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A curriculum paradigm? Thinking about curriculum with Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Written by: David Preece
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11 min read
Dr David Preece, Head of Geography, Teach First, UK  On his return to blogging, Joe Kirby argued that teachers lead the ‘scientific revolution in education’, showing the stages of adoption from 1999’s ‘What Works Clearinghouse’ approach (DfE, 2010) towards the ResearchEd movement (Kirby, 2021). He cites a linear development of key articles, implicitly suggesting progression of knowledge accumulated, and points towards a range of schools and thinkers who have grown in the ‘cognitive science’ era (Boxer, 2019; Sealy, 2020; Willingham, 2009). Whether directly intended or not, Kirby’s article echoed the language of Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 philosophical and sociological work on The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and the progress of scientific language and progression thinking that have come to be applied to the cognitive science ‘paradigm’ in modern pedagogical discourse. But it is far from clear whether education and science have consistent parallels, and whether

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