chapter  15
Redefining and reorienting practical work in school science
ByDerek Hodson
Pages 6

It is generally agreed that one of the major goals of science education is to bring about an understanding of the processes of science. In this context, ‘processes of science’ does not mean the skills of carrying out particular laboratory operations (such as using a burette, microscope or potentiometer), but the skills of carrying out the ‘strategic’ processes of science (such as hypothesising, inferring, designing experiments, interpreting data). In recent years there has been a tendency, in some quarters, to give such priority to the processes of science that content has come to be regarded as relatively unimportant. Underpinning such an approach to the teaching of science are a number of assumptions:

1 Scientific processes are clearly definable and discrete. They can be used independently of each other.