Science, Art, and the Myth of the “Discipline”

oENpvxkI’m always delighted to read about college teachers who are are taking unusual approaches to pedagogy.   Jailson Farias de Lima is one such teacher.  In an article published on ProfWeb yesterday, he describes an innovative project he has designed for his chemistry students, challenging them to express their understanding of scientific concepts through art-making.  Science teachers may be particularly interested in this article, but I think anyone who is a little skeptical of the divisions between what we call “disciplines” will appreciate the efforts Lima is making to integrate skills and knowledge from various arenas.

What do you think?  Does Lima’s project appeal to you?  Do you make efforts to make links between your course content and other subjects, or do you have memories of teachers who did so?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach?

Image by Dez Pain

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7 responses

  1. There are so many different types of learning style that I love to see these types of things popping up. I’ll be beginning to teach on the elementary level again come fall semester and one of my big interview issues was that they wanted to make sure that I feel comfortable including art, music, writing, and reading in whatever topic I might teach. I was so happy I almost cried.

  2. There’s a big push for this here in Alberta, Canada right now. As a music specialist, I find the idea awesome. Now if only we can reduce the paperwork and extra stuff so that we can focus fully on actually implementing this sort of thing, that would be awesome.

  3. Since many of the sciences already use visual representations to codify and explain their core events and concepts (think anatomical drawings, physics diagrams, weather maps, etcC) this idea makes intuitive sense. That’s especially true if, as in Lima’s first example, the course topic is history/survey, rather than an attempt to teach the building block skills of the scientific discipline.

    I wonder how students who are STEM majors would respond to this? Might enjoy it, and bring even more divergent ideas to the table, but be concerned about the time spent.

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