New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Using a Detective Story to Explore the Issues of Science Education

Michael Newman, Summerhill School (United Kingdom)

Abstract

Through the short story of ‘The Trial of Dr John Watson, Probably The Last Sherlock Holmes Story’ the education issues of science teaching at Imperial College are explored using the voices of lecturer Professor Thomas Henry Huxley, student H.G. Wells, and the fictional characters of Father Brown, Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and Auguste Dupin. Holmes is suing Dr Watson for his writings, claiming they are a travesty of his work, which should only appear as scientific papers, he is supported by Imperial College who want to set him up as head of a new criminology department. Meanwhile Professor Moriarty is scheming behind the scenes, against the formidable Auguste Dupin, who tries to save Holmes and Watson and confront the very values of all involved. The story uses the framework of the detective story, as it is a genre that engages with humans as seekers and constructors of truth, as used in many discussions on the significance of the signified and the sign in linguistics, and in this portrayal self-examines the stories created by detective, novelist and reader. How can this help children to learn about science? Why is it so important to, as Jacob Bronowski stated, ‘close the gap between the push button order and the human act’? We will look at the private and public arenas of knowledge creation and the perception of science in its portrayal in schools and universities and how this affects the sense of identity of the students.

Keywords: Story Detective, Education Science, Values Identity;

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