Special Issue "Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Kremer
Website
Guest Editor
IDN - Institute for Science Education, Leibniz University Hannover, Am Kleinen Felde 30, 30167 Hanover, Germany
Interests: Knowledge, attitudes and practices for ESD in environment and health contexts; Inquiry-based learning; Nature of science and epistemological beliefs; Informal learning
Ms. Deidre Bauer
Website
Guest Editor
IDN - Institute for Science Education, Leibniz University Hannover, Am Kleinen Felde 30, 30167 Hanover, Germany
Interests: Sustainibility in school and daily life

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At the core of the Agenda 2030 are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim of the SDGs is to secure a sustainable, peaceful, prosperous and equitable life on earth for everyone now and in the future. To achieve the SDGs, education for sustainable development (ESD) aims to develop competencies that empower individuals to reflect on their own actions, taking into account their current and future social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts, from a local and a global perspective. Therefore, ESD must define new knowledge, skills, values and attitudes and evaluate effective ways towards a new pedagogy.

Science education faces the challenge of the SDGs and ESD in different ways: (1) it plays a dominant role in equipping students with an adequate understanding of the complexity and the causes of global challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, energy transition or biodiversity loss; (2) it seeks to find new ways to integrate scientific knowledge and skills into real-world situations and elucidate ways to connect knowledge to sustainability-relevant values and attitudes; and (3) it has to overcome disciplinary boundaries to understanding a problem comprehensively and at the same time provide discipline-specific knowledge and skills to solve the problem.

This Special Issue focuses on empirical educational research and theoretical considerations that address transformational competences in science education in the context of the SDGs. It is designed to present new pedagogical approaches that aim to empower learners and teachers to contribute to a sustainable future and to evaluate their effectiveness in science education. Papers can focus on, e.g., new curricula or textbooks, teacher education, classroom and informal learning, whole-institution approaches, action-oriented and transformative learning approaches in science education.

References:

Fensham, P. J. (2012): Preparing Citizens for a Complex World: The Grand Challenge of Teaching Socio-scientific Issues in Science Education. In: Zeyer, A. und Kyburz-Graber, R. (2012): Science | Environment | Health. Towards a Renewed Pedagogy for Science Education, Berlin: Springer, S. 7–29.

O´Flaherty, J. & Liddy, M. (2018). The impact of development education and education for sustainable development interventions: a synthesis of the research. Environmental Euducation Research, 24, 1031 - 1049.

UNESCO (2015): Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld (letzter Zugriff: 08. 01. 2019)

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Kremer
Ms. Deidre Bauer
Guest Editors

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. 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

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
  • Global Citizenship Eduction
  • Intercultural Education
  • Science Education
  • Teacher Education
  • Global Challenges

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Personal Assessment of Reasons for the Loss of Global Biodiversity—an Empirical Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104277 - 22 May 2020
Abstract
The UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs), which aim to solve important economic, social, and environmental problems of humanity, are to be supported by education for sustainable development (ESD). Empirical studies on the success of the implementation of the SDGs in the field of [...] Read more.
The UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs), which aim to solve important economic, social, and environmental problems of humanity, are to be supported by education for sustainable development (ESD). Empirical studies on the success of the implementation of the SDGs in the field of education are still pending. For this reason, using the loss of global biodiversity as an example, this study examined the extent to which high school students, teacher trainees in biology, and biology bachelor students can identify the causes of the global biodiversity loss. A new questioning tool was developed and tested on 889 participants. In addition, the relationship between connection to nature and the personal assessment about biodiversity threats was examined. The factor analysis of the scale used showed that 11 out of 16 items were assigned to the intended factor. The comparison between high school students, teacher trainees in biology, and biology bachelor students showed no significant difference in overall assessment of the reasons for global biodiversity loss. When comparing the three risk levels in which the risk factors for biodiversity could be divided, across the three student groups, only minor differences were found. Therefore, a specific education of prospective teachers is necessary, as they have to pass on the competence as multipliers to their students. No significant difference could be found when examining the relationship between connection to nature and the overall scores of the assessment scale for the reasons of biodiversity loss. However, it was found that people who felt more connected to nature were more capable of assessing the main causes of risk for global biodiversity, while people who felt less connected to nature achieved better scores for the medium factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring How Teachers Diagnose Student Conceptions about the Cycle of Matter
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4184; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104184 - 20 May 2020
Abstract
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’ [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Virtual Reality Nature Experiences Involving Wolves on YouTube: Presence, Emotions, and Attitudes in Immersive and Nonimmersive Settings
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3823; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093823 - 08 May 2020
Abstract
As some nature experiences, such as viewing wild animals, may be difficult to implement in science education, immersive virtual reality (VR) technologies have become a promising tool in education. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the effectiveness of nature experiences in VR. In [...] Read more.
As some nature experiences, such as viewing wild animals, may be difficult to implement in science education, immersive virtual reality (VR) technologies have become a promising tool in education. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the effectiveness of nature experiences in VR. In this study, 50 German university students (M = 23.76 years, SD = 3.73 years) from diverse disciplines were randomly assigned to an immersive (head-mounted display; Oculus Quest) or a nonimmersive setting (external computer screen; desktop computer) and individually watched two 360° videos from the social media site YouTube about wolves in their natural habitat. Besides measuring participants’ attitudes towards wolves, we investigated their feeling of presence in the virtual environments with the Spatial Presence Experience Scale (SPES) and the retrospective emotions of interest, joy, and fear with the Differential Affect Scale (M-DAS). The immersive head-mounted display induced higher levels of presence and interest compared to the nonimmersive external computer screen. While higher interest in the screen setting was associated with more positive attitudes towards wolves, such a correlation could not be found in the head-mounted display setting. Thus, our study found that immersive technology could induce interest in a nature experience related to the tested socio-scientific issue, even among people who did not already hold positive attitudes toward the issue. Overall, our findings suggest that 360° videos using immersive technology provide nature experiences with positive affective learning outcomes, even though the study focused on nature experiences in VR and was not an educational experience per se. As we were unable to assess the role of novelty of VR experiences, the application of VR technologies and its effects in larger teaching and learning settings needs to be evaluated in further studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
The Importance of Different Knowledge Types in Health-Related Decisions—The Example of Type 2 Diabetes
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083396 - 22 Apr 2020
Abstract
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs, e.g., type 2 diabetes) are a burden to humanity and hence addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (target 3.4). One way of tackling NCDs is by health education as part of science education. Yet, the role of knowledge for [...] Read more.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs, e.g., type 2 diabetes) are a burden to humanity and hence addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (target 3.4). One way of tackling NCDs is by health education as part of science education. Yet, the role of knowledge for health-promoting actions, and thus, the role of science teaching in health education, is not sufficiently clarified. Therefore, the author proposes to differentiate three knowledge types: System Health Knowledge (SK), Action-related Health Knowledge (AK), and Effectiveness Health Knowledge (EK). Accordingly, we designed a questionnaire that asked students to evaluate different questions about sugar consumption and type 2 diabetes according to their relevance for deciding their future sugar consumption. We found that students considered all questions as rather important (3–4.3, out of 5) with an assigned mean importance for SK with a mean of 3.8, for AK with a mean of 4.0, and for EK with a mean of 3.9. This research indicates that knowledge is important for decision-making and that all three types of knowledge should be recognized in health education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Addressing Sustainable Development: Promoting Active Informed Citizenry through Trans-Contextual Science Education
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3259; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083259 - 17 Apr 2020
Abstract
This article seeks to identify the role of science education in promoting an active, scientifically literate, citizenry ready to address sustainable development goals as envisaged by the United Nations (2015). In so doing, a conceptual model is put forward to address citizenry development, [...] Read more.
This article seeks to identify the role of science education in promoting an active, scientifically literate, citizenry ready to address sustainable development goals as envisaged by the United Nations (2015). In so doing, a conceptual model is put forward to address citizenry development, extending beyond an informed scientific and technological decision making ability and encompassing constructive activities addressing sustainable development at the local, national and global level. The operationalisation of the model builds on an initial student-relevant, societal issue-related contextualisation involving STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) while focusing on developing science conceptual learning. The model extends to not only considering socio-scientific issues, but seeks to promote trans-contextualisation beyond the school setting, seeking to raise awareness of an active informed citizenry, related to environmental, economic and social sustainability. The components of active informed citizenry are described and a trans-contextual science teaching example based on the model is put forward in this article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Environmental Health Competencies through Compulsory Education. A Polyhedral Approach Based on the SDGs
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083215 - 16 Apr 2020
Abstract
This paper focuses on the competencies in environmental health acquired by students during compulsory education. Questionnaires addressing environmental health problems were completed by 923 students of primary and secondary schools from five different Spanish regions. The results for five challenging situations related to [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the competencies in environmental health acquired by students during compulsory education. Questionnaires addressing environmental health problems were completed by 923 students of primary and secondary schools from five different Spanish regions. The results for five challenging situations related to hunger, consumerism, climate change, pollution in the cities and allergies are analysed according to the internal coherence of each sub-competency, i.e., addressing knowledge, skills and attitudes towards these topics. Our results show that problems related to air and water pollution were the most commonly described by the students. Focusing on competency achievement, the higher the educational level, the higher the score students obtained, especially regarding pollution and climate change, two problems that appear directly in the school curriculum. The complexity of the concept of environmental health matches with the necessary holistic perspective of the Sustainable Development Goals in a polyhedral approach including as many factors (facets) as necessary to complete the approach to this evolving concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Education for Sustainable Development in STEM (Technical Drawing): Learning Approach and Method for SDG 11 in Classrooms
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2706; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072706 - 30 Mar 2020
Abstract
Five years after proclamation of the Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations, Spain joined this process of transforming the world socially, economically, and environmentally. This research covers the route taken and results obtained during subsequent years in Spain and proposes, as [...] Read more.
Five years after proclamation of the Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations, Spain joined this process of transforming the world socially, economically, and environmentally. This research covers the route taken and results obtained during subsequent years in Spain and proposes, as a general objective, to observe whether it is feasible to work in the technical drawing classroom on an eco-urban project, following the learning approach and method proposed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2017 Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning objectives, in order to reinforce cognitive, socio-emotional, and behavioral objectives, as well as the key competences established in Sustainable Development Goal 11. The phases of the project were related to the learning objectives and key competences, the results of which were complemented by a questionnaire that provided information on the sustainable consciousness of the students after completing the project, and could serve as a starting point for future educational projects. We agree with other authors, and in particular with UNESCO, that implementation of this type of project in the classroom is a key learning method for SDG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Getting Involved with Vaccination. Swiss Student Teachers’ Reactions to a Public Vaccination Debate
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236644 - 24 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Vaccination is an explicit topic of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The present article explores a new way of involving student teachers into the vaccination debate. To this aim, 273 students at a Swiss university for teacher education were invited [...] Read more.
Vaccination is an explicit topic of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The present article explores a new way of involving student teachers into the vaccination debate. To this aim, 273 students at a Swiss university for teacher education were invited to read a debate between a vaccination proponent and a vaccination opponent that had been published in a free local newspaper. Then, they were asked to judge five of the main arguments of each discussant and to take a (hypothetical) general decision in favor or against vaccination. This decision, the judgements, and students’ comments were investigated with a mixed method approach in order to better understand the students’ needs and to refine the new approach. It was found that the students eagerly took part in the intervention, but that they were very ambivalent concerning the arguments. They could be classified into three groups. Two groups, called the acceptors and the rejectors, supported the proponent and the opponent, respectively, and decided accordingly in favor or against vaccination. However, there remained a considerably large group that was called the hesitators. They were particularly ambivalent towards both types of argumentation, but, as structural equation modelling revealed, they eventually were more influenced by the arguments in favor than by those against vaccination. In their comments, these students wanted to know more about the prevented diseases, and they often referred to their personal experience but not to the experts’ arguments. It was concluded that this group would benefit most from the new type of intervention. A shared-decision approach, as is today prominently discussed in medicine, could improve its impact, and ways should be found to more seriously and consistently include empathetic understanding in pedagogical settings—for example, by adapting the three-step model from medicine or the reflective equilibrium approach from applied ethics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Roles of Environmental System Knowledge in Promoting University Students’ Environmental Attitudes and Pro-Environmental Behaviors
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4270; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164270 - 07 Aug 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the role of environmental system knowledge in promoting pro-environmental behaviors. Relationships between environmental knowledge and environmental attitudes as well as environmental knowledge and pro-environmental behaviors were analyzed. Environmental system knowledge includes knowledge of political ecology, sustainable development, environment [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the role of environmental system knowledge in promoting pro-environmental behaviors. Relationships between environmental knowledge and environmental attitudes as well as environmental knowledge and pro-environmental behaviors were analyzed. Environmental system knowledge includes knowledge of political ecology, sustainable development, environment and ecology, and environmental situations. This study included 128 students enrolling in the elective course entitled “Environment and Development” provided by the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Bangkok city of Thailand and 150 students who were not participating in this course. The results revealed that environmental attitudes of students participating in the course was significantly higher than that of students not attending the course. Only knowledge of the environment and ecology highly correlated with environmental attitudes; on the other hand, diverse environmental knowledge significantly correlated with pro-environmental behaviors. The result also demonstrated that indirect impact environmental behaviors reported by both groups were statistically different, but there was no significant difference in direct impact environmental behaviors. This study suggested that environmental knowledge provided through a formal education could promote environmental attitudes, but it may not contribute to students’ engagement in direct impact environmental behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Socio-Problematization of Green Chemistry: Enriching Systems Thinking and Social Sustainability by Education
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7123; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247123 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The current research on systems thinking criticizes the additive nature of green chemistry (GC) not being supportive of systems thinking to achieve holism in its practices. This paper argues that systems thinking should comprise of the social issues, and, therefore, it studies renowned [...] Read more.
The current research on systems thinking criticizes the additive nature of green chemistry (GC) not being supportive of systems thinking to achieve holism in its practices. This paper argues that systems thinking should comprise of the social issues, and, therefore, it studies renowned papers by GC pioneers and reviews on the field regarding how they address the social dimension of sustainability. It points out how GC has ignored social sustainability in its discourses, practices, and evaluations, leading to a reductionist interpretation of sustainability. Then, this paper presents some challenges to be overcome in order to achieve balanced sustainability. A systemic chemical thinking is advocated, considering chemistry in culture and chemistry as culture, expanding the chemistry rationality from ontological and technological dimensions into the epistemological and ethical ones. It is then discussed how chemistry education can help to promote sustainability in a broad and systemic way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
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