Aesthetic Experience in Science Education

Learning and Meaning-Making as Situated Talk and Action

By Per-Olof Wickman

© 2006 – Routledge

186 pages

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New in Paperback: 9780415645737
pub: 2013-11-07
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About the Book

This book examines the role of aesthetic experience in learning science and in science education from the perspective of knowledge as action and language use. The theoretical underpinnings are based on the writings of John Dewey and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In their spirit aesthetics is examined as it appears in the lives of people and how it relates to the activities in which they are involved.

Centered around an empirical analysis of how students and their teachers use aesthetic language and acts during laboratory and field work, the book demonstrates that aesthetics is something that is constantly talked about in science class and that these aesthetic experiences are intimately involved in learning science. These empirical findings are related to current debates about the relation between aesthetics and science, and about motivation, participation, learning and socio-cultural issues in science education. This book features:

*an empirical demonstration of the importance and specific roles of aesthetic experiences in learning science;

*a novel contribution to the current debate on how to understand motivation, participation and learning; and

*a new methodology of studying learning in action.

Part I sketches out the theoretical concepts of Wickman's practical epistemology analysis of the fundamental role of aesthetics in science and science education. Part II develops these concepts through an analysis of the use of aesthetic judgments when students and teachers are talking in university science classes. Part III sums up the general implications of the theoretical underpinnings and empirical findings for teaching and learning science. Here Wickman expands the findings of his study beyond the university setting to K-8 school science, and explicates what it would mean to make science education more aesthetically meaningful.

Wickman's conclusions deal to a large extent with aesthetic experience as individual transformation and with people's prospects for participation in an activity such as science education. These conclusions have significance beyond science teaching and learning that should be of concern to educators generally. This book is intended for educational researchers, graduate students, and teacher educators in science education internationally, as well as those interested in aesthetics, philosophy of education, discourse analysis, socio-cultural issues, motivation, learning and meaning-making more generally.


"…Wickman has written a composition that is intriguing and stimulating….Wickman's quest to intrigue others to pursue science through aesthetics has been a successful journey. The literature presented in the text was far beyond a superficial level."


Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Beauty and the Beast. Part I: The Continuity of Experience. Distinctions and Continuity. Aesthetic Experience as Practical Epistemology. Part II: Aesthetic Experience in Science Class. Setting the Scene. Normative Continuity of Aesthetic Experience. Cognitive Continuity of Aesthetic Experience. Continuity of Aesthetic Experience. Transformation of Aesthetic Experiences. The Immediacy of Aesthetic Experiences. Part III: The Role of Aesthetic Experience in Science Education. Widening the Outlook. Educational Consequences. Coda.

About the Series

Teaching and Learning in Science Series

The Teaching and Learning in Science Series brings together theoretical and practical scholarship emanating from a wide range of research approaches and paradigms on an equally wide variety of topics.

International concerns about the quality of the teaching and learning of science continue to increase across countries, states, provinces, and local communities with each round of international assessments. During a period of expansive reform in science education, it is especially important that the most current research in areas of critical concern be synthesized for use by both practitioners and researchers.

Proposals for authored or edited books are encouraged that address research and practice in the teaching and learning of science and/or any aspects of the current reforms in science education. The primary focus is the theoretical and practical importance of the problem being investigated. Equal consideration will be given to theoretically oriented and practitioner-oriented proposals. It is hoped that this series will generate as many critical questions as answers it may provide. Themes for prospective manuscripts may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • the practicality of scientific literacy
  • science for "all" in urban and rural settings
  • scientific inquiry
  • nature of science
  • student misconceptions
  • conceptual change
  • teacher education
  • curriculum development
  • educational policy
  • high stakes testing
  • alternative teacher certification
  • apprenticeship models
  • curriculum integration
  • problem-based learning
  • special needs students and science reforms
  • teacher knowledge and beliefs
  • informal science education
  • classroom discourse
  • professional development
  • teacher/scientist collaborations
  • technology integration
  • equity and diversity within a climate of change

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Science & Technology
PHILOSOPHY / Aesthetics
SCIENCE / Study & Teaching