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The roles of aesthetic experience in elementary school science
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2008 (English)In: Research in Science Education, Vol. 38, 45-65 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The role of aesthetic experiences for learning science was examined in elementary school science. Numerous authors have argued for a science eduation also involving aesthetic experiences, but few have examined what this means empirically. Recordings of children's talk with each other and with the teacher during hands-on activities in nine different science units were made. How the children and teachers used aesthetic judgements and how these judgements were part of aesthetic experiences of the science assignments were analysed. For the analysis a pragmatist perspective was used, especially drawing on Dewey and the later Wittgenstein. The results showed how aesthetic judgements occurred in moments of anticipation and moments when the science activities were brought to fulfilment. In this way children used aesthetic judgements normatively about what belonged in science class and what to include and exclude. In this way aesthetic judgements were an important part of learning how to proceed in science class. In using aesthetic judgements the children also talked about their own place in science class and whether they belonged there or not. In this way aesthetic experience is tightly related to learning science as participation. Learning science also meant learning a special kind of aesthetis, that is, learning how to distinguish the science context from other contexts. The fact that children liked or disliked something outside school did not necessarily mean that it was experienced aesthetically in the same way in school, but needed to be re-learnt. What these results mean for science education is discussed at length. The connection between aesthetics and learning to observe is also briefly discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Science , 2008. Vol. 38, 45-65 p.
Keyword [en]
aesthetic experience, elementary school, Dewey, science learning
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35349DOI: 10.1007/s11165-9039-8OAI: diva2:287102
Available from: 2010-01-19 Created: 2010-01-17 Last updated: 2010-01-19Bibliographically approved

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Jakobson, Britt
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