The purpose of this paper is to highlight the profound learning associated with the Goethean methodology in the Holistic Science MSc at Schumacher College, Devon, UK. This is presented as a case study in profound pedagogy and as an exploration of the implications for workplace learning. Some comparisons are also made with reflective practice.
Background is provided on Goethe’s “way of science” and Barfield’s “participation”. Students were also interviewed about their learning and reflect on their experiences and challenges in learning the Goethean methodology, particularly regarding perceptions and participation, on their altered modes of thinking and feelings about learning, as well as on an “immediate”, corporeal and potentially co-operative mode of knowing in a “community of practice”, which can be extrapolated to the workplace.
The profoundness of the student experience and personal transformation presented in the interviews reveals that Goethean methodology has a place alongside the more specific analytical knowledge focus of universities. While the method has challenges in reconciling existing modes of knowing with the new approach, the students are able to see and intuit the wholeness and dynamism of phenomena more easily, and they gain a different perspective and learn to participate more fully in the world.
The paper asks that this template for educational practice be considered more widely relevant to today’s educational landscape in better providing skills and preparing students for the workplace in a world of “super-complexity”.
The research interviews at Schumacher College were funded by a “writing grant for publication in teaching and learning” for MW from the Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning at Trinity College Dublin.
Franses, P. and Wride, M. (2015), "Goethean pedagogy: A case in innovative science education and implications for work based learning", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 339-351. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-06-2015-0037Download as .RIS
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