Frantic Standstill and Lack of Future: How Can Science Education Take Care of Students’ Distopic Perceptions of Time?
The paper is framed within a broader research programme aimed at investigating how science education can enhance the formation of what we call future-scaffolding skills: the abilities to construct visions of the future that support possible ways of acting in the present with one’s eye on the horizon. To this end, we designed a module (targeted at secondary school students) on climate change, focused on causal modelling in science of complex systems and enriched with future-oriented activities. The study presented here reports on the second implementation of the module, carried out in a weekly summer school for a mixed class of 39 voluntary high school students (17–18 years old) from different secondary schools in Italy. The results confirm trends already observed in a previous pilot study: the present evolves from being perceived as a frantic standstill to becoming viewed as a collection of events that can be organized in a comprehensible picture; the future from being distant and unimaginable becomes instead conceivable as a set of possibilities, addressable through concrete actions and within the students’ reach (in the sense that they found room to see themselves as agents of their own future). Moreover, the analysis contributes to our theoretical reflection on future-scaffolding skills, by highlighting specific structural and dynamical skills that can be developed and recognized in the implementation of our modules.
KeywordsFuture-oriented science education Climate change Secondary school students
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