Transforming science education for the Anthropocene-is it possible?
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Since its inception, science education has been the focus of a great many reform attempts. In general, the aim has been to improve science understanding and/or make science study more interesting and/or relevant to a wider range of students. However, these reform attempts have had limited success. This paper argues that this is in part because science education as a discipline has some “blind spots”, some unacknowledged assumptions that obstruct its development and make it immune to change. While this has long been a problem, the paper argues that, in the new, “postnormal” conditions of the twenty-first century, it is now imperative that we see these blind spots and think differently about what science education is for. School science as we now know it (along with the other school subjects) developed as part of, and in parallel with, modern economies/societies, which in turn depended on the burning of fossil fuels. However, because this period of “carbonised modernity” is now coming to an end, many of the assumptions it was built on must be re-examined. This has (or should have) major implications for science education. Via an exploration of three very different “orientations to the future”, the paper aims to provoke discussion of how science education could be reconceptualised to support our transition into the post-carbon, Anthropocene era.