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A Problem-Based Learning Approach Enhancing Students’ Awareness of Natural Risks and Hazards in Italian Schools

Technical High School Innocent Manzetti, 11100 Aosta, Italy
Geosciences 2019, 9(7), 283;
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 21 June 2019 / Published: 26 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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The goal of the present research is to contribute to spreading in Italian schools greater awareness of the dangers derived from natural phenomena, such as landslides, floods or earthquakes. The essential steps are: developing the understanding of the territory’s inevitable evolution (derived from natural geological phenomena that normally concern it); raising the awareness of dynamics regarding the territory in which one lives (through geological and historical analysis of the context); and finally recognizing the speed and frequency with which different natural phenomena occur, and the surface they might affect. Thereafter, the research’s next step is gaining the awareness that these phenomena may become actual risks and cause damage, in relation to the territory’s use and vulnerability. Finally, its last step is realizing that knowledge on such dynamics is needed for risk-prevention and reduction in vulnerable contexts. In fact, it seems that, until these natural manifestations remain far from students’ everyday lives, they are not adequately acknowledged. Moreover, since it has been proven that the usual transmissive approach to the subject is not effective, a problem-based learning approach was experimented. The path was defined through disciplinary objectives and through developing and monitoring specific skills. During experimentation, investigative and practical activities showed an interesting growth of the involved students’ skills and competences. The research’s double aim of raising greater awareness of environmental dynamics and risks, and of developing greater technical skills and sense of citizenship among students (also concerning the observation and recognition of relationships) seems to have been achieved. View Full-Text
Keywords: problem-based learning; educational approach; natural risks and hazards problem-based learning; educational approach; natural risks and hazards

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Occhipinti, S. A Problem-Based Learning Approach Enhancing Students’ Awareness of Natural Risks and Hazards in Italian Schools. Geosciences 2019, 9, 283.

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