Ecocentric science education: More-than-human ethics, Goethean science, and poetic pedagogy

Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
This thesis includes an introduction, an extended narrative, and eight essays integrating philosophies on science education, poetic inquiry, and place-based learning. This collection explores a range of questions and philosophical concepts, including environmental ethics, contemplative practice, Goethean science, arts-based learning, and reflective pedagogy. The introduction first reveals my personal motivation and contextual milieu, and then identifies the thematic relationship—ecological literacy for undergraduate students fostered through ecocentric theory and practice—across the essays. My research is positioned within the germane literature, and I clarify the relational provocation that poetry and other arts-based scholarship afford. Part I (Ground) includes an extended narrative that serves to situate my lived experience and place-based connection, a personal journey in the North Cascades that led me to question anthropocentric science education. Carl Leggo's "Living poetically" is discussed as a methodology that cultivates more-than-human connection that promotes contemplative practice and a reciprocal relationship with life phenomena. Part II (Roots) explores human exceptionalism and self-interest towards other-than-humans. The aesthetic, holistic and moral qualities of Romanticism are considered in regards to science education. Goethean science, where students understand nature inwardly, offers an alternative to Newtonian science by incorporating the intentionality of phenomenological learning. Part III (Trunk) examines what we mean by "science education" and the reduction of nature to the order of the inanimate. Incorporating Goethean science in today's natural sciences classrooms steps us away from conventional reductionist science methodology and moves us toward a conscious-process-participation epistemology. Part IV (Branches and Leaves) uses Leopold's land ethic as a philosophical framework for relational education, and outlines the practical application of the GPS ecocache, and its integration with Kolb's model of experiential education. Reflections on KPU's Amazon Interdisciplinary Field School through narrative, journal entries, and photography elucidate the importance of teacher adaptability, confident mentorship, contemplative education, and nature as teacher. Part V (Fruit and Seeds) considers being a wild researcher, positionality of the natural world, embedded anthropocentrism in animal experimentation, and provides examples for ecocentric teaching and research in science.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Bai, Heesoon
Member of collection
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input_data\22214\etd21272.pdf 3.35 MB