Bridging the Divide: The Humanities and the Sciences

By Lex McDonald.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The division of academic disciplines within tertiary education programmes promotes the differentiation between the humanities and sciences paradigms. For many, this perceived division becomes a dichotomy perpetuating an evaluative and critical discussion of the merits and limitations of each. Opportunities for paradigmatic collaboration and interaction remain thwarted. However, as university education changes, increasingly there are demands that stakeholders’ needs be better met and this challenges the perceived division. There is, therefore, the need to identify clearly the desired learner outcomes associated with a programme of study to promote citizenship and community well-being. In New Zealand, as in overseas institutions, stakeholder needs can only be realised if disciplines bridge the divide and teach to meet these fundamental needs. Drawing upon the sciences that already bridge the divide can be helpful in providing understanding on how to accomplish this; furthermore, both paradigms link because they have a common aim - to transfer learning. Accordingly, it is essential for all university educators (including those academics in the humanities and sciences) to be aware of transfer of learning technology so that the attributes are embedded in the learners’ behavioural repertoire beyond the university. Two differing scenarios, that consider a bridging of the divide, are discussed and a model of influencing factors is outlined.

Keywords: Humanities, Sciences, University, Transfer of Learning

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 10, pp.135-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 667.907KB).

Dr. Lex McDonald

Director of Post-Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

I am a psychologist and my academic interests include inclusive education, cultural psychology, training and professional development. I recently co-authored a book on transfer of learning (The Transfer of Learning: Participants’ Perspectives of Adult Education and Training). My work career has involved teaching, working as a practice psychologist and lecturing. Current responsibilities include working with staff and students, advising and guiding them on matters pertaining to post-graduate study.


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