ERG SES G 03, Science Education
Newtonian-Cartesian worldview assumed that the world has a mechanical system (Capra 1982). Cartesian science separates feeling from knowledge, mind or body from its ecological and emotional context (Orr, 2004, p.31). This positivist view of science deals with the truths about the universe and science education (SE) aims to transmit these truths (Littledyke & Manolas, 2010). Orr (1992) claims that this objectivist, reductionist approaches to science and technology that is related to perceiving the world as a linear system will damage or destroy the ecosystem (Orr, 1992). Also, this reductionist philosophy prevents holistic approach in science education (Mayer, 1995). Most of the science textbooks do not help students develop a systematic and integrated understanding of complex phenomena (Zvi-Assaraf & Orion, 2010). Students learn scientific facts rather than big ideas that can develop their integrated understanding and understanding the mediating behaviors (Liu & Himelo-Silver, 2009). Eagan and Orr (1992) as cited in Littledyke and Manolas (2010) note that modern science with a fragmented approach, subject dominated curriculum foster values that are separated from nature. However, today we encounter a paradigm shift from reductionism towards holism (Sterling, 2003). Many scientist, philosophers support this paradigm shift with their claims. For example, Lovelock (1991) stated that earth is a single living system and people can understand global picture with only multi-dimensional perspective. Also, the authors like Bateson (1972), Capra (1982), Orr (1992) and Sterling (2003) pointed out a new way of thinking which is more integrative, holistic, systemic, connective and ecological. They took attention to this new way of thinking that is systems thinking. Systems thinking is a shift of mind because we see ourselves as a part of the world rather than separated from the world and understand the problems as a result of our actions (Senge, 2002). Furthermore, systems thinking is described as a key competency for sustainability (Wiek, Withycombe & Redman, 2011) because sustainability needs a multi-level of understanding. Similar with systems thinking, integral ecology approach adapted from Ken Wilber’s integral theory includes a comprehensive way of understanding and holds a world-centric capacity including multiple perspectives towards environmental degradation. Integral ecology relates human psychology and natural world and supports more effective responses to environmental problems and avoids reductionist, fragmented way of understanding (Hargens, 2005). Integral ecology uses Wilber’s four quadrants which are experience, behavior, culture and systems. These dimensions express that everything has an inside and outside and everything is both singular and plural (Hargens, 2005). Integral ecology approach also suggests holistic way of understanding therefore, systems thinking and integral ecology incorporates the same paradigm. However, science education does not promote this integrated way of understanding and systems thinking. Therefore, science education needs a paradigm shift from a narrow minded perception of science towards a broader, holistic perception of science (Orion, 2007). As Carter (2008) noted that in the 21st century, the main purpose of science education should be to help students make critical judgments about science and increase their engagement to work for a more socially just, equitable and sustainable world. For this reason, science education reconstructed with education for sustainable development (ESD) or ESD-type SE can be an effective way to support systems thinking, an integrated way of understanding of the issues. In line with the brief literature review, this study aimed to explore how pre-service science teachers (PSTs) perceive a natural system. In order to construct ESD-type SE including more integrated, systemic way of understanding, it is necessary to explore PSTs’ perceptions of a natural system and detect their initial systems thinking skills.
Capra, F. (1982). The turning point: science, society, and the rising culture. Newyork, Simon and Schuster. Carter, L. (2008). Globalization and science education: Implications of science in the new economy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 45(5), 617-633. Eagan, D.J. and Orr, D.W. (Eds.) (1992). The Campus and Environmental Responsibility, San Francisco: Jossey- Bass. Hargens, S. E. (2005). Integral ecology: The what, who and how of environmental phenomena. World Futures, 61(5), 5-49. Littledyke, M., & Manolas, E. (2010). Ideology, epistemology and pedagogy: Barriers and drivers to education for sustainability in science education. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 9 (4), 285-301. Mayer. V. J. (1995). Using the earth system for integrating the science curriculum. Science Education, 79, 375-391. Merriam, S. B. 2009. Qualitative research. A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Orion, N. (2007). A holistic approach for science education for all. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 3(2), 111-118. Orr, D. W. (1992). Ecological literacy: Education and the transition to a postmodern world. Albany: State University of New York Press. Orr, D. W. (2004). Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Washington, DC: Earth Island Press. Senge , P. M. (2002). Beşinci disiplin: Öğrenen organizasyon düşünüşü ve uygulaması (The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization). İstanbul, YKY. Sterling, S. (2003). Whole systems thinking as a basis for paradigm change in education: Explorations in the context of sustainability (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).University of Bath, England.
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