International

Environmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial Teacher Education

ENSITE (2019-2022) is an Erasmus+ project supporting the development of future science and maths teachers’ environmental citizenship and related teaching competences.

We face severe global environmental challenges such as climate change, plastic waste and loss of biodiversity. To develop sustainable solutions of these challenges, people need skills to deal with these challenges – not only profound scientific know-how but also transversal skills such as critical thinking, creativity, responsible citizenship competences and forward-looking skills.

ENSITE supports this endeavour. Researchers from 11 European countries work closely together to develop an innovative approach which aims at improving higher education by including environmental socio-scientific issues in science initial teacher education.

Find out more!

About ENSITE

Our world is facing tremendous global environmental challenges such as climate change, drinking water shortage and loss of biodiversity. To develop sustainable solutions of these challenges, our educational system has to fulfil the obligation to enable citizens to deal with complex problems. To do so, people need competencies – not only profound scientific know-how but also transversal skills (such as critical thinking, creativity, responsible citizenship competences and forward-looking skills). This is important as sustainable decisions cannot be taken only based merely on scientific facts, they are also influenced by ethical, cultural, ecologic and economic aspects. Dealing with environmental issues will also promote interdisciplinary co-operation in science, technology, engineering and maths.

This is the starting situation which ENSITE picks up. Research proposes the engagement of socio-scientific issues (SSI) as one promising path to developing environmental citizenship competencies. ENSITE aims at improving higher education by including environmental SSI in science initial teacher education (ITE). To this end the project consortium will develop an innovative approach to supporting teachers in developing competences in dealing with environmental SSI as well as in acquiring teaching skills to supporting their future students at school in becoming responsible citizens themselves.

In the longer term, ENSITE is expected to contribute to a widespread shared awareness of social and environmental responsibility.

 

Activities

Eleven university-teams from across Europe develop modules for initial teacher education (ITE). These intellectual outputs (IOs), to be found in the section on initital teacher education,  cover subject knowledge on socio-scientific issues (SSI) and how to deal with them, implication for learning/teaching processes, pedagogical concepts to design lessons, and the role of teachers’ background which affects teaching SSI. We perform several pilot activities validating our IOs at partner higher education institutes (HEI) and paving the way for long-term implementation.

Furthermore, three summer schools will be organised to engage students from all over Europe in a variety of innovative activity and stimulate inter-cultural and social experiences. We also organize national and international multiplier events to promote the project among relevant educational stakeholders, initializing dialogue on the matters at hand and substantiate our findings.

Consortium

The project consortium consists of higher education teams from eleven institutions across Europe comprising experts in science education, environmental issues, pedagogical concepts to acquire transversal and forward-looking skills, students’ mobility, diversity in science courses/classrooms and larger scale dissemination.

The project coordinator is the International Centre for STEM Education (ICSE).

  • Germany: ICSE at University of Education Freiburg (Project Coordinator)
  • Austria: Universität Klagenfurt
  • Bulgaria: Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, Sofia
  • Cyprus: University of Nicosia
  • Czech Republic: Charles University, Prague
  • Greece: Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon, Athens
  • Malta: University of Malta, Valetta
  • Netherlands: Utrecht University
  • Norway: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
  • Slovakia: Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra
  • Turkey: Hacettepe University, Ankara

Key Data

Program: Call 2019 Round 1 KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices; KA203 – Strategic Partnerships for higher education

Duration: 36 months (September 2019 – August 2022

Grant awarded: 446.984,00 EUR

Project number: 2019-1-DE01-KA203-005046

National Agency: DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst)

On this site we will publish 12 teaching modules on environmental socio-scientific issues (SSI) for higher education (HE) to be used in lectures and seminars for future mathematics and science students in initial teacher education.

The modules will address future teachers’ competencies in dealing with environmental issues themselves, thus learning about them first, and then second, their skills in teaching such issues.

Both learning and teaching these skills relate to

  • scientific competencies
  • transversal skills like critical thinking, innovative mind-sets and forward-looking skills and
  • taking into account the social ethical and cultural aspects related to SSI when making decisions.

First modules will be published in 2021.

Module 1: The nature of environmental SSI

Lead Partner: Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg

 

Module 2: Reasoning, argumentation & critical thinking

Lead Partner: Hacettepe University

 

Module 3: Collecting data

Lead Partner: Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science

 

Module 4: Analysing big data

Lead Partner: Utrecht University

 

Module 5: Decision-making

Lead Partner: Charles University

 

Module 6: Negotiating social, political or ethical dimensions in SSI

Lead Partner: Universität Klagenfurt

 

Module 7: Aims of SSI and the Curriculum

Lead Partner: Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon

 

Module 8: Beliefs on teaching SSI

Lead partner: University of Nicosia

 

Module 9: Developing a SSI lesson I – focus on didactic aspects

Lead partner: Norwegian University of Science and Technology

 

Module 10: Designing a SSI lesson – II

Lead partner: Constantine the Philosopher University

 

Module 11: Scaffolding

Lead Partner: Universität Klagenfurt

 

Module 12: SSI and assessment

Lead Partner: University of Malta

 

Each year, we reach out to future science teachers across Europe. These intensive study programmes (ISP) allow future science and maths teachers to deepen their knowledge about environmental socio-scientific issues in a multinational environment. In the course of the summer schools, the students engage in a variety of innovative activities and gain first-hand inter-cultural and social experiences.

Summer School 2020 in Bulgaria

Theme: Environmental issues in science education – Deepening future science and maths teachers’ learning by teaching

Organised by the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science (IMI-BAS)

Venue: Bulgaria, Sofia

Duration: 21 days in August 2020

Target groups:

  • Science and maths ITE students
  • PhD students in STEM fields
  • High school students interested in working on projects related to environmental socio-scientifc concepts

All target groups learn about environmental SSI. Future teachers gain knowledge on pedagogical concepts, widen their teaching scope and have the possibility to actively teach students, whilst PhD students gain experience in both aspects and can elaborate on how the respectively gained knowledge might contribute to their research work.

A social cultural program tailored to enrich the experience of the participants will be provided. Two one-day trips to sites of cultural and/or scientific importance will be included, as well as shorter visits to relevant exhibitions and museums.

The venue will be at the campus of IMI-BAS, one of its frequent conference locations or the campus of a partnering university. The locations are equipped with modern educational and accommodation facilities, quick access to emergency medical help and dedicated security.

The organisers will issue a certificate for each student and each future teacher, describing the scope of the activity and the attained learning outcome. It is intended that participants will get 3 ECTS points.

Summer School 2021 in Slovakia

Theme: Social-Scientific Issues in Mathematics and Science Teachers Education

Organised by the Constantine the Philosopher University (CPU)

Venue: Slovakia, region Nitra

Duration: 10 days in May-June 2021

Target groups:

  • Science and maths ITE students from partners’ and HEIs from the organizing country
  • PhD students in mathematics and science education;

Participants will be actively involved in discussions and will be informed about all other project initiatives and experiences. This will support them in taking up socio-scientific issue ideas to their future teaching and academic work. Participants will have the chance to demonstrate their knowledge and experience obtained during the summer school at the end of the ISP in a scientific colloquium.

A social cultural program tailored to enrich the experience of the participants will be provided. To this end we will include trips to sites of cultural and/or scientific importance as well as visits to relevant exhibitions and museums.

The organisers will issue a certificate for each participating future teacher, describing the scope of the activity and the attained learning outcome. The work and performance of participants, ITE students, will be acknowledged by 3ECTS credits.

Summer School 2022 in Czech Republic

Theme: Socio-scientific issues in maths and science ITE for HE teachers

Czech Republic, Prague: Univerzita Karlova (CUNI)

Duration: 10 days

Main target group:

  • Students of maths and sciences in ITE programmes at higher education institutions.

The program will offer students the opportunity to perceive and analyse different aspects of maths and science education in relation to environmental SSI and their interrelations with cultural, national, religious and other dimensions of society. During their stay prospective teachers will have numerous opportunities for communication both within the international student group and outside when meeting the local population. This will enable them to gain rich experiences concerning socio-scientific issues and their intercultural dimension.

The social cultural programme will include special excursions such as relevant visits to exhibitions (e.g. Czech National Museum, Technical Museum, Centre of Environmental Studies of the Charles University, Non-governmental institution with environmental focus etc.) or school excursions to give prospective teachers an insight into school life in another country.

CUNI will issue a certificate for each student/participant, describing the scope of the summer school programme and the learning outcomes attained. For the successful participation in this summer school, Faculty of Education CUNI will award 3 ECTS credits.

 

We organize national and international multiplier events for educational stakeholders to disseminate the modules for initial teacher education (ITE) that are developed within the project. The multiplier events aim at initializing dialogue on the matters at hand and substantiate the projects’ findings.

National Event, May 14-15, 2020 in Netherlands – Postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak

Theme: Environmental socio-scientific issues in mathematics and science teacher education

Utrecht University, Netherlands

Should wind power plants be set-up everywhere? Should we forbid the use of drinking water for cleaning and gardening? This type of socio-scientific issues is receiving increasing attention in teacher education for STEM subjects. The use of mathematics plays an important role when exploring these issues. In particular the use of statistics to analyse  the ‘big’ data involved, can help taking decisions.

During this mulitplier event (ME) of the project Ensite Environmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial teacher education) we will present and discuss examples of how students in Initial teacher education can learn about statistics and SSI and how they in turn can teach this in secondary schoolThis Multiplier Event is attached to the yearly national conference for HEI teaching staff and interested researchers and educators in the field of science teacher education.

 

Please note: This event is postponed because of the corona virus outbreak. We will inform as soon as new dates are fixed.

 

Target group: Teacher educators of STEM

Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands

Dates:

Thursday May 14, 13:00-17:00 International meeting (ME): Environmental SSI in mathematics and science teacher education

Friday may 15, 10:00-16:00 national (dutch) conference for teacher educators of STEM, with an international track (in English) on Environmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial teacher education

More information: https://elbd.sites.uu.nl/2020/02/17/maatschappelijk-technologische-vraagstukken-in-het-beta-onderwijs-14-mei-2020/

If you want to participate please send an email to: m.wijers@uu.nl

Internationale Event, November 2021 in Cyprus

Theme: International Forum on Teacher Professional Development and Socio-Scientific Issues

University of Nicosia, Cyprus

This stand-alone, international event brings together experts in the area of socio-scientific issues and teacher education to discuss recent trends, synergies and collaboration as well as exploitation capacity.

The specific objective of this multiplier event is to provide a venue for ITE teachers and curriculum developers in Higher Education, and other policy makers to discuss and share good practices and ideas on further improving teacher education related to socio-scientific issues. The multiplier event starts with an invited plenary, followed by workshops and lectures that provide concrete examples of how to include SSIs in ITE for science and mathematics teacher educators.

 

National Event, February 2022 in Malta

Theme: Seminar on using Socio-Scientific Issues in Science Education

University of Malta, Malta 

The specific objective of this Maltese multiplier event is to introduce project materials and ideas on teaching Socio-Scientific Issues (SSIs) and show how these ideas can be implemented in ITE. Participants will be actively involved in discussions and will be informed about all initiatives and experiences. The national event will involve discussions related to the support and needs of future science teachers when implementing lessons on environmental SSIs in their classroom in the Maltese context.

 

National Event, June 2022 in Norway

Theme: Workshop on deigning a lesson on environmental Socio-Scientific Issues

Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Univeriteit (NTNU), Norway

This Multiplier Event is a national workshop, taking place in Norway linked to the Norwegian education conference. Target groups of this event are teachers in STEM at secondary school, representatives from ITE and researchers from the field of teacher education.

The specific objective of this Norwegian multiplier event is to introduce the modules on Reasoning, argumentation & critical thinking as well as on Designing a SSI lesson as other project materials necessary to deliver a valuable and complete insight into our project and its results. Participants will learn ways how our findings affect teaching and how our materials can be used to design a lesson. They will also learn how they can use media reports as a starting point to raise particular topics in class. We will involve discussions about necessary adaptations to the Norwegian context and participants will gain awareness on how different national contexts influence the design and delivery of a lesson on environmental SSI.

 

International Event, August 2022 in Slovakia

Theme: Socio-Scientific Issues in mathematics and science teacher education

Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia

This international one-day conference will include plenary lectures as well as seminars and workshops. Target groups of this events are teachers in higher education, PhD students, policy makers, curricula designers and scientists in general pedagogy and theory of education, mathematics and science subjects.

The specific objective of this Maltese multiplier event is to introduce project materials and ideas on teaching Socio-Scientific Issues (SSIs), discuss their contents, relevance and implications. Participants will get to know the project`s outputs, gain knowledge on environmental issues and how they affect their role as teachers of future generations. The event will support them in including Socio-Scientific Issues into their future teaching, academic and scientific work.

 

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