ENSITE, ENvironmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial Teacher Education

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ENSITE (2019-2022) is an Erasmus+ project supporting the development of future science and maths teachers’ environmental citizenship and related teaching competencies. ENSITE is about knowing how to apply science and maths in complex real-life situations that can be controversial and are influenced by ethical, economic, cultural and political aspects. The project relates to real-life challenges, particularly to our environment.

Our world is facing tremendous global environmental challenges such as climate change, drinking water shortage and loss of biodiversity. To develop sustainable solutions to 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 competencies and forward-looking skills). This is important as sustainable decisions cannot be taken only based on scientific facts, they are rather also influenced by ethical, cultural, ecological, and economic aspects. Dealing with environmental issues will also promote interdisciplinary co-operation in science, technology, engineering and maths.

This is the starting situation that 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. To this end, the project consortium has developed an innovative approach to support teachers in developing competencies in dealing with environmental SSI as well as in acquiring teaching skills to support their future students at school in becoming responsible citizens themselves.

In the longer term, ENSITE is expected to contribute to widespread shared awareness of social and environmental responsibility. Eleven university teams from across Europe develop 12 modules for ITE. These intellectual outputs cover subject knowledge on Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI) and how to deal with them, the implications for learning/teaching processes, pedagogical concepts to design lessons, and the role of teachers’ background which affects teaching SSI.

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

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 large-scale dissemination.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Turkey

Coordinator: ICSE- International Centre for STEM Education, https://icse.eu

Programme: Erasmus+

Project Acronym:

Target groups: policy makers, researchers, teachers, university students, university lecturers

Topic: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental sciences, Forestry science, Maths, Physics, Education

Start year: 2019

End year: 2022

Url: https://icse.eu/international-projects/ensite/

Contact person: Laura Wanckel laura.wanckel (at) ph-freiburg.de

During the project lifetime, ENSITE consortium partners develop 12 modules for ITE. These intellectual outputs cover subject knowledge on Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI) and how to deal with them, the implications for learning/teaching processes, pedagogical concepts to design lessons, and the role of teachers’ background which affects teaching SSI.

Within the ENSITE project, we develop 12 teaching modules on environmental Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI) for higher education 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, secondly, their skills in teaching such issues.

Both learning and teaching these skills relate to:

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

Activities:

We organise 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 initiating dialogue on the matters at hand and substantiating the projects’ findings.

Multiplier Events in 2022 in Malta, Norway and Slovakia.

 

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