Education – is it mature enough?

When it comes to some topics such as climate change, health and education, the layman is often left to consider if the experts agree on anything. Of course they do, but some areas of knowledge are not exact sciences, and will continue to attract controversy.

The physical sciences of physics, chemistry and engineering all are based on reproducible evidence which creates an element of trustworthiness. The evidence has to be convincing. Some evidence is so convincing science refers to the equations that represent them as laws. It is from this evidence that experts can postulate theories about what this means to help us understand the world around us. Often, these theories and ideas can be confirmed with good experimental design. These are mature disciplines.

Climate change and heath however, has less certainty, less indisputable evidence, and the experts have less ability to test and confirm their ideas. There are many things that the experts are not sure about and so this can fuel debate about theories and potential outcomes, and many of these theories can not be tested using sound experimental design. Sometimes we just have to wait and see. The world’s climate is complex. Human health is complex. While we know a lot, we don’t know everything. These will always remain controversial as experts try their best to interpret complex systems with various influences both known and unknown, and because of this complexity, even experts can disagree. These are immature disciplines.

All sciences however, whether mature or immature, have a way of thinking – a way of rewriting and adjusting knowledge as new evidence sheds light on some aspect previously not understood. This new information is presented to the community of experts and debate occurs, and if the evidence is convincing, it becomes accepted.

What then is education? Is it mature, immature and is it a science? See next blog.


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One Response to “Education – is it mature enough?”

  1. Jim Knox Says:

    Very perceptive and well written. As a teacher who was once a scientist, you have hit the nail on the head in these times of constant change in Education.
    Another question to ask is ‘Are we making change for political reasons?’
    There are certainly plenty of ‘experts’ and new ICT fads and jargon to be wary of.
    It is a shame that education is in fact an immature science…it doesn’t appear to be informed by knowledge, yet it is charged with imparting knowledge to others…

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