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Improving Quality of Science Teacher Training in European Cooperation

  Assessing Science for Understanding (CZ) Training Module Based on Socio-cognitive Constructivism (CY) European Dimension in Integrated Science Education (LT) Development Procedural Skills in Science Education (BG) Using Laboratory to Enhance Student Learning and Scientific Inquiry (TR)  
Unit 1 - A Conception of Integrated Science Education Unit 2 - Some Philosophic, Didactic and Social Aspects of Integrated Science Education Unit 3 - The Main Tendencies of Integrated Science Education Development Unit 4 & Unit 5 - Integrated Science Education in the Context of the Constructivism Theory
Unit 6 - The Models of Integrated Science Education Unit 7 - The Integrated Science Education Curricula and its Designing Principles in Comprehensive School Unit 8 - The Science Education Tools and Ways of Producing them in the Collaboration Process Unit 9 & Unit 10 - A Constructivist Approach to Integrated Science Education: Teaching Would-be Teachers to do Science
Unit 11 & Unit 12 - Contextual Teaching and Learning of Integrated Science in Lower and Upper Secondary Schools Unit 13 - The Evaluation Strategies of Integrated Science Teaching / Learning Unit 14 - The Collaboration Peculiarities of Science Teachers  

Unit 3
The Main Tendencies of Integrated Science Education Development

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The Main Tendencies of Integrated Science Education Development


Complex knowledge, its application for a certain activity becomes a crucially important object for the various fields of the man’s life. Integrated education should decrease the objections between the knowledge gained from the teaching subjects and the necessity and inevitability of their synthesis. The presentation of content only (knowledge, information, etc.) is not a core of teaching.

What are the main reasons that determine the need of teaching integration? They are diversely described by pedagogy literature. J.Rimkutė and E.Motiejūnienė (1993) point out the following arguments:
Raja Roy Singh (1993) has examined the education issues under the circumstances of the rapidly rotational world and distinguished the succeeding reasons:
I.Suravegina and R.Ivanova (1990) indicate the ensuing reasons of integration: 1) the necessity to concentrate attention in order to know the wholeness; 2) the opportunity for pupils to choose the subjects considering their interests; 3) a need to decrease the number of individual educational subjects at every stage of teaching. On the basis of the papers of other researchers, A.Blum (1994) identifies the following main reasons: 1) the boundaries of different subjects constantly change, and therefore new subjects appear (for example, biochemistry, bioengineering, etc.); 2) integrated natural sciences teaching increases the transformation of teaching, i.e. the learners easier notice an intrinsic correlation among notions, principles, concepts; 3) children cannot logically study the same subject that is scientifically framed. The structures of knowledge acquisition and spread are similar to those of physics and biology; 4) the integrated course of natural sciences affords an opportunity for the teachers of different subjects to plan and teach together as then they can feel more relaxed and less tired, their cooperation rises up. Some educologists of the USA notice (Collins, 1994; Frederiksen, 1994; Stodolsky, 1988) that:

Scientific literature suggests such concepts as integration variants (Paulauskaitė, 1994), integration types (Case, 1991), integration forms (Beitas, 1995), integration varieties (Bagdonas, 1994; Pečiuliauskienė, 1992), integration method (Salite, 2000); integration approach (Chepelev, 2003). The above information confirms that we use different concepts in the discussions on the same subjects, and therefore there is plenty of confusion and lack of a uniform concept. Finally, a thick accent should be put on the efficiency of integrated teaching. If it is not effective under specific circumstances or do not correspond to the requirements of training, the approaches to natural sciences teaching can be definitely diverse.


All over the world, educators and scientists have joined forces to produce different integrated programs such as the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), the Chemical Bond Approach (CBA) and CHEM Study program in chemistry, Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) and Harvard Project Physics (HPP) and the Earth Science Curriculum Project (ESCP) etc. It is clear that not all these programs made identical success. Despite of this realization in a school practice of the different integrated programs there was a bright promotion in didactics of science teaching.

It is clear that the most important and relevant goal of science education is to prepare young people for a full and satisfying life. According to A.Toldsepp (2003) we need to implement future oriented paradigm of science education (figure 1).

Goal of science education
Formation of scientific and technological literacy

Realized according to

Balanced curricula and syllabi

Achieved by means of

Higher order cognitive skills (HOCS)
  • Generating ideas
  • Solving problems
  • Making decisions
  • Etc.

Formed on the strength of

Science-technology-environment-society interface context (STES)

Figure 1. Future oriented paradigm of science education (Toldsepp, 2003).

There were three main waves of science education reforms (De Jong, 2007).

Table 2. Science education reform and influential psychological theories
Wave of reform Influential theory that shapes curricula and courses Issue of growing interest
1960s Descriptive behaviourism
Stages of cognitive development
Programmed instruction
Sequence of science topics
1980s Guided discovery learning
Information-processing perspectives
Lab work for school students
Learning cycle
2000s Social constructivism
Socio-cultural perspectives
Students’ ways of reasoning
Role of context and language

After 1990 special interest to integration of science subjects has arisen in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It has been closely connected with the begun reforms of education systems. It is obvious that science education is currently going through a process of change worldwide.

Tasks (assignments)

  1. Use the presented material to identify separate areas under the indicated topics grouping the reasons determining the necessity of integrated science education:

    Reasons determined by changes in teaching content Reasons determined by the process of teaching / learning Social / socio-cultural reasons

  2. Use the offered literature to define the following terms:

    Term Definition
    Integration types  
    Integration forms  
    Integration method  
    Integration approach  

  3. Try to express a personal opinion to define the core of integrated science education, for instance, Why is it required? What are the ways of implementation? etc.
  4. Briefly discuss the development of integrated science teaching in Europe from the 1990 until now.
Case study

Every part has unique experience in this field: an intended different level of integration at different education stages, varying intensity of educational content, different forms and methods of integration etc. However, some common points exist. Recently, ecological education is frequently integrated in different subjects, for example, the above mentioned integration of content. Use the documents regulating the content of education in comprehensive schools (curricula, education standards etc.) as well as other major tools for science education (course books, work books etc.) to analyze the situation of integrating the content of ecological education into general education in your country.

Questions to Case Study


Natural sciences closely correlate; their content reflects a united reality. These points cannot be isolated from one another in the educational process. On the contrary, their interaction should be encouraged and only then the efficiency of the educational process will equally increase. Physics and chemistry as well as biology research describe the phenomena taking place in nature. From this viewpoint, their interpretation is supposed to be similar in order pupils should get a solid concept of natural phenomena.

Along with the integration of teaching content, the conveyance of the holistic view of the world, the application of training aids and methods to the level of pupils’ development (without respect of age), teaching pupils to systematize and implement interdisciplinary relations, etc. are very important to education. Different patterns of integrated teaching/learning exist. A promising method (particularly in primary school) is when the content of natural science education is integrated into each educational subject in all forms. At last, the life of an exact school community may have a natural science context (various projects, community environment protection education, practic environment protection work, etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is important from the historical point of view?

From the viewpoint of history it is obvious that science education should combine natural history achievements and prognostic future victories. Children need conditions to be imposed and possibilities to be perceived how the ideas of natural sciences have been changing throughout the time, how they have been realized and used and what their social, inward, cultural context has remained.

Next Reading

Behrendt, H. Dahncke, H. Duit R. et al. (eds). Research in Science Education – Past, Present, and Future. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Chambers D.W., Turnbull D. (1989). Science Worlds: An Integrated Approach to Social Studies of Science Teaching. Social Studies of Science, Vol. 19, No. 1, p. 155-179.

Keith M. Lewin (1992). Science education in developing countries: issues and perspectives for planners. Paris, UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning.

Lamanauskas V. (2003). Natural Science Education in Comprehensive School. Siauliai: Siauliai University Press, p. 514.

Lamanauskas V., Gedrovics J. (2005). Modern natural science education development tendencies in Lithuania and Latvia. Gamtamokslinis ugdymas/Natural Science Education, Nr. 2(13), p. 20-26.


Bagdonas A. (1994). Visada problemiškas švietimas. Mokykla, Nr.1, P. 1-3.

Beitas K. (1995). Apie biologijos integruotą mokymą. Kn.: Švietimo reforma ir mokytojų rengimas: Konferencijos tezės. Vilnius, T.2, P. 118-119.

Blum A. (1994). Integrated and General Science. In.: T.Husen, T.N.Postlethwaite (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Education, Vol.5, P. 2897-2903.

Case R. (1991). The anatomy of curricular integration (Forum on Curriculum Integration: Tri University Integration Project, Occasional Paper, 2). Burnaby, BC.

Chepelev N.G. (2003). Authorized course of natural sciences for humanitarian classes of lyceum. In.: Importance of Science Education in the Light of Social and Economic Changes in the Central and East European Countries (The materials of the IV IOSTE symposium for Central and East European Countries). Kursk, p.82-86.

De Jong O. (2007). Trends in Western science curricula and science education research: a bird`s eye view. Journal of Baltic Science Education, Vol. 6, No. 1, p. 15-22.

Frederiksen, N. (1994). The Integration of Testing with Teaching: Applications of Cognitive Psychology in Instruction. American Journal of Education, Vol.102, p. 527-537.

Lamanauskas V. (2003). Natural science education in Lithuanian secondary school: some relevant issues. Journal of Baltic Science Education, No.1, p. 44-55.

Pak M.S., Solomin V.P., Zelezinsky A.L. (2003). Professional competence of a chemistry teacher in a context of social changes. In.: Importance of Science Education in the Light of Social and Economic Changes in the Central and East European Countries (The materials of the IV IOSTE symposium for Central and East European Countries). Kursk, p. 137-139.

Pečiuliauskienė P. (1999). Integruotų ir neintegruotų fizikos vadovėlių užduočių turinio abstraktumas bei realumas. Pedagogika, 39, p.45-54.

Rimkutė J., Motiejūnienė E. (1993). Gamtamokslinių dalykų integracija. Kn.: Lietuvos švietimo reformos gairės. Vilnius: Valstybinis leidybos centras, P.230-238.

Salite I. (2000). Integrated teaching in ecosystem and spiritual context. In.: A.Salitis et al. (eds.) Natural Sciences and Teacher Training (Collected articles of the international conference, Part 2). Daugavpils, p.82-90.

Stodolsky S. (1988). The Subject Matters: Classroom Activity in Math and Social Studies. chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Tobin K., Roth W.M., Zimmermann A. (2001). Learning to teach science in urban schools. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 38, Issue 8, p.941-964.

Toldsepp A. (2003). Research and Development Work from the Perspective of Compiling Balanced Curricula for Science Education. Journal of Baltic Science Education, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 5-11.

Раджа Рой Сингх. (1993). Образование в условиях меняющегося мира. Перспективы: вопросы образования, №1(81), С. 7-21.

Суравегина И.Т., Иванова Р.Г. (1990). Идеи и структура интегрированного курса „Естествознание”(V-VII классы). Химия в школе, №6, С. 42-46.