GLOBAL COMPETENCES IN CHEMICAL EDUCATION BY SYSTEMS APPROACH
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 is part of this tradition.
Balaban and Klein proposed a diagram of sciences’ organization in which chemistry is “the central science”, 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.
Global competence is the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance. Global competences require an holistic approach that may result in a systemic view of the process involved.
SATL ("Systemic Approach to Teaching and Learning"), 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 move in this direction, 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.
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