Nurturing Epistemic Insight via reading Science‐related Classics
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings



摘要Cultivating a more scientifically-literate next generation has been one of the emphases of educational reform in many countries in the last few decades. Yet, what exactly is scientific literacy? We think that epistemic insight, that is the knowledge about knowledge, is at the core of Scientific Literacy. Epistemic Insight can be considered as the intrinsic value of scientific literacy as compared to its extrinsic value, which includes the scientific skills and knowledge that have direct practical use. Conversely, epistemic insight is the development of the understanding of the interactions between modern science and the various other aspects of human life. It is the enlightenment of a person to see the world differently, which have indirect but long-lasting benefit. In this paper, we propose a traditional way of implementing general education, namely, classics reading, as an effective way of nurturing epistemic insight in a multidisciplinary arena in the higher education context. The General Education Foundation Programme in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which requires students to read science-related classics, was studied. Through peer discussions on the core-issues raised by the classics, the perennial issues, students in a multidisciplinary class setting can be more easily inspired on how science relates to their individual disciplines and to the concerns of people living in the modern society. From a pedagogical perspective, the advantages of reading science-related classics to nurture epistemic insight are, first, science-related classics, by definition, were written in response to the big questions and hence can be easily related to all students of various disciplines and backgrounds. Second, these texts are part of the history of the development of civilizations. They impacted the life, cultures and religions of different societies and provide opportunities for the students to explore the relationships between science and such areas. This is especially important when related to the similar questions raised by advances at the frontiers of modern science and technology. Third, reading them at its very least develops an awareness of great people and great ideas, which is a strong enough reason to expect engagement even by those students who have little interest in science. The ways in which such classics are used to nurture epistemic insight shall be explained. Evaluation results shows that the course is, first, effective in teaching the basic science knowledge to the non-science students; second, increases students’ interest and confidence in science for both the science and non-science students; third, helps to close the gap between these two groups of students in their overall attitudes toward science as well as increases their open-mindedness to accept different views; and fourth, increases students’ epistemic insight. It is expected that this course can be an evidence for the use of this classics-reading approach for nurturing epistemic insight and scientific literacy in general, with in higher education context.
著者Kiang Kai Ming
會議名稱15th International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Conference
關鍵詞Science Education, Science Teaching, Classics Reading

上次更新時間 2020-20-05 於 15:11