Topical Collection "Science Education Promoting Sustainability"

Editor

Dr. Eila Jeronen
Website
Collection Editor
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
Interests: education; teacher education; environmental education; sustainable development education; health education
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue, “Science Education Promoting Sustainability” is to provide ideas of how sustainability can be promoted in teaching, studying, and learning in science subjects. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it has been stated that all learners should 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 rapid changes in the fields of science and technology, it is important to develop students' capacity for self-direction and self-growth in educational communities.

Science Education Promoting Sustainability focuses on views and experiences in science subjects at schools, and in teacher education, which support curricular work and school practices sharing a vision of a society that lives in balance with the Earth’s carrying capacity. In addition, your contribution can present and reflect on the ideas that offer learners a context for developing active citizenship and participation for understanding of the interdependencies of ecological, societal, and economic systems.

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 collection 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). 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
  • teaching and learning methods
  • assessment and evaluation
  • scientific skills
  • student's self-regulation
  • student's beliefs
  • sustainability education
  • education for sustainable development
  • environmental education, health education

Published Papers (11 papers)

2020

Jump to: 2019, 2018

Open AccessArticle
Attitudes towards Statistics among Business Students: Do Gender, Mathematical Skills and Personal Traits Matter?
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6104; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156104 - 29 Jul 2020
Abstract
The purpose of this article was to investigate different variables, by combining mathematical skills and personal traits using The Big Five Model, to see which have the most influence on business students’ attitudes towards statistics. The Big Five personality traits make up a [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article was to investigate different variables, by combining mathematical skills and personal traits using The Big Five Model, to see which have the most influence on business students’ attitudes towards statistics. The Big Five personality traits make up a model for capturing various personal characteristics. Specifically, we aimed to understand why there is a gender difference in attitudes towards statistics. Statistical skills are a key factor for success in business studies. The chosen methods were pairwise comparisons (t-test) and a linear regression model, using a sample from a Norwegian business school. The finding was that there is a substantial gender gap towards attitudes towards statistics but taking mathematical skills and personal characteristics into consideration then results in this gap becoming much smaller. Furthermore, mathematical skills and personal traits were shown to have an impact on students’ attitudes towards statistics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Frames in Outdoor Environmental Education Programs: What We Communicate and Why We Think It Matters
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4451; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114451 - 30 May 2020
Abstract
This paper discusses the application of frame analysis as a method of designing and evaluating outdoor environmental education programs. In particular, it investigates what frames are communicated in these programs, why and how program leaders focus on communicating particular frames, and how students [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the application of frame analysis as a method of designing and evaluating outdoor environmental education programs. In particular, it investigates what frames are communicated in these programs, why and how program leaders focus on communicating particular frames, and how students interact with these frames. Five outdoor environmental education programs for elementary school students were analyzed. We used a qualitative approach that combined field observation, interviews with program leaders (N = 15), qualitative findings based on questionnaires collected from the participants after completing the programs (N = 365), and interviews with some of the students (N = 10). According to the results, while the leaders intensively applied various surface frames to attract student interest and organize the program activities, the deep frames aimed for in the main program messages connected with the program goals often remained implicit and were not recognized by the students. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Can Young Generations Recognize Marine Plastic Waste as a Systemic Issue?
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2586; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072586 - 25 Mar 2020
Abstract
This study reports preliminary survey results exploring whether children can recognize marine plastic waste as a systemic issue, especially regarding stock–flow relationships and delays. A systemic understanding of this issue is key to reducing marine plastic waste and to avoid its irreversible effects. [...] Read more.
This study reports preliminary survey results exploring whether children can recognize marine plastic waste as a systemic issue, especially regarding stock–flow relationships and delays. A systemic understanding of this issue is key to reducing marine plastic waste and to avoid its irreversible effects. Reducing the inflow of waste does not necessarily reduce the waste accumulated in the ocean, unless its rate becomes smaller than the outflow (e.g., cleanup). Delays due to a wait-and-see policy will result in irreversible effects, such as animals swallowing plastic waste, and plastic waste becoming microplastics that are difficult to clean up. A questionnaire survey was conducted during workshops and poster sessions at an event for sustainability in Japan. Participants were children from fourth grade to high school (9–18 years old). Participants were shown to have a limited systematic understanding of marine plastic waste. The majority incorrectly adopted pattern matching (70.6%) and failed to draw correct inflow and outflow curves (94.1%). The majority (83.6%) did not point out delay issues. This study indicates a need to correct mental models to understand the issue by introducing system education. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2020, 2018

Open AccessArticle
Merging Science Education into Communication: Developing and Validating a Scale for Science Edu-Communication Utilizing Awareness, Enjoyment, Interest, Opinion formation, and Understanding Dimensions (SEC-AEIOU)
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4551; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174551 - 22 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
For better understanding of how the public perceive the information in science communication; this study sought to develop the scale of Science Edu-Communication (SEC), an instrument to measure AEIOU: Awareness; Enjoyment; Interest; Opinion formation; and Understanding. The AEIOU framework was adopted for [...] Read more.
For better understanding of how the public perceive the information in science communication; this study sought to develop the scale of Science Edu-Communication (SEC), an instrument to measure AEIOU: Awareness; Enjoyment; Interest; Opinion formation; and Understanding. The AEIOU framework was adopted for use as the major component of SEC to depict participants’ general perceptions of science communication from their daily life experiences. Responses from 121 participants were analysed using exploratory factor analysis; item discrimination; and qualitative coding analysis. Results support SEC-AEIOU as a valid and reliable instrument to measure the effectiveness of science communication experiences. Additionally; SEC-AEIOU can serve as a framework for research and practice to bridge science communication and science education. In particular; science communicators; educators; and institutions that engage in science communication and educational activities may benefit from such a metric. This scale seeks to assist in building a robust framework to facilitate the trend of bridging science communication and science education: Science Edu-Communication. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Future Teachers’ Sustainable Water Consumption Behavior: A Test of the Value-Belief-Norm Theory
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1558; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061558 - 14 Mar 2019
Abstract
The impact of climate change and the demand of people for water resources are dramatically increasing. In order to protect water supply in the world, it is essential to develop individuals’ sustainable water consumption behaviors. Teachers play a key role in fostering students’ [...] Read more.
The impact of climate change and the demand of people for water resources are dramatically increasing. In order to protect water supply in the world, it is essential to develop individuals’ sustainable water consumption behaviors. Teachers play a key role in fostering students’ beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors about sustainable water consumption. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore pre-service teachers’ sustainable water consumption behaviors using the Value-Belief-Norm theory. 481 pre-service teachers completed a questionnaire measuring sustainable water consumption behavior, universal values, personal norms and beliefs that were categorized as awareness of consequences and ascription of responsibility. The results revealed that the Value-Belief-Norm theory could successfully explain sustainable water consumption behaviors of pre-service teachers. The study revealed that personal norm was a strong predictor to explain sustainable water consumption behavior. Mediation analysis confirmed the causal order of the variables in the model. In other words, personal norms mediated the relationship between ascription of responsibility and sustainable water consumption behavior; ascription of responsibility mediated the relationship between awareness of consequences and personal norms; awareness of consequences mediated the relationship between biospheric-altruistic values and ascription of responsibility; and lastly, personal norms mediated the relationship between biospheric-altruistic values and sustainable water consumption behavior. The results have important implications for education programs and environmental program designers. Through designing water conservation education programs, teachers and students’ sustainable water consumption behaviors can be fostered by strengthening their biospheric-altruistic values, environmental beliefs and personal norm to act for the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Development in Mathematics Education—A Case Study of What Kind of Meanings Do Prospective Class Teachers Find for the Mathematical Symbol “23”?
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020457 - 16 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this article, our focus is on sustainable development in mathematics education from the point of view of teacher training. The aim was to develop prospective teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge of school mathematics. As a case study, we chose the [...] Read more.
In this article, our focus is on sustainable development in mathematics education from the point of view of teacher training. The aim was to develop prospective teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge of school mathematics. As a case study, we chose the mathematical symbol “a/b”, and examined how prospective class teachers in Finland connect it to the concepts of fraction, ratio, division, rational number or probability. Mathematics textbooks often have a central role in lessons, and they affect strongly how pupils understand concepts and the relationships between them. We chose languaging as a multi-semiotic approach to interpreting what kind of meanings the prospective class teachers gave the mathematical symbol “a/b”. The results show that some of these concepts are difficult to see at the same time from the given mathematical symbol. The concept of ratio is particularly difficult for prospective class teachers to interpret. Pictorial presentation supported the interpretations. Mathematics learning materials and teacher education should develop in accordance with the results of the study. Full article
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2018

Jump to: 2020, 2019

Open AccessArticle
Examining the Relationships between Factors Influencing Environmental Behaviour among University Students
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4294; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114294 - 20 Nov 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Education for sustainability may be seen as consisting of four dimensions: sensitivity and attitudes toward the environment, awareness and knowledge of the environment, environmentally friendly actions and participation. A questionnaire was drawn up which includes statements concerning all these dimensions and it was [...] Read more.
Education for sustainability may be seen as consisting of four dimensions: sensitivity and attitudes toward the environment, awareness and knowledge of the environment, environmentally friendly actions and participation. A questionnaire was drawn up which includes statements concerning all these dimensions and it was filled out by 674 university students from different majors. Data were analysed statistically and a structural equation model was formed. Results indicate that sensitivity toward or awareness of nature is the basis for the enjoyment of nature. The enjoyment of nature is directly positively related to the intention of support pro-environmental activity and to environmental knowledge. Furthermore, it has a mediational effect on ecological knowledge, concern, or the belief of human dominance over nature. Students who possess global concerns do not accept human dominance and this is related to the intent to support environmental activities. Students were found to form groups: “Sorters.” “Occasional actors” and “Resource savers.” Compared to prior research, due to the additional items concerning environmental sensitivity and awareness in our instrument, we were able to uncover the importance of sensitivity to the enjoyment of nature in the complex model of the relationships between awareness, attitudes, knowledge, concerns and intentions. Ecological knowledge leads to global concerns and, therefore, it should be promoted through science education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chicken Raising in a Diverse Finnish Classroom: Multidimensional Sustainability Learning
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113886 - 25 Oct 2018
Abstract
Social change requires new educational planning and sustainable teaching methods. Shaping an environment of care with animals as a part of the daily school life may produce such a change. In this article, we present a transdisciplinary study with the aim of exploring [...] Read more.
Social change requires new educational planning and sustainable teaching methods. Shaping an environment of care with animals as a part of the daily school life may produce such a change. In this article, we present a transdisciplinary study with the aim of exploring whether raising chickens in a classroom could promote learning, especially sustainability learning, and how. The study employs an ethnographic approach and we have analyzed the data according to interaction analysis. We collected the data in a culturally-diverse Finnish primary school class during May 2018. The data comprise field notes, videos and photographs from indoor and outdoor school activities; interviews and discussions with teachers and students; and, texts and artifacts that were made by students. The results show that having chickens in the classroom not only improved the students’ learning of biology, but also enhanced many other activities. The chicken project became part of a complex learning culture that met several of the aims of the curriculum and in many ways reached beyond the aim of merely learning science. The project became a natural part of sustainability education and promoted the acquisition of knowledge and skills in relation to the ecological and social dimensions of sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Teaching Methods in Biology Promoting Biodiversity Education
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103812 - 22 Oct 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
The aim of this qualitative survey was to investigate what kind of teaching methods have been used in biology to promote biodiversity education (BDE) and how the methods support biodiversity (BD) learning. We found, in total, 317 international scientific articles published since 2000 [...] Read more.
The aim of this qualitative survey was to investigate what kind of teaching methods have been used in biology to promote biodiversity education (BDE) and how the methods support biodiversity (BD) learning. We found, in total, 317 international scientific articles published since 2000 which described the teaching methods regarding BDE and the teaching, and/or the learning. From these ones 12 articles specifically addressed the teaching methods of BD. The content of these articles was analysed in detail. The detailed analysis was based on (a) the categories of the teaching methods used, (b) the conception of learning in the Finnish National Core Curricula for Secondary schools and (c) the revised Bloom’s taxonomy and Stanny’s verbs concerning the levels of taxonomy. The most used teaching methods were hands-on instruction, experiential learning, and teacher presentation. The least used ones were games, roleplay, debates, service learning, study trips, and visits. In all the articles, various teaching methods used during the lessons were described. The items concerning the teaching methods, which supported students learning were active participation and interaction—mentioned in all the articles—followed by observation, experimental work, experiential learning, and techniques for increasing environmental awareness. The understanding of the different perspectives of BD and the development of self-evaluation were addressed in only four and two of the articles, respectively. The four types of knowledge were supported by the used teaching methods in nine articles jointly. The lower levels of thinking skills were well-supported by the used teaching methods. The highest level of thinking skills, such as synthesis and evaluation, received the least amount of attention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Promoting Participation in Society through Science Education
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3412; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103412 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Participation in society can be promoted through science education. This study considers an example of how a lower secondary school teacher integrated participation in society into physics studies and how students (n = 20) perceived the participation exercise. In the learning process, [...] Read more.
Participation in society can be promoted through science education. This study considers an example of how a lower secondary school teacher integrated participation in society into physics studies and how students (n = 20) perceived the participation exercise. In the learning process, students exchanged knowledge and tools with others and produced knowledge for the community in the form of a citizen’s initiative leading to an action by the municipality: the painting of a pedestrian crossing. The students were keen to exercise participation and produce information through inquiries for their citizen initiative. After the intervention, most of the students expressed their willingness to participate in society and act as active citizens, they perceived that they have the means and opportunities, as well as the possibility to find support to participate and influence. Students were willing to participate particularly in their local communities. Students perceived that they learned and gained competences while participating. Students acknowledged knowledge as a base of the decision, which may promote perceived value of physics and associated careers. Students also highlighted collaboration and shared experiences, which may create engagement and participation concerning the scientific issues to which they relate. Similar participation exercises are possible in other contexts and countries. Further studies should focus on different participation exercises to gain more knowledge about young people’s experiences on participation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Study on the Spontaneous Representation of Animals in Young Children’s Drawings of Plant Life
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1000; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041000 - 28 Mar 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Previous research indicates that complex biological concepts may be successfully introduced in preschool age, provided that suitable educational interventions are designed for the initial stages of education. In this regard, there is evidence that a basic understanding of the issue of the ecological [...] Read more.
Previous research indicates that complex biological concepts may be successfully introduced in preschool age, provided that suitable educational interventions are designed for the initial stages of education. In this regard, there is evidence that a basic understanding of the issue of the ecological interactions among organisms may be achieved in the preschool years. With this in mind, this research project tests the assumption that recognising the fact that plants and animals are not isolated creatures, but live engaged in constant interactions in nature, may begin to be understood in early education. To that end, this study examines the content of free drawings that a sample of 328 children aged four to seven years of age, undertook when explaining their understanding of plant life. Data regarding the type and frequency of the depictions of animals found in the children’s graphic explanations on flora is collected and read in conjunction with participants’ gender and academic level. The results show that a substantial proportion of the children in the sample spontaneously drew illustrations of animals in their graphic explanations concerning vegetable life and, more significantly, some pictures show plants and animals engaged in clear contact. This is the case, despite the fact that the drawing activity had been focused solely on the issue of plant life and no indication linked to depicting other kinds of living things mentioned during the activity. The conclusions discuss the data collected in connection with the growing number of research projects that study the question of how young children begin to embrace the fundamental biological concepts that pave the way to the understanding of natural phenomena and make the public capable of making responsible choices when it comes to sustainability issues. Full article
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