Schillo KK. Teaching animal science:education or indoctrination? . J Anim Sci.1997 Apr;75(4):950-3.

PMID: 9110206


Traditional animal science curricula ignore sociological aspects of scientific research and therefore portray scientific knowledge as value-free. This view gives rise to a teaching method that involves imparting lists of scientific facts that are to be accepted by students without critical evaluation. This amounts to little more than indoctrination and misrepresents science as a system of knowledge. An alternative approach is based on the view that science is a creative human activity that reflects the values and biases of its practitioners. The goal of this approach is to teach students to think analytically and to make independent judgments about scientific claims. This requires a scientific literacy: an understanding of principal scientific theories, the nature of scientific research, and the relationship between science and society. To achieve this goal, a teacher must become less of an authority figure, whose role is to simply pass on information, and more of a facilitator, whose role is to promote questioning, exploration, and synthesis. This requires a learning community in which students feel comfortable taking risks and develop the courage to make and defend judgments. This teaching approach enhances the intellectual and ethical development of students, allowing them to serve themselves and society in responsible ways.