Engaging with the Present by Exploring the Future: Critical Potential of Science Fiction in Education
Tomin, Brittany Elizabeth
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In The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr. (2008) argues that:  sf has come to be seen as an essential mode of imaging the horizons of possibility (p. 1). Noting this, I will therefore discuss how SF can be used as a pedagogical tool by educators to help secondary students explore fictional futures, with an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills by comparing science fictional futures and the present. This thesis includes an original in-school study where I use Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, critical theory, genre-based analysis, and inquiry-based learning to encourage students to critically consider contemporary issues. Having analyzed student discussions, introductory questionnaires, exit interviews and written assessments through deductive thematic analysis, discourse analysis and within-method triangulation, I will discuss the practical use of SF to meet critical thinking and critical literacy expectations outlined in The Ontario Curriculum for English (2008).