of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science. He has trained, taught and published in science education and in history and philosophy of science.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Science & Technology
SCIENCE / Study & Teaching