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Issue 1, 2017
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The potential of the non-formal educational sector for supporting chemistry learning and sustainability education for all students – a joint perspective from two cases in Finland and Germany

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Abstract

Non-formal education has been suggested as becoming more and more important in the last decades. As the aims of non-formal education are broad and diverse, a large variety of non-formal learning activities is available. One of the emerging fields in many countries, among them Finland and Germany, has been the establishment of non-formal laboratory learning environments. These laboratories were established in universities and research institutes to aim at enriching opportunities for primary and secondary school students to do more and more intense practical work, e.g. in chemistry. The primary rationale of these laboratories, in the beginning, was mainly to raise students’ interest in the fields of science and engineering, possibly inspiring them to pursue a career in these fields. However, recently the movement has started offering more programs aiming at all learners, but especially those students who are sometimes neglected in traditional science education in the formal sector. A focus on all learners is suggested to help raise students’ level of scientific literacy when connecting practical science learning with the societal and environmental perspectives of science. Chemistry learning connected to sustainability issues offers many contemporary topics that are often not yet part of the chemistry formal curriculum but can easily form contexts for non-formal learning. Because of its flexible character, non-formal education can help implementing aspects of sustainability into chemistry education and also can take a gander at the growing heterogeneity of today's students. This paper derives a joint perspective from two non-formal chemistry education initiatives from Finland and Germany focusing education for sustainability for both talented and educationally disadvantaged students in the foreground of a more general perspective on non-formal and sustainability education in chemistry.

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Oct 2016, accepted on 16 Nov 2016 and first published on 16 Nov 2016


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C6RP00212A
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2017,18, 13-25
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    The potential of the non-formal educational sector for supporting chemistry learning and sustainability education for all students – a joint perspective from two cases in Finland and Germany

    F. Affeldt, S. Tolppanen, M. Aksela and I. Eilks, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2017, 18, 13
    DOI: 10.1039/C6RP00212A

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