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Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1798-1818; doi:10.3390/su7021798

The Potential of Non-Formal Laboratory Environments for Innovating the Chemistry Curriculum and Promoting Secondary School Level Students Education for Sustainability

1,* , 2,†
and
1,†
1
Department of Chemistry and Biology—Institute for Science Education, University of Bremen, Leobener Street NW2, 28334 Bremen, Germany
2
Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Technologies, University of Bremen, Leobener Street UFT, 28334 Bremen, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ian Thomas
Received: 1 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 February 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
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Abstract

Developing skills and attitudes among students in terms of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) requires that educators address issues of sustainability in both formal and non-formal education. However, up to now, ESD seems to have been insufficiently implemented in secondary science education in many countries in general, and in high school chemistry learning in particular. A lack of suitable experiments, coupled with missing teaching and learning materials and insufficient teacher professional development have been identified as the reasons for this gap. This paper describes a project of innovation and research in the field of ESD for secondary school chemistry education. Within the project, both half- and full-day learning environments have been developed for non-formal, laboratory-based learning of secondary level students at the university. The research-based development focuses on teaching-learning modules which link formal and non-formal learning. The pedagogy employed is both learner-centered and inquiry-based. All the modules focus on sustainability issues in chemistry-related contexts. Data was collected by questionnaires from teachers and students both prior to and after the visit of the non-formal learning environment. Likert-items were analyzed statistically and the evaluation of the open-ended questions was done by Qualitative Content Analysis. An overview of the project, a case from the non-formal laboratory setting, and findings from accompanying research and evaluation are discussed in this paper. Potential impacts on teacher professional development and curriculum innovation are also outlined. View Full-Text
Keywords: chemistry education; education for sustainable development; non-formal education; curriculum innovation; biodiesel chemistry education; education for sustainable development; non-formal education; curriculum innovation; biodiesel
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Garner, N.; Siol, A.; Eilks, I. The Potential of Non-Formal Laboratory Environments for Innovating the Chemistry Curriculum and Promoting Secondary School Level Students Education for Sustainability. Sustainability 2015, 7, 1798-1818.

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