Mathematics and science education are still strongly based on the concept of mind–body dualism, in which mind and body are viewed as separate entities. Learning mathematics is most often regarded as a solely intellectual activity, which involves only the brain. The “Maths in Motion” modules described in this chapter were collaboratively written and field tested by experts in dance/movement, educational researchers and mathematics education researchers. neuropsychological research has shown that physical activity correlates positively with cognitive skills. This chapter describes six activities, linking them to theories of multiple intelligences, multiple creativities and multiple embodiment. Each activity presents STEAM-integrated mathematics educational practices, which highlight methods of “embodying” mathematical concepts through physicality and kinaesthetic engagement, imagination and creativity. Our goal is to present outlines of these multidisciplinary and multisensory learning programs, which open up new dimensions for students, teachers and parents by offering the simultaneous experience of structural, spatial, rhythmic and symbolic dimensions of mathematics through body movement. The main body of this chapter describes these modules and some of the theoretical underpinnings of their creation. They represent the results of an international Erasmus+ educational project, called “Maths in Motion”.
This chapter offers an account of a workshop in arts-based learning called “Metamorphoses of Organic Forms”. This detailed description of a particular practice may inform a discussion of ways in which artful approaches, in general, may come to matter in STEAM education, with implications for both educational research and practice. Added to that, the chapter argues that such art-based practices can also be relevant more widely in the context of sustainability education, such as on the theme of climate change. Precisely because the content of the art workshop at hand is not prima facie linked to it, there is an unexpected potential to take up such a tangential theme in an unusual way. Typically, participants feel invigorated to enter new territory – both spatial and mental. On a meta-level, the session can also be seen as a practice in facing complexity, uncertainty, not knowing. The chapter suggests that such artful educational practices have intrinsic merit if we are to equip new generations with skills to live in and endure “post-normal times”.
In the workshop “Metamorphoses of Organic Forms”, participants are invited to imagine how forms in nature might either evolve or disintegrate over time. The workshop lends itself to follow-up lessons in biology and natural history. The outcome is not given. Participants go through a shared process step by step, following a sequence that is outlined for them as they go along. They are encouraged to imagine how natural phenomena might grow or decay in time and they do this in a series of short sessions where they sculpt works in clay. Such a practice in art-based environmental education is arguably a form of “poor pedagogy”. This educational activity is primarily and fundamentally an open-ended process. Rather than requiring an extensive methodology, its practice requires participants to surrender themselves to a process that will be unique each time it is performed. Such a practice is an expression of a view on education that is not centred on the transmission of knowledge but rather looks at attention as education and the education of attention.
STEAM education usually aims to use art and music as tools to enhance learning in the STEM subjects. However, a true merging of the visual arts and music with the STEM subjects presupposes an appreciation of the genuine character and contribution of all the STEAM subjects. This chapter discusses the contribution of musical listening skills to phenomenon-based science education, where the careful investigation of phenomena forms the basis for conceptualisations and theory. Science teacher students are accustomed to using pre-presented concepts to demonstrate or explain phenomena, rather than beginning from lifeworld experiences. Fostering attentive listening, such as through music education, is one way to develop students’ sensitivity to how they perceive, understand and inhabit our everyday world. This chapter draws on Husserl’s critique of modern science, Harvey’s notion of the “ontological reversal”, Heidegger’s ontology of listening, Ingold’s anthropology of the senses and John Cage’s notion of more-than-musical listening to explore how attentive listening can give learners a deepened understanding of sensed phenomena. The chapter also discusses possibilities and constraints when it comes to integrating the arts and music into STEM subjects. It proposes that teachers should develop students’ understanding of the relations between lifeworld phenomena and their scientific representations, fostering the art of paying attention and connecting to their lifeworlds, as well as expanding their scientific knowledge.
Donna Haraway calls us to create new ideas and new ways of thinking, and new kinds of stories to think with, because the old ones are failing to address the most pressing issues of our time. Such a shift relies on different concepts of what these terms mean, and creating new tools, concepts and ways of being with people, materials and environments. This chapter thinks with Haraway to explore how doing research differently in one research project (exploring teaching as an improvisatory act with music student teachers) has enabled the researcher to develop different stories about research, the role of a researcher and ultimately the role of a teacher. It challenges three interrelated assumptions about educational research and practice: the dominance of humanism, the linearity of process and the dominance of the linguistic. In their place, it explores research as improvisation, as making with materials, senses and forms. It considers how we can shift from a humanist, abstracted epistemology to a flattened onto-epistemology which focuses attention on being, on the entanglements of humans and materials, and on a pluralist knowing arising from all the senses.
An increasing realisation and acceptance of the impact of climate change has raised the profile of STEM and learning for sustainability in educational systems across the world. However, despite arguably some of the most encouraging policy in the world, teachers in Scotland often remain thwarted by the pragmatics of schooling and furthermore they may lack personal or professional conviction to take learning outside. In their defence, teachers in Scotland are working with a school population and ways of learning increasingly removed from nature and the specificity of place. This chapter describes the author’s attitude to teaching and learning, which has always been to “get stuck in” and face issues “head on”. Therefore, creating an opportunity from this pedagogical challenge was an obvious response. Donna Haraway’s curiosity is likewise piqued by the entanglements between beings and becoming, implicating such response-ability. Her passionate use of art and story describes the delicate, yet tenacious, webs of implicit relationality humans find themselves within. Haraway’s theorising of the worlding game on Earth, a game the children and the author played out each week at the beach, develops understandings of the value of alternative ways of learning which can occur when citizen scientist meets artist in a littoral contact zone. This chapter explores Haraway’s writing, in parallel with a description of a lived inquiry, to extend and deepen understanding of how sensorial encounter can complement rather than counter or polarise experiences of the other and of other learning.
This chapter adopts Karen Barad’s agential realism as a theory to de/colonise teacher education. For an agential realist knower, subject and object, mind and body, theory and practice are always in relation. One binary does not exist without the other independently – they are a sympoietic system ontologically. Hence, theorising involves literally being in touch with the world. Teaching and researching are not located in human agency separate from the world representing them through linguistic or other semiotic systems that are “substantialising” – we allow them to determine our understanding of the world.
An example of student teachers’ engagement with picture-book art illuminates how the concept “animal” tends to be substantialised in (higher) education by working with definitions that “capture” the essence or meaning of concepts, including attempts to define what “animal” is by nature. Barad’s concept of intra-action at the heart of her agential realism differs from “interaction” in that “nature” and “culture” are never “pure”. Like the related concepts diffraction and re-turning, knowing, doing and being are always already entangled and affected by each other.
This chapter’s rhizomatic experimentation with a Reggio Emilia-inspired philosophical curriculum gives learning and knowing a flavour of a worlding process. As part of a teacher education program, a field trip to an abandoned zoo on colonised land made the students think radically differently about anthropocentrism, anthropomorphism and human exceptionalism. Their diffractive artwork shows how the agential realist methodology of temporal diffraction can work to disrupt the colonising non-fiction–fiction, culture–nature and science–art binaries and calls us to think from animals, thereby becoming more sensitised to human exceptionalism and anthropocentrism.