Philosophy for Science Education

The question that continues to remain then is whether and how can philosophy contribute to communicating science better. What might indeed be fruitful in this endeavor seems to be the study of science as a form of representation. The important point, often undermined, that emerges from many studies of students conceptions is the fact that students are context bound. The abstraction or idealization of these complex contexts, often involved in theorizing in science, is what is alien to them. Ramadas [#!jr-82!#] observed that students tend to draw realistic sketches of situations when asked to draw schematic representations. For instance, when asked to draw how the sky or a boy sitting on the bank appear to a swimmer under water in a lake, students draw the surface of water as a blur or with ripples and state that very little would be seen through it because of the ripples or because of muddiness. It is therefore, crucial to clarify this connection that links real world situations and their scientific representations. Not merely interpretation (such as that of a graph or a schematic diagram) but the process of representation (such as, steps involved in the generation of a schematic diagram from a given real-world situation) involved in science requires to be clarified. De-linking situations from their scientific representations not only makes conceptual learning difficult but also creates epistemological conflicts as to the purpose, relevance and significance of learning science. It is here that the philosophy of perception and representation might have important leads for science education.