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Article

Exploring How Teachers Diagnose Student Conceptions about the Cycle of Matter

1
Institute for Biology and Biology Education, University of Education Freiburg, Kunzenweg 21, 79117 Freiburg, Germany
2
Psychological Institute, University of Freiburg, Engelbergerstr. 41, 79085 Freiburg, Germany
3
TUM School of Education, Technical University of Munich, Arcisstr. 21, 80333 München, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4184; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104184
Received: 31 March 2020 / Revised: 30 April 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
Students need an understanding of ecosystem properties and functions to face global issues related to ecological crises and to grasp the challenges and necessary actions associated with the Sustainable Development Goals 12–15. When addressing complex ecological constructs, such as material cycles, diagnosing students’ pre-existing conceptions about such matters is crucial for making decisions about appropriate teaching strategies. In this study, we explored pre-service teachers’ (n = 63) and in-service teachers’ (n = 14) diagnostic skills in the context of education for sustainable development. To assess diagnostic skills, we showed teachers video-based clips from science lessons in which students express their alternative conceptions about material cycles. We found that teachers are generally able to notice students’ comments indicating their conceptions about ecological concepts that are relevant for sustainable development. However, the teachers had difficulties in interpreting the students’ comments correctly. This difficulty is a barrier to create effective lessons. Moreover, we identified teacher characteristics that could influence diagnostic skills. Our findings are discussed in the context of the role of diagnostic skills when teaching sustainable development goals. Finally, we present considerations on how teachers’ diagnostic skills could be promoted. View Full-Text
Keywords: education for sustainable development (ESD); sustainable development goals (SDGs); diagnostic skills; cycle of matter; alternative conceptions; science education education for sustainable development (ESD); sustainable development goals (SDGs); diagnostic skills; cycle of matter; alternative conceptions; science education
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hoppe, T.; Renkl, A.; Seidel, T.; Rettig, S.; Rieß, W. Exploring How Teachers Diagnose Student Conceptions about the Cycle of Matter. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4184. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104184

AMA Style

Hoppe T, Renkl A, Seidel T, Rettig S, Rieß W. Exploring How Teachers Diagnose Student Conceptions about the Cycle of Matter. Sustainability. 2020; 12(10):4184. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104184

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hoppe, Tobias, Alexander Renkl, Tina Seidel, Stephanie Rettig, and Werner Rieß. 2020. "Exploring How Teachers Diagnose Student Conceptions about the Cycle of Matter" Sustainability 12, no. 10: 4184. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104184

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