Vision III of Scientific Literacy : Science Education for Sustainability

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Vision III of Scientific Literacy : Science Education for Sustainability

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Title Vision III of Scientific Literacy : Science Education for Sustainability
Author(s) Sjöström, Jesper
Date 2015
English abstract
Scientific literacy is a well-established concept in the science education literature and includes knowledge about (a) scientific concepts and models, (b) the nature of science, and (c) the role of science in society. Traditionally, focus has been on (a), but in recent decades more focus has been put on (b) and (c). All three are included in the science curriculum in Sweden, as well as in many other countries. Such a change of focus for the teaching of science has been discussed in different ways in the research field of science education. Aikenhead (2006) talks about “humanized science education”, which focus as much on knowledge “about science” (b and c above) as on knowledge “in science” (a above). Roberts (2011) argues that there are two main approaches of scientific literacy: Vision I focuses on (a) and (b), and Vision II on the use of scientific knowledge in society. The tension between Vision I and II relates to the tension between "pipeline science – preparing future scientists" on the one hand and "science for all" (Aikenhead 2006) on the other. A teaching focused on scientific literacy may have different complexity from being merely technically oriented, via being socio-economically oriented, to being value-oriented (Pedretti & Nazir 2011; Sjöström & Talanquer 2014). A more complex form of Vision II may be referred to as Vision III. It is value-oriented and based on complex sustainability issues and critical perspectives, also in line with “critical scientific literacy” (Hodson 2011) and “sustainability literacy” (Colucci-Gray et al. 2006). Bildung-oriented science education (Sjöström 2013) is based on Vision III. Bildung is an educational ideal for citizens and has been described as “the central critical concept of modern pedagogy”. Bildung-oriented science education covers ethical and political dimensions and focuses on meta-perspectives and socio-political actions grounded in a problematizing stance towards the modern society, an understanding of the complexity of life and society and their interactions, and a responsibility for both individual and collective actions towards socio-ecojustice and global sustainability. The modern society can be described as a globalized risk society (Beck 1992) characterised by increasing complexity, unpredictable consequences of techno-scientific innovations and production, and environmental and health consequences. One example is the “chemicalisation” of our society and bodies. Therefore the society needs educated citizens who are able to make science- and value-based decisions on sustainability issues. During the presentation the concepts of Vision III and Bildung will be discussed in relation to educational policy development, scientific literacy and sustainability education. This includes both the philosophical ground and practical implications for science teaching.
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Publisher WEEC
Host/Issue Abstract list of WEEC 2015;
Pages 415
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Environmental and sustainability education (ESE)
Sustainability literacy
Critical scientific literacy
Vision III
Risk society
Socio-political actions
Philosophy of science education
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::NATURAL SCIENCES
Note 8th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) : Planet and People, how can they develop together? Gothenburg, Sweden, June 29-July 2, 2015
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