Promoting Participation in Society through Science Education
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CitationVaris, Katri. Jäppinen, Ilpo. Kärkkäinen, Sirpa. Keinonen, Tuula. Väyrynen, Esko. (2018). Promoting Participation in Society through Science Education. Sustainability, 10 (10) , 3412. 10.3390/su10103412.
Participation in society can be promoted through science education. This study considers an example of how a lower secondary school teacher integrated participation in society into physics studies and how students (n = 20) perceived the participation exercise. In the learning process, students exchanged knowledge and tools with others and produced knowledge for the community in the form of a citizen’s initiative leading to an action by the municipality: the painting of a pedestrian crossing. The students were keen to exercise participation and produce information through inquiries for their citizen initiative. After the intervention, most of the students expressed their willingness to participate in society and act as active citizens, they perceived that they have the means and opportunities, as well as the possibility to find support to participate and influence. Students were willing to participate particularly in their local communities. Students perceived that they learned and gained competences while participating. Students acknowledged knowledge as a base of the decision, which may promote perceived value of physics and associated careers. Students also highlighted collaboration and shared experiences, which may create engagement and participation concerning the scientific issues to which they relate. Similar participation exercises are possible in other contexts and countries. Further studies should focus on different participation exercises to gain more knowledge about young people’s experiences on participation.