Education Revisited – Lessons to Learn from the Medieval Curriculum

IMG_4084In the De artibus liberalibus (On the Liberal Arts), Grosseteste positions the Liberal Arts as having their proper, natural place in scholarly thought and the educational curriculum. In the set of the seven Liberal Arts, the so called trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric is complemented by the mathematical arts, that is, the quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Continue reading

How history of science informs individual development of scientific reasoning and supports a reflective perspective thereon


Per Kind, at our October workshop, put forward the idea that informative parallels can be drawn between the development of science-knowledge across chronological time, i.e. the history of science, and the development of scientific reasoning within the individual, across developmental time. This opens up an indirect way of how studying Grosseteste and his time can help us improve science teaching: by analysing the succession of methods and processes that have characterised science across the centuries, maybe we can learn about how scientific reasoning develops across childhood and adolescence and about the factors that drive this development. In this way, the Grosseteste project could make important theoretical contributions to our models of how reasoning skills develop. From these models, we could then infer which specific cognitive caveats need to be tackled at different stages of the learning process, and this would have general implications for how we teach science across different age groups. Continue reading

How Grosseteste could help in conveying a ‘grasp of scientific practice’

In recent years science education has moved progressively further away from teaching students scientific facts towards conveying an understanding of how science works, or of the Nature of Science (NOS). One attempt in this respect has been to define a set of necessary and sufficient criteria that distinguish good from bad scientific inquiry, and to then transmit these to students in the form of declarative knowledge. Continue reading

Ordered Universe Sessions at Porto

Cafe Majestic in Porto
Cafe Majestic in Porto

These are the details of the three formal sessions we have organised for the FIDEM Congress in Porto: focusing on the treatises on light and on colour. Each session has a mingling (to use a Grossetestian phrase) of scientific and humanities based scholars; all of which are needed to convey the richness and depth of these wonderful, and original expositions of Aristotle together with his Arabic commentators. The De luce we date to about 1225, the De iride is one of the last scientific texts Grosseteste composed, dated to 1228-1230.

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Durham Grosseteste Project in Portugal

IMG_1119So, our next engagement as a team will be the FIDEM congress in Porto. The congress gathers around 400-500 medievalists of various sorts and meets every 5 years. FIDEM itself is a network of institutes for medieval studies, with individual as well as institutional membership, and has been running since 1987. Greti sits on the executive board. Jose Mereinhos very kindy and enthusiastically accepted our suggestion that we might present the project in Porto. Continue reading