Establishing a Pulse: Arts for Reflection, Resilience, and Resonance in STEM Education

By Giskin Day.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: June 6, 2016 $US5.00

Imperial College London is unusual for being the only university in the UK to offer degrees exclusively in science-based disciplines. However, the importance of the arts in developing breadth in students is recognised in an innovative, interdisciplinary programme called Imperial Horizons. Technological innovations mean that we can re-evaluate fact-driven curricula to focus instead on developing higher-order thinking skills acquired through experiential learning. We must continue to find ways of adding value to face-to-face teaching to justify students engaging in the classroom. Using the framework of experiential learning and focusing on medical education in particular, I will describe teaching initiatives using the arts to enhance creative thinking and tolerance of ambiguity. “Reflection” and “resilience” are two qualities that are “trending” in medical education. To these, I will argue, should be added a third “R”—“resonance,” which unites the rational and emotional in a state of responsive consonance. The practical application of arts education is shown in examples of art created by medical students, which demonstrates how the arts can help set up resonance between rational knowledge, imagination and emotion. Short-term and long-term feedback shows that students find engagement with the arts in this educational setting beneficial as they prepare to enter challenging professions. The implication is that this allows us to make a strong case for the continued inclusion of the arts in crowded science-based curricula, for intellectual, creative and practical reasons.

Keywords: STEM, Medical Education, Pedagogy, Experiential Learning

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 11, Issue 4, December, 2016, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: June 6, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 757.676KB)).

Giskin Day

Principal Teaching Fellow, Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, Imperial College London, London, UK