Science fiction and fantasy in general education
Keywords:SF and fantasy, general education, educational domains of cognition, creation and coexistence, critical thinking, verification and falsification, cognitive appeal of the teaching materials, creative aspect of the mind
This article deals with the possible application of the genres of science fiction (SF) and fantasy – novels, short stories, films, dramas, spectacles etc. in secondary schools as part of the programme of general education. The discussion concerns both the production and the reception of such works by the students. The purpose of this educational proposal is to introduce in the system an opportunity for the students to coordinate and consolidate creatively the knowledge and the skills acquired in the classes of all the other disciplines of the curriculum. The basic assumption of the thesis is that the characteristic features of these genres, i.e., their appeal to the imagination, curiosity, and the natural need of the students for their own artistic creation, may prove effective to elevate the educational targets beyond the pragmatic level of absorbing information for the sake of the formal requirements of the school programme. These aims, which transcend the level of the practical utility of existential and psychosocial needs, concentrate on the search for objective knowledge about the world through the development of the skill of critical thinking in the domain of cognition, the search for the artistic talents and predispositions of all the students in the domain of creation, and on the essential issues of educing the need for harmonious and peaceful coexistence with other people and with the environment. The article presents the essential features of the theoretical grounding of this conception, the pedagogical implications of its introduction into the system and suggestions for its practical realization illustrated with examples of possible activities for students and teachers. The essay is concluded with a speculation on the future perspectives of a reciprocal reinforcement of the quality of general education and the development of the literary genres of SF and fantasy.
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