A Classics Reading Approach to Nurture Epistemic Insight in a Multidisciplinary and Higher Education Context



In this paper, we argue that classics reading, a traditional way of implementing general education, can be effective in nurturing epistemic insight in a multidisciplinary class setting in the higher education context. We think that epistemic insight is at the core of scientific literacy. The General Education Foundation Programme of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, which requires students to read science-related classics, was studied. The ways in which such classics are used to nurture epistemic insight are explained. Evaluation results show that the programme is, in general, well received by the students and is effective in nurturing scientific literacy through epistemic insight. We hypothesized that the success is due to the underlying presence of the nature-knowledge-value framework. Such a framework helps students to become aware of the different views about science (the first level of epistemic insight) and to reflect on the origin, the inter-relationship, the complexity and the limitations of such diverse views (the second level of epistemic insight). This second level is what we propose to be suitable for nurturing scientific literacy in tertiary students. We expect that the present reflection will be useful for developing innovative pedagogies for nurturing epistemic insight and for guiding in-depth studies on their effectiveness.



We gratefully acknowledge the support we received from the colleagues in the Office of University General Education for this research.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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