University of Camerino (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 1635-1642
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Teaching by interdisciplinary approach can involve together scientific and non-scientific disciplines. An example is represented by the tradition of Science, Technology and Society curricula; the “socio-critical and problem-oriented approach” to chemistry teaching[1] is part of this tradition.

Balaban and Klein proposed a diagram of sciences’ organization in which chemistry is “the central science”,[2] while law, economy and ethics are very “far” from chemistry, in spite of the strict interdependence between scientific, legislative and economic aspects.

Sustainable chemistry can be considered the chemistry field more representative of this interdependence, because of its connections with the human activities and the regulatory support. Sustainability issues pose challenges that need to become part of the school chemistry curriculum: chemistry concepts are particularly efficacious when guiding students in realizing that their lives are vulnerable to global environmental pressures.[3]

Global competence is the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.[4] Global competences require an holistic approach that may result in a systemic view of the process involved.

SATL ("Systemic Approach to Teaching and Learning"),[5] which is an evolution of the traditional concept mapping, shows however relationships only between chemistry core concepts. A global systemic view of chemistry should instead involve its internal interactions and also the external connections with the society and natural environment. Some examples of these “open” concept maps[6] move in this direction[6], but such maps don’t consider the dynamism of relationship between science, technology, environmental issues and human needs. Such dynamism can be highlighted by representing the interacting factors (coming from scientific and non-scientific disciplines) as an open system whose processes are realized by inputs/outputs (whose nature can be: matter/energy or information/communication). The expected outcome is a holistic vision starting from chemical contents, in order to gain global competences without giving up the disciplinary contents specificity. Some study-cases will be described to explain in real terms this new systemic approach applied to chemistry teaching.

[1] Marks, R., Eilks, I. (2009). Promoting scientific literacy using a sociocritical and problem-oriented approach to chemistry teaching: concept, examples, experiences. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 4(3), pp. 231-245.
[2] Balaban, A. T., Klein, D. J. (2006). Is chemistry 'The Central Science'? How are different sciences related? Co-citations, reductionism, emergence, and posets. Scientometrics, 69, p. 615.
[3] Duffy, L. K., Godduhn, A., Dunlap, K., van Muelken, M., Middlecamp, C. H. (2011). Sustainability in the Chemistry Curriculum. ACS Symposium Series: Washington, DC. 1087(Chapter 10), pp 97–112.
[4] Boix Mansilla, V., Jackson, A. (2011). Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World. Council of Chief State School Officers’ EdSteps Initiative & Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning, p. 10.
[5] Fahmy, A. F. M., Lagowski, J. J. (2003). Systemic Reform in Chemical Education: An International Perspective. Journal of Chemical Education, 80(9), pp. 1078-1083.
[6] Celestino, T., Piumetti, M. (accepted for 2015). Developing Global Competences by Extended Chemistry Concept Maps. School Science Review.
Interdisciplinary, sustainability, chemistry, global competences, systems approach.