Even though humanity faces grand challenges, including climate change, sustainability of the planet and its resources, and well-being of humans and other species, for the past 60 years science educators have been preoccupied with much the same priorities. Adherence to the tenets of crypto-positivism creates problems for research in the social sciences (e.g., over reliance on statistical analyses leads to oversimplified models that strip away context and are reductive). Hypotheses and associated statistical tests support causal models that rarely predict social conduct or blaze pathways for meaningful transformation. In contrast to the mainstream of research in science education, I advocate a multilogical methodology that embraces incommensurability, polysemia, subjectivity, and polyphonia as a means of preserving the integrity and potential of knowledge systems to generate and maintain disparate perspectives, outcomes, and implications for practice. In such a multilogical model, power discourses such as Western medicine carry no greater weight than complementary knowledge systems that may have been marginalized in a social world in which monosemia is dominant.
I describe research methodologies that have the potential to transform science education and our ongoing research in urban science education. I show how our research evolved to include studies of science for literate citizenry – expanding foci to address birth through death and all settings in which learning occurs – not just schools. Our research aims to be transformative since it includes interventions developed to use what we learned from research to ameliorate intense emotions, improve learning, and enhance the well-being of participants. I explain how we incorporated Jin Shin Jyutsu, a complementary medical knowledge system, to ameliorate intense emotions, become mindful, and improve well-being of participants. I also address research on meditation and mindfulness and their potential to improve learning, emotional styles, and wellness.
In a final section I address three of the most important questions raised by colleagues, including scholars from Asia, as I exhort science educators to address grand challenges that threaten the Earth and its social institutions – the alternatives are catastrophic.