Mr. John McMahon, Director General of Vanier College, is pleased to announce that Vanier has been awarded a Ken Spencer Award in recognition of the College’s Art In Science Project. Three Vanier Science teachers, Jailson Lima (Chemistry), as well as Physics teachers Rhys Adams and Stephen Cohen were presented with the $1,000 award today during a ceremony that took place at the college. Monique Brodeur, Dean of the UQAM Faculty of Education and EdCan Network Advisory Council member, presented the cheque and award.
“I am extremely proud of this achievement as it is a concrete example of the kind of pedagogical innovation that we are promoting at Vanier. Kudos to Jailson, Rhys and Stephen for their dedication and success in inspiring and challenging our students and helping them understand science from a completely original point of view,” said John McMahon.
While traditional science courses rely on lectures and exercise drills to help students memorize complex facts and procedures, the Art in Science Project challenges students to creatively portray scientific concepts through their preferred choice of expression, including visual arts, music, videos, and computer simulations. They share their interests and create something personally meaningful, while developing a deeper understanding of the conceptual frameworks of physics and chemistry.
Jailson Farias De Lima said he wants students to think “outside the box.” Through the Art in Science Project, the goal is to break down stereotypes between the arts and the sciences by encouraging both right-brain and left-brain thinking in students. To do this, a new approach to teaching science was introduced whereby a history of science course was taught to Liberal arts students who preferred art to science. The result was the Arts and Science Project in which students were asked to create a visual work that reflected something covered in the course. The success of that approach led to the incorporation of such ideas into regular science courses.
The Ken Spencer Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning was established with the generous contribution of Dr. Ken Spencer to recognize and publicize innovative work that is sustainable and has the potential of being taken up by others; to encourage a focus on transformative change in schools; and to provide profiles for classroom innovation within school districts, schools, and the media.