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Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 4474-4491; doi:10.3390/su7044474

Research-Based Transformative Science/STEM/STES/STESEP Education for “Sustainability Thinking”: From Teaching to “Know” to Learning to “Think”

Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Haifa-Oranim, Kiryat Tivon 36006, Israel
Academic Editor: Ian Thomas
Received: 1 December 2014 / Revised: 7 April 2015 / Accepted: 8 April 2015 / Published: 16 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
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Abstract

Sustainability is conceptualized, approached and acted upon differently by people, sectors, societies, nations and educational systems. Consequently, the “sustainability thinking”-related scientific, technological, environmental, societal, economic and policy/political components are expected to transform differently. The related necessary transformative paradigm shifts in science, technology, environment, society, economy and policy (STESEP)—education from the contemporary disciplinary science, technology and environmental teaching to “know”—to transdisciplinary learning to “think” are to be expected. The overriding purpose: ensuring “sustainability thinking” by responsible, capable “STESEP literate” citizens. Consequently, “sustainability thinking” in the STESEP interfaces contexts, requires (1) the development of students’ higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS) via a transformative/transdisciplinary “STESEP Education”; (2) a research-based shift from the conventional algorithmic lower-order cognitive skills (LOCS)-based teaching to “know”, to “HOCS learning” to “think”; and (3) a special focus on HOCS-promoting teaching, assessment and learning strategies in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, environment, society and education. A pre-post research design of system thinking, evaluative thinking, and decision making capabilities of 10 grade high school, undergraduate and graduate students, in Israel, are presented and discussed in the learning for “sustainability thinking” context. In conclusion: contemporary science education in secondary and tertiary levels is mainly, disciplinary (biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics) in science, technology and engineering courses. The LOCS-to-HOCS paradigm shift still constitutes a major issue of concern, with respect to ensuring a transformative science/STESEP education, targeting “sustainability thinking” in secondary and tertiary education. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability thinking; higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS); STESEP education; science/STEM/STES/STESEP environmental education (SSSEE) sustainability thinking; higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS); STESEP education; science/STEM/STES/STESEP environmental education (SSSEE)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zoller, U. Research-Based Transformative Science/STEM/STES/STESEP Education for “Sustainability Thinking”: From Teaching to “Know” to Learning to “Think”. Sustainability 2015, 7, 4474-4491.

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