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Title: Teaching and learning science in Palestine : dealing with the new Palestinian science curriculum
Authors: Wahbeh, Nader Atallah
Keywords: Education -- Mediterranean Region
Science -- Study and teaching -- Palestine -- Evaluation
Science teachers
Science -- Study and teaching -- Curricula -- Palestine
Education and state -- Palestine
Teachers -- In-service training -- Palestine
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: University of Malta. Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research
Citation: Wahbeh, N.A. (2003). Teaching and learning science in Palestine : dealing with the new Palestinian science curriculum. Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies, 8(1), 135-159
Abstract: Since the establishment of the Palestinian Curriculum Development Centre in 1995 and the development of the First Palestinian Curriculum Plan in 1996, the Ministry of Education has introduced, for the first time in Palestinian history, textbooks for grades one, two, six, and seven. The need for a comprehensive evaluation process for these new curricula has been highlighted by many Palestinian intellectuals, thus questioning the efficacy of the technical approach followed by the Ministry of Education. In the first section, the paper briefly outlines, the specific challenges and tensions in teaching and learning science in the new Palestinian curriculum. I examine the complex history of science education in Palestine during the Israeli occupation and illustrate how the occupation has contributed to the above challenges and tensions. In the second section, the paper discusses the vision adopted by the Al-Qattan Centre for Educational Research and Development (QCERD) which takes an approach to curriculum evaluation and research from socio-cultural perspectives. This vision views the science curriculum as process and praxis, and focuses on what occurs in Palestinian science classrooms. It involves working directly with science teachers at the preservice and in-service levels, in order to encourage reflection, dialogue and critical inquiry. In the third section, the paper presents the results of ongoing research projects carried out by QCERD concerning curriculum evaluation. Taking the Palestinian school as a unit of analysis, and the science classroom as a laboratory in which each teacher is a researcher, educational theories are translated into a hypothesis that is testable in practice, and the science curriculum is developed and evaluated through a dynamic interaction of action and reflection. Additionally, the paper focuses on how science teachers mediate the overt science curriculum as well as the hidden curriculum, which is embedded in the daily interactions and regulations of school life. I argue that the science curriculum transmits authoritarian knowledge and values by placing the teacher at the center of the educational process, and by neglecting competencies that are necessary for democratic practices in the classroom. The paper concludes by offering a set of concrete policy recommendations about the importance of involving teachers in the process of curriculum evaluation in a way which empowers them as practitioners to reflect on the norms and values that are being presented in the science curriculum and the Palestinian curriculum as a whole.
ISSN: 1024-5375
Appears in Collections:MJES, Volume 8, No. 1 (2003)
MJES, Volume 8, No. 1 (2003)

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