I have really enjoyed corresponding with Mike Wride these last few months while he has been sharing and writing his extremely interesting dissertation ‘Re-Creating’ Science in Higher Education: Exploring a Creativity Philosophy.
The key point of exploration – creativity in the scientific process – is introduced by Mike as follows:
There is a perception by the general public and students, as well as some scientists, that science is not creative. Views of the ‘official’ scientific method as ‘linear’ and ‘mechanical’ may be partly responsible for these views, as well as the way science is taught. Creativity, including imagination, insight and intuition are all involved in developing scientific hypotheses and theories for example, but are not necessarily acknowledged as implicit in the method.
Here, a creativity philosophy for science teaching and learning in Higher Education is explored with a view to ‘re-creating’ science. Here, the literature pertaining to creativity in science and science education is reviewed. Then a philosophical perspective of nature as being inherently creative is presented, based on developments in quantum physics and philosophy. The work of David Bohm regarding creativity in science is introduced as well as the radical views of ‘nature’ and ‘knowing’ proposed by Christian De Quincey, based in part on the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. The scientific work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is also discussed, as a way of developing the imagination and the ability to perceive the creative dynamism and wholeness of nature.
This dissertation is noteworthy in the way in which Mike analyses the creative and novel teaching methods of at Schumacher College, UK and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. In doing so Mike carried out many depth interviews with both teaching staff and students from these two institutions, as such this is an excellent report on many different techniques and methods covering
- Deep observation
- Group teaching dynamics
- Active and self-directed learning
- Inquiry-based approaches
This dissertation provides a compelling argument for the way in which we re-think the teaching of science in schools and universities. Mike concludes with the observation that:
Engaging science students in considering new developments in physics and philosophy, such as those discussed here, is very important. They may allow students to see both nature and science as inherently creative, and will help pave the way towards seeing how we can ‘re-create’ science, through a recognition that we are truly creative participants in the creative
and dynamic processes of nature.
You can download a copy of the dissertation here.