Joseph J. Schwab Essay

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Joseph J. Schwab developed the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, which proposed changes to the way biology was taught at most high schools by centering the curriculum on key biological concepts.

Schwab was born in Columbus, Mississipi; studied at the University of Chicago as an undergraduate; and went on to earn his Ph.D. in biology there in 1938. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1938–1974, where he was professor of both biology and education. His articles on the philosophy and teaching of science appeared in the 1962 book The Teaching of Science. His primary work on educational theory appeared in Science, Curriculum, and Liberal Education, which was published in 1978. He is also noted for his 1969 book College Curriculum and Student Protest, his analysis of the campus protests of the 1960s. During his long retirement, he held fellowships at Harvard University and the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.


  1. Schwab, J. J. (1962). The teaching of science: The teaching of science as enquiry. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  2. Schwab, J. J. (1969). College curriculum and student protest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  3. Schwab, J. J. (1978). Science, curriculum, and liberal education: Selected essays. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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