New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Training of Science Teachers: the Perspective of Education for Sustainability

Antonella Bachiorri, CIREA - Centro Italiano di Ricerca ed Educazione Ambientale (Italy)

Alessandra Puglisi, CIREA - Centro Italiano di Ricerca ed Educazione Ambientale (Italy)


In recent years, the debate on sustainability has become even more important within school curricula especially within scientific subjects. It is widely acknowledged, that teaching sustainability needs to focus not only on the cognitive aspects related to sustainability but also on the personal dimension, involving values, attitudes and behaviours of each individual, in the perspective of education for sustainability (EfS). The teacher’s role becomes truly strategic if we look at the principles and concepts that frame the sustainability debate (i.e. system, complexity, limit, uncertainty, diversity). In fact, they need to be translated into curricula and pedagogical practices that will promote the engagement of students in exploring their own values and visions of the world, supporting a deep and meaningful understanding. Teachers consequently, need to be able to approach their discipline from these standpoints, requiring a new pedagogy of transformative education/learning in way to rethink their model of teaching. Our experience in pre-service and in-service science teachers’ training courses, within the context of an University centre (CIREA - Centro Italiano di Ricerca ed Educazione Ambientale), suggested that teachers need to reflect critically, both individually and as a group, on their roles and actions coherent to the aims of EfS. This means that training must become a way to analyse also teaching methodologies and strategies: it requires a new form of inquiry teaching in alternative to the traditional strongly disciplinary approach. In this perspective is important the support to educational models that go beyond teaching based only on “what” (transfer of information) to models that emphasize “how”, thanks to more interactive and collaborative learning processes. EfS science teachers training, in addition, needs to include concepts related to social equity, quality of life, etc., that strongly support an interdisciplinary approach by drawing together both the environmental, social and economical dimensions of sustainability, with cultural and methodological contributions of different school subjects. Starting from these remarks and from our experience that will be discussed in detail, the support to science teachers in understanding and rethinking the conceptual and practical constraints of their work need to be considered essential in science teachers training for sustainability.

Keywords: Education for sustainability, teacher, training;


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