15 SES 03, Case Study
Climate change is one of the pressing issues of today and offers a fruitful ground for learning about science and environmental issues (Menthe et al., 2013; UN 2015). The Austrian Climate and Energy Fund supports provinces and schools to become energy self-sufficient. One of the initiatives funded is the multi-agency project “Mobility, traffic and renewable energies” in the province of Carinthia, which is integrated in the EU-funded project PARRISE (Promoting Attainment of Responsible Research and Innovation in Science Education). 11 countries are represented in the PARRISE project, which is primarily focusing on teacher education and teacher professional development around citizenship education and responsible research and innovation issues. The project “Mobility, traffic and renewable energies” is a joint project between the Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt and the University of Teacher Education in Carinthia. It covers areas of traffic flows, the health risks involved and means of maintaining a healthy environment through new technologies. Pre-service teachers and school students engage in real-world issues (Sadler, 2009), relating to their living environment and the region they live in. Activities included tracking energy use of schools and linking energy use and conservation, consumption, lifestyle and its impact on sustainability. The joint participatory project had two rounds (academic year 2015-2016 and 2016-2017) and involved in total 2 teacher educators, 3 climate region managers, 24 pre-service teachers, 44 teachers, about 250 school students, and school external partners.
Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts is one of the Sustainable Development goals of the UN (UN 2015). One main PARRISE goal is to support students in understanding global challenges by connecting them to the students’ personal decision making. As a consequence, the learning scenarios are tainted by the necessity for critical citizenship and personal action (Levinson, 2011).
Considering the central social and political aspects, the goal of the project “Mobility, traffic and renewable energies” is to integrate environmental issues into Carinthian schools and communities. It aims to instil long-term awareness to the challenges of climate change in students, teachers, parents, experts, regional and local authorities, and to encourage sustained engagement with climate and energy issues (Rauch & Pfaffenwimmer, 2015).
The second goal is to implement the pedagogic framework of SSIBL developed in the European project PARRISE (2017) in initial science teacher education and to empower pre-service science teachers to cope with it. SSIBL connects the study of socio-scientific issues with inquiry-based learning (IBSE) and citizenship education (Johnson & Morris, 2010) within the umbrella of responsible research and innovation (Levinson, 2016). SSIBL addresses the contemporary problem of Science & Society through the underpinning motif of science for and with people (Owen et al., 2009). PARRISE pre- and in-service teachers in the participating countries engage in designing units that incorporate the SSIBL approach.
In the Carinthian teacher development programme secondary pre-service science teachers co-planed and co-designed SSIBL activities with in-service teachers, resulting in implementation and reflection. A culture based on cooperation’s facilitated socio-scientific inquiry of climate issues: Governmental experts in climate and energy issues, NGOs, scientists and climate region mangers, which support communities and schools in Austria to achieve sustainable development, engaged as well in the SSIBL activities.
The following research questions guided the project: What do pre-service science teachers learn while teaching the SSIBL approach in the context of the Austrian project “Mobility, traffic and renewable energies”? What do the other parties involved (teacher educators, teachers, climate region managers) learn in the context of the Austrian project “Mobility, traffic and renewable energies”? Further, our research addressed the successes and the challenges in the initial science teacher education about SSIBL.
In order to answer the research questions, triangulated data (interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions) from different participants were cross-examined and discussed (Flick, 2014). The respondents' data were categorized using the method of qualitative content analysis. The material obtained from the questionnaire survey was reduced and abstracted, whereby essential contents were preserved and a clear image was created. (Mayring, 2015). The target groups were teacher educators, pre-service science teachers, in-service teachers and climate region managers who participated in the project. Research Instruments used to gather data after the 1st round of the project (academic year 2015-2016): a) 10 qualitative questionnaires for pre-service teachers b) A guided focus group discussion with three teacher educators c) 2 interviews with pre-service teachers d) 2 interviews with in-service teachers e) 2 interviews with climate region managers f) Field data gathered during the project Evaluation instruments used after the 2nd round of the project (academic year 2016-2017) a.) 1 Interview with the teacher educator b.) A guided focus group discussion with 7 pre-service teachers c.) 2 interviews with in-service teachers d.) 1 interview with the climate region manager e.) Field data gathered during the project
According to the research data and the research questions, the SSIBL approach offers an innovative model for all parties involved. Participation and socio-political action in environmental issues are emphasized in the project “Mobility, traffic and renewable energies”. Results shows that pre-service science teachers “developed the self-confidence necessary to implement inquiry based teaching in classroom”. (Teacher educator) Pre-service science teachers “elaborated their knowledge base of renewable energies by research-driven learning through collaboration and critical examination of evidence”. In this context, they learn “networked thinking, to initiate and manage discussions with sensitive issues, to prompt critical thinking of students, to adapt teaching contents- and materials to different school levels.” (Focus group discussion with pre-service teachers) The major area of success of the TPD are the cooperation with schools and the engagement of school external partners in SSIBL activities: • “The TPD ‘Mobility, traffic and renewable energies’ goes beyond the schools and involves communities, parents and local authorities. Pre-service teachers engaged in ‘the Long Night of Research 2016’, they developed a learning circle with hands-on experiments at the Center for Didactics of Natural Sciences of the University of Teacher Education Carinthia. The aim was to gain curiosity and interest for research and natural sciences and especially for the topic renewable energies.” (Teacher educator) • “To work with different types of schools like primary schools, new secondary schools, Secondary School for Economic Professions; students with different ages and with school-external partners was a valuable and new learning experience for us.” (Focus group discussion with pre-service teachers) • “Through the cooperation with different experts from technology, science and economy as well as through a critical examination of their perspectives, school students learned a lot Obstacles identified by the majority of the pre-service teachers were the complexity and time-consuming nature of the project.
Flick, U. (2014). An Introduction into Qualitative Research. Sage: Thousand Oaks. Johnson, L. & Morris, P. (2010). Towards a framework for critical citizenship education. The CurriculmJournal 21 (1), 77‐96. Levinson, R. (2011). Towards a theoretical framework for teaching controversial socio-scientific Issues. International Journal of science education, 28:10, 1201-1224. Levinson, R. (2016). Adapted framework after trials by WP 2-4 in round 1, D1.3 PARRISE, Utrecht University, The Netherlands / University College London- Institute of Education, UK. Mayring, P. (2015). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim und Basel: Beltz. Menthe, J., Höttecke, D., Eilks, I. & Hößle, C. (.Eds.) (2013). Handeln in Zeiten des Klimawandels. Münster, New York, München und Berlin: Waxmann. Owen, R., MacNaghten, P. & Stilgoe, J. (2009). Responsible research and innovation: From science in society to science for society, with society. Science and Public Policy, 39, 751‐760. PARRISE (2017). (http://www.parrise.eu/about-parrise/; 2017-01-28). Rauch, F. & Pfaffenwimmer, G. (2015). Education for Sustainable Development in Austria. Networking for Education. In R. Mathar & R. Jucker (Eds.) In Schooling for Sustainable Development: A Focus on Europe (S. 157-176). Springer: Dortrecht. Sadler, T. (2009). Situated learning in science education: socio scientific issues as context for practice. Studies in Science Education, 45(1), 1‐42. United Nations (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New York: UN.
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