Beliefs about the nature of science and the enacted science curriculum


Beliefs about the nature of science and the enacted science curriculum


Kenneth Tobin & Campbell J. McRobbie



Science & Education volume 6, pages 355–371 (1997)




This interpretive study of the teaching and learning of chemistry in an Australian high school examines the beliefs about the nature of science of a teacher and his class in relation to the enacted curriculum. Although the teacher and students tended to see science as an evolving discipline that was uncertain and changed over time, the manner in which the curriculum was implemented was a direct contrast. In the enacted curriculum science was represented as a catalogue of facts to be memorised and as algorithmic solutions to problems. The beliefs that had greatest impact on shaping the curriculum were the teacher‘s beliefs about the nature of student learning, his beliefs about the distribution of power between himself and the students, and the extent to which restraints were accepted by the teacher as reasons for maintaining a traditional approach to teaching and learning chemistry.

More than 100 leading scholars from the global science education community contributed 96 chapters in 11 sections of the Second International Handbook of Science Education, which contains a synthesis of cutting edge research that picks up from where the inaugural Handbook left off. Some sections build from the first Handbook, whereas others address issues that have arisen in the new millennium. Innovative theoretical frameworks, research methods, and research foci are addressed along with new approaches to persistent problems. The sections that comprise the Second International Handbook of Science Education are: sociocultural perspectives and urban education; learning and conceptual change; teacher education and professional development; equity and social justice; assessment and evaluation; curriculum and reform; argumentation and nature of science; out-of-school learning; learning environments; literacy and language; and research methods. Leading scholars in science education present diverse perspectives and robust methods that highlight what we know in a given area, what needs to be done next, and implications for policy and practice. The way in which the Handbook features difference reflects an editorial standpoint that differences are resources for positively transforming science education while at the same time accurately reflecting the potential of science education at the present time.



Kenneth Tobin & Campbell J. McRobbie , “Beliefs about the nature of science and the enacted science curriculum,” Biblioteca de la Ciencia Hispánica en Estados Pequeños, accessed October 6, 2022,

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