By H. P. RAMAGE Trustee, The Science Masters' Association.
It seems necessary to say at the outset that, although it may be administratively convenient to divide the school curriculum into the compartments called subjects, these cannot properly be considered in isolation from one another, nor, indeed, from the whole educational process in so far as it concerns schools. In that stage of education we should be concerned with using the subjects of the curriculum as means to the general educational end, that is with educating through the subjects not with teaching the subjects as such. Taking biology as the subject relevant to our present discussion, there are two main ways in which its inclusion in a school course may be helpful. It may be treated, first, as a vocational subject useful for the preliminary training of doctors, farmers, foresters and workers in other fields where biological science provides a necessary basis. Secondly, biology can play a valuable part in the more comprehensive, more fully personal general education which it is the primary duty of schools to provide, vocational training only being a secondary duty. It is this more comprehensive duty which I primarily have in mind as I consider school biology as an educational model, for that is how I feel I can best try to make a contribution to this Symposium. I think it is much more important to philosophize about such general matters and to try to get our general principles right rather than merely to go through a list of detailed models and analogues useful in day-to-day biology teaching in schools.
By a set of curious chances a most unfortunate idea has arisen, at least in Britain, that proper science--model science as I might call it here--means only the physical sciences. Worse still, for many people science is a mysterious power whose function is to provide the host of gadgets with which modern 'civilized' life is enriched--or in some cases plagued. It is true that modern life is materially based on modern technology, which, in turn, is based on applied science, but technology should not therefore be regarded as identical with science. Technology of an unscientific, trial-and-error kind existed long before modern times; indeed, its beginnings lie far back in prehistoric times when the first artefacts were shaped. Even the wheel is a prehistoric technological invention. Probably some people thought of the notorious East