Looking into a long tunnel

2nd March 2001 at 00:00
Young people may be alienated from science simply because it is hard, Professor Geoffrey Boulton, vice-principal of Edinburgh University, told the conference. The bad press science and technology receives through issues like global warming and genetically modified foods added to the negativity.

Professor Boulton, whose discipline is geology, said: "Science is difficult, it is hard and there is a transition from nature study, about things you can touch, feel and see, to science which is an abstract term.

"In physics, for example, you begin to think bout molecules which you cannot see and touch. There is a long dark tunnel of abstraction before you begin to see how these abstract concepts can help you to understand the world. You emerge from that eventually and because you are so familiar with the abstract tools of science, you can deploy them and relate them to real phenomena."

Schools had to maintain the excitement at a time when children were being asked to persevere in coming to terms with abstraction. "I think it's rather rare children who do take a delight in mathematics," he said.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now