Title: That’s Beautiful! Aesthetics and Science Education
Abstract: One of the central roles of science education is to cause students to fall in love, and therefore become interested and engaged in science. Gallagher (1997) wrote “We become what we love. Our destiny is in our desires, yet what we seek to possess soon comes to possess us in thought, feeling, and action. That is why the ancient Greeks made the education of erōs, or passionate desire, the supreme aim of education. They thought it necessary to educate erōs to desire the good” (p xiii). How do we bring students to love science? Teachers and other science educators can learn from aesthetics how to create meaningful experiences.
In this presentation I will discuss the philosophical approaches to aesthetics, hermeneutics and education by John Dewey (1934, 1938), and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1986), emphasizing the aesthetic experience. We will define this kind of experience, its structure, and its potential role in the educational process. To clarify these approaches, I will bring examples from my research on musicians’ education, and from my experiences teaching Hebrew and inquiry-based courses abroad. To conclude, we will discuss the possibilities to realize these ideas in science education, how significant they may be, and the need to create more meaningful experiences in the sciences. We will also ask how teachers can be taught and encouraged to create these experiences for their students, and aspire to have more participants in the science education process fall in love with science.
Bio: Yore Kedem is an Assistant Professor of Hebrew in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages. His primary research interests are experiential and aesthetic education, with emphasis on application in music, language, and study abroad. At MSU, Dr. Kedem teaches Hebrew at all levels, emphasizing practical and applicable learning. He also offers an inquiry-based course on immigration as a global issue from local perspectives for the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities, and leads a Study Abroad Program on Cultural Diversity and Immigration in Israel. Dr. Kedem received his Ph.D. in Secondary and Continuing Education at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.