Special Issue "Teaching Methods in Science Subjects Promoting Sustainability"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2016)

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Eila Jeronen

1. Adjunct professor, Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2. Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 9, Siltavuorenpenger 5A, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
3. Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, FI-96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: education; teacher education; environmental education; sustainable development education; health education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the new Transforming of our world, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has stated that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development (United Nations, A/RES/70/1, 2015, 17). Consequently, and also with the great proliferation of knowledge and the rapid changes in the field of Science and Technology, it is important to develop students' capacity for self-direction and self-growth. To meet students' needs, teachers should use different teaching approaches. A special issue of Education Sciences welcome all articles discussing work methods in Science subjects, in relation to students' competence and learning outcomes. Articles can discuss both conventional and new methods through which sustainability can be promoted and what kinds of problems and challenges teachers and students meet during teaching, studying, and learning processes. Articles can be review or empirical research.

Dr. Eila Jeronen

Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • subject content knowledge
  • scientific skills
  • student's beliefs
  • student's motivation
  • students’ self-regulation
  • education for sustainable development
  • environmental education
  • health education

Published Papers (10 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-10
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Systems Thinking for Understanding Sustainability? Nordic Student Teachers’ Views on the Relationship between Species Identification, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7030072
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is a complex concept including ecological, economic and social dimensions, which in turn involve several aspects that are interrelated in a complex way, such as cultural, health and political aspects. Systems thinking, which focuses on a system’s interrelated parts, could therefore help [...] Read more.
Sustainability is a complex concept including ecological, economic and social dimensions, which in turn involve several aspects that are interrelated in a complex way, such as cultural, health and political aspects. Systems thinking, which focuses on a system’s interrelated parts, could therefore help people understand the complexity of sustainability. The aim of this study is to analyse student teachers’ level of systems thinking regarding sustainability, especially the ecological dimension, and how they explain the relationship between species identification, biodiversity and sustainability. Nordic student teachers (N = 424) participated in a questionnaire and their open answers were content-analysed and categorised. The results indicate the student teachers’ low level of systems thinking regarding ecological sustainability. About a quarter of them (25.4%) had a basic level including interconnections (13.7%), additional feedback (8.9%) and also behavioural aspects (2.8%), but none of them reached an intermediate or advanced level. The low level of systems thinking could be explained by two main factors: (1) Systems thinking has not been used as an educational method of developing understanding of sustainability in teacher education programmes; and (2) systems thinking is also a result of life experiences; the older ones showing more systems thinking than the younger ones. Therefore, elementary forms of systems thinking should be an educational method already in primary education. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Reconceptualizing Scientific Literacy: The Role of Students’ Epistemological Profiles
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7020047
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 30 March 2017 / Accepted: 30 March 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
PDF Full-text (271 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this theoretical article we construct an argument for a pedagogical perspective based on the notion of epistemological profiles for scientific literacy for primary and secondary education. Concurrently, we offer a discussion of the implications of this proposal to the preparation of teachers [...] Read more.
In this theoretical article we construct an argument for a pedagogical perspective based on the notion of epistemological profiles for scientific literacy for primary and secondary education. Concurrently, we offer a discussion of the implications of this proposal to the preparation of teachers and the development of their pedagogical skills. Underlining cultural practices in the construction, communication and validation of knowledge—called epistemic practices which are informed by an ideological perspective on science, are implied in the notion of epistemological profiles in the context of science teaching, particularly physics. Using the concept of mass in the context of science education, we discuss how different ideological perspectives on science reflect distinct aspects of reality. Thus, in this paper we propose an ‘order’ and ‘direction’ to scientific literacy and education in science, emphasizing the construction of a clear empirical perspective for primary school and a rationalistic ideological perspective for secondary school. We complement our argument with resources from activity theory and discourse studies, alongside a discussion of issues and challenges. In concluding this paper, we point out that such proposal requires a change in the classroom teaching culture. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Internet-Based Medicine Education Intervention: Fourth Graders’ Perspectives
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7020046
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 11 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (389 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Health education, which also includes medicine education, promotes social sustainability in society. Through the context of Internet-based intervention, this study reports on fourth graders’ (N = 51, aged 10–11 years) perspectives on medicines, their use with common diseases and medicine-related information sources. [...] Read more.
Health education, which also includes medicine education, promotes social sustainability in society. Through the context of Internet-based intervention, this study reports on fourth graders’ (N = 51, aged 10–11 years) perspectives on medicines, their use with common diseases and medicine-related information sources. The study was qualitative by nature. Data was collected in spring 2010, by audio recording students’ group discussions during the study process and group interviews. After intervention, students were well aware of the proper use of medicines and how to find information both on medicines and health issues. The main challenge was finding websites that provide reliable and confidential information. The results of this study raise awareness of a concrete pedagogical approach to health education. The pedagogical approach conducted in the intervention could, to some extent, be transferred to any school setting. This study underlies the promotion of Internet-based health literacy and criteria, for evaluating online health information in the primary school context. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
High Performance Education Fails in Sustainability? —A Reflection on Finnish Primary Teacher Education
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010032
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is internationally often emphasized as an essential aim of higher education, but more as a principle than on the practical level. This is also obvious in the academic education of primary teachers in Finland. Therefore, it is a great challenge for Finnish [...] Read more.
Sustainability is internationally often emphasized as an essential aim of higher education, but more as a principle than on the practical level. This is also obvious in the academic education of primary teachers in Finland. Therefore, it is a great challenge for Finnish teachers to include sustainability in their teaching and everyday life in schools. The aim of this article is to critically analyze why the implementation of sustainability in teacher education is so intricate and to discuss possible solutions with Finland—a country highly valued for its education—as an example. The article reports outcomes from educational policy documents and research on educational, philosophical, scientific and social aspects of sustainability, including evaluation of how sustainability has been implemented in schools and at universities, especially among teacher educators. In addition, the article builds on analyses of comprehensive university strategies and primary school teacher education programs. We found these reasons for the ignoring of sustainability in the Finnish teacher education: sustainability is in conflict with overall trends in society and politics, teacher education takes place at universities and is based on separate academic disciplines. Sustainability is also intricate because it is strongly connected to ecological literacy and it is value dependent. Universities need to overcome these obstacles and become forerunners in the sustainability process. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An On-Campus Botanical Tour to Promote Student Satisfaction and Learning in a University Level Biodiversity or General Biology Course
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010018
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Outdoor, hands-on and experiential learning, as opposed to instruction-based learning in classroom, increases student satisfaction and motivation leading to a deeper understanding of the subject. However, the use of outdoor exercises in undergraduate biology courses is declining due to a variety of constraints. [...] Read more.
Outdoor, hands-on and experiential learning, as opposed to instruction-based learning in classroom, increases student satisfaction and motivation leading to a deeper understanding of the subject. However, the use of outdoor exercises in undergraduate biology courses is declining due to a variety of constraints. Thus, the goal of this paper is to describe a convenient, no-cost and flexible exercise using an on-campus botanical tour for strengthening specific knowledge areas of major plant groups. Its assessment on conduct and coverage, and student-perceived and actual knowledge gain is also described. Data presented derived from traditional biology undergraduates in sophomore year over nine fall and three spring semesters. Conduct and coverage was assessed using a summative survey including open-ended questions administered to 198 students. A pre- and post-exercise survey addressing 10 knowledge categories was administered to 139 students to evaluate student-perceived knowledge gain. Quiz grades from the on-campus tour exercise were compared with average quiz grades from two in-class plant-related labs of 234 students to assess actual knowledge gain. Each student reporting on the conduct and coverage indicated either one or a combination of outcomes of the exercise as positive engagement, experiential learning, or of interest. Student-perceived improvement was evident in all ten knowledge categories with a greater improvement in categories learned anew during exercise compared to subjects reviewed. Quiz grades from the exercise were >11% greater than quiz grades from the two in-class plant-related labs. Active learning with interest likely contributed to the increased perceived and actual knowledge gains. Suggestions for adoption of the exercise in different settings are presented based on both student comments and instructor’s experience. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Multimodal Languaging as a Pedagogical Model—A Case Study of the Concept of Division in School Mathematics
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010009
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 4 January 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to present a multimodal languaging model for mathematics education. The model consists of mathematical symbolic language, a pictorial language, and a natural language. By applying this model, the objective was to study how 4th grade pupils ( [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to present a multimodal languaging model for mathematics education. The model consists of mathematical symbolic language, a pictorial language, and a natural language. By applying this model, the objective was to study how 4th grade pupils (N = 21) understand the concept of division. The data was collected over six hours of teaching sessions, during which the pupils expressed their mathematical thinking mainly by writing and drawing. Their productions, as well as questionnaire after the process, were analyzed qualitatively. The results show that, in expressing the mathematical problem in verbal form, most of the students saw it as a division into parts. It was evident from the pupils’ texts and drawings that the mathematical expression of subtraction could be interpreted in three different ways. It was found that the pupils enjoyed using writing in the solution of word problems, and it is suggested that the use of different modes in expressing mathematical thinking may both strengthen the learning of mathematical concepts and support the evaluation of learning. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Subject Teachers as Educators for Sustainability: A Survey Study
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010008
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 18 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 4 January 2017
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1345 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability education (SE) is included in school curricula to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development (SD) into all education. This study investigates lower secondary school subject teachers as educators for sustainability. A survey was used to study the perceptions of [...] Read more.
Sustainability education (SE) is included in school curricula to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development (SD) into all education. This study investigates lower secondary school subject teachers as educators for sustainability. A survey was used to study the perceptions of 442 subject teachers from 49 schools in Finland. There were significant differences between the subject teachers’ perceptions of their SE competence, and the frequency with which they used different dimensions of SE (ecological, economic, social, well-being, cultural) in their teaching varied. Teachers’ age had a small effect, but gender, school, and its residential location were nonsignificant factors. Teachers could be roughly classified into three different subgroups according to their perceptions of the role of SE in their teaching; those who considered three SE dimensions rather often and used holistic sustainability approaches in their teaching (biology, geography, history); those who considered two or three dimensions often but were not active in holistic teaching (mother tongue, religion, visual arts, crafts, music, physical and health education, and home economics) and those who used one SE dimension or consider only one holistic approach in their teaching (mathematics, physics, chemistry and language). Subject teachers’ awareness of their SE competence is important to encourage them to plan and implement discipline-based and interdisciplinary SE in their teaching. The specific SE expertise of subject teachers should be taken into account in teacher training and education. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Relevancy of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about Sustainable Energy for Adolescents
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6040040
Received: 5 October 2016 / Revised: 22 November 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 1 December 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (480 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable energy is one of the biggest global challenges today. This paper discusses how we can promote adolescents’ learning of sustainable energy with the help of an international massive open online course (MOOC). The aim of this case study is to understand: (i) [...] Read more.
Sustainable energy is one of the biggest global challenges today. This paper discusses how we can promote adolescents’ learning of sustainable energy with the help of an international massive open online course (MOOC). The aim of this case study is to understand: (i) What do the adolescents find relevant in the MOOC course about sustainable energy? and (ii) What are the opportunities and challenges of the MOOC for the adolescents to learn sustainable energy? In our study, 80 voluntary adolescents around the world, who were at least 15 year old, took part in two surveys. The themes of our MOOC course were, e.g., sustainable growth, solar power, wind power, biofuel production and smart power generation. This 38 work-hour, free of charge, online course includes an introduction video, interviews of specialists, lecture videos, reading materials of the newest research and multiple choice questions on the topics. Research data was classified by using content analysis. The study indicates that adolescents feel that both the MOOC course and sustainable energy as a subject are relevant to them. Their decision to take part in an online course was mostly influenced by individual relevance and partly influenced by both societal and vocational relevance, according to the relevancy theory used. The MOOC was experienced to be relevant for the three following reasons: (i) good content (e.g., energy production) and implementation of the course; (ii) the course makes it possible to study in a new way; and (iii) the course is personally useful. The characteristics of the MOOC, such as being available anywhere and anytime, free access, and online learning, bringing out a flexible, new way of learning and thus promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the context of sustainable energy at school level around the world. This MOOC provided the school students with choice-based learning and expanded their learning opportunities in understanding sustainable energy. In the designing of MOOCs for studying sustainable energy, it is important to take the following things into consideration: (i) the balance between theory and practical examples; (ii) the support for interaction; and (iii) other support (e.g., technical and learning strategies) for students. Communication with other learners and getting feedback from teachers and tutors remain the vital challenges for the developers of MOOCs in the future. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Effectiveness of Group Work in Mathematics
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6030030
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 11 August 2016 / Accepted: 12 August 2016 / Published: 1 September 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2060 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Group work permits students to develop a range of critical thinking, analytical and communication skills; effective team work; appreciation and respect for other views, techniques and problem-solving methods, all of which promote active learning and enhance student learning. This paper presents an evaluation [...] Read more.
Group work permits students to develop a range of critical thinking, analytical and communication skills; effective team work; appreciation and respect for other views, techniques and problem-solving methods, all of which promote active learning and enhance student learning. This paper presents an evaluation of employing the didactic and pedagogical customs of group work in mathematics with the aim of improving student performance as well as exploring students’ perceptions of working in groups. The evaluation of group work was carried out during tutorial time with first year civil engineering students undertaking a mathematics module in their second semester. The aim was to investigate whether group work learning can help students gain a deeper understanding of the module content, develop improved critical and analytical thinking skills and see if this method of pedagogy can produce higher performance levels. The group work sessions were conducted over four weeks whilst studying the topic of integration. Evaluation surveys were collected at the end of the intervention along with an investigation into the examination results from the end of semester examinations. In order to derive plausible and reasonable conclusions, these examination results were compared with an analogous cohort of first year mathematics students, also studying integration in their engineering-based degree. The investigation into the effectiveness of group work showed interesting and encouraging positive outcomes, supported by a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Teaching Methods in Biology Education and Sustainability Education Including Outdoor Education for Promoting Sustainability—A Literature Review
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010001
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 7 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1135 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There are very few studies concerning the importance of teaching methods in biology education and environmental education including outdoor education for promoting sustainability at the levels of primary and secondary schools and pre-service teacher education. The material was selected using special keywords from [...] Read more.
There are very few studies concerning the importance of teaching methods in biology education and environmental education including outdoor education for promoting sustainability at the levels of primary and secondary schools and pre-service teacher education. The material was selected using special keywords from biology and sustainable education in several scientific databases. The article provides an overview of 24 selected articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals from 2006–2016. The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Altogether, 16 journals were selected and 24 articles were analyzed in detail. The foci of the analyses were teaching methods, learning environments, knowledge and thinking skills, psychomotor skills, emotions and attitudes, and evaluation methods. Additionally, features of good methods were investigated and their implications for teaching were emphasized. In total, 22 different teaching methods were found to improve sustainability education in different ways. The most emphasized teaching methods were those in which students worked in groups and participated actively in learning processes. Research points toward the value of teaching methods that provide a good introduction and supportive guidelines and include active participation and interactivity. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Educ. Sci. EISSN 2227-7102 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top