Laroche, L. (June 2002). In the Threshold: the butterfly stretches her wings. Educational Insights, 7(1). [Available: http://ccfi.educ.ubc.ca/publication/insights/v07n01/dissertation/laroche/]
 
 
 
In the Threshold: the butterfly stretches her wings
 
Lyubov Laroche
University of British Columbia
Abstract

My dissertation is a conceptual-philosophical essay, which invites the reader to imagine how science education might appear, if defrosted from a disenchanting spell of the mechanistic worldview.

The modern "Machine" has collapsed the entire world into a static, sterile, meaningless, soulless place, a disenchanted kingdom of plain passive matter. This disenchanted worldview has led to a prosaic materialistic mentality that has pushed modern civilization far from ecological, political, social, educational, and spiritual equilibriums (Griffin, 1989; Wilber, 1998). According to the science of complexity, a state-far-from-equilibrium is the edge of chaos, the dynamic space of possibilities, from which a new world might be born (Prigogine & Stengers, 1984; Barrow, 1999).

Departing from rigid certainties of modernity and entering the eclectic and vague bricollage of postmodern visions, we cannot predict with certainty what possibility might actualize and what kind of world might leap into existence. Will it be a technological paradise, the world of sophisticated scientific and technical rationality? Perhaps. Will it be a ruined, destroyed world where humanity committed ecological or military suicide? There danger of this scenario is all too real. Or, will we invent a better world that evolves not only along technological and virtual dimensions but also along inner spiritual dimensions, in which creativity, novelty, compassion, and the sense of intimate interconnectedness of everything that exists have the status of universal qualities? New developments in science open a space for such possibilities.

Avant-garde science unfolds into the 21st century as a powerful and fascinating force. It provides us not only with technological marvels, but also with a conceptual framework for re-inventing our reality, ourselves, and our education. New science re-enchants the world (Griffin, 1988; Bohm, 1988; Prigogine, 1996). In my dissertation I identify re-enchanting dimensions within new scientific visions emerging from contemporary chemistry, quantum mechanics, astrophysics, ecology, human consciousness research, and biology. I conceptualize holonomic inquiry as my integral science/arts--based research methodology for exploring these dimensions through our own experiences. Conducting this inquiry and attending to the voices of scientists, philosophers, educators, and poets, I imagine school science education that spirals deeper and deeper into the re-enchantment of the world, circler by circlet by circlet, nonlinearly. The deeper is re-enchantment, the more radically it will change the rationale, structure, content, and metaphoric language of science education.

To land my flight of imagination in pedagogical practice, I designed and taught for three separate years, a science course for elementary prospective teachers. The reoccurring leitmotif throughout my entire dissertation, "Days of the Physical Science in Elementary Schools Course," is the "soap-opera" style narrative describing my three pedagogical landings, which were not always smooth. The conclusion of my thesis is open-ended and as such, inconclusive. How could it be otherwise in the re-enchanted, creative, ever-evolving, and ever-becoming world?

Contents

IN THE THRESHOLD:
THE BUTTERFLY STRETCHES HER WINGS

TIME TO BEGIN

A SWINGING PENDULUM OF ENCHANTMENTS

CIRCLET 1: SCIENCE OF COMPLEXITY AS A STEP INTO
MODEST RE-ENCHANTMENT

CIRCLET 2: A HOLONOMIC PARADIGM AS A STEP INTO
DEEPER RE-ENCHANTMENT

CIRCLET 3: POSTMODERN ORGANICISM AS A STEP INTO
EVEN DEEPER RE-ENCHANTMENT

CIRCLET 4: THE LAND OF SPIRITUAL NO-NO AS A STEP INTO
RADICAL RE-ENCHANTMENT

CIRCLET 5: WHERE MAGIC AND SCIENCE SHAKE HANDS:
A STEP INTO EXTREME RE-ENCHANTMENT

REFERENCES

NOTES

 
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