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International Journal of Environmental and Science Education

Yıl 2009 , Cilt 4 , Sayı 3

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Promoting scientific literacy using a sociocritical and problem-oriented approach to chemistry teaching: concept, examples, experiences

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University of Bremen1
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This paper revisits the discussion about the objectives of scientific literacy-oriented chemistry teaching, its connection to the German concept of Allgemeinbildung, and the debate of science through education vs. education through science. About 10 years ago the sociocritical and problem-oriented approach to chemistry teaching was suggested using these starting points. In this paper its central assumptions and criteria for structuring lesson plans are presented as they have been refined along a series of lesson plans developed by participatory action research in recent years. The summarized teaching approach intends to more thoroughly promote reflection on scientific questions in the framework of their socioeconomical and ecological consequences. This is done by inserting authentic and controversial debates on socioscientific issues into chemistry teaching, which provoke and allow for open discussions and individual decision making processes. After discussing the framework, we present one example which deals with musk fragrances used in cosmetic products, and we give an overview of different respective issues. From experience gained in applying the different examples, the potential of this teaching approach is then reflected upon as a source for promoting the process-oriented skills of evaluation and communication as essential parts of a welldeveloped scientific literacy.

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