Was heißt hier erneuerbar? Eine didaktische Rekonstruktion der Energiewende

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One of the major public debates today is the transition to renewable energy (Energiewende). It is not clear how the current climate crises could be stopped and, at the same time, energy needs be met. There is a general consensus that a strategy to address this dilemma must include the transition to renewable energy resources. One major challenge is that key concepts such as renewable energy are often not entirely understood by the general public and that common conceptions are not in line with those in the literature on this issue. As a result, it is difficult for many people to participate in this debate.
How can science education address this challenge? To do so, it needs to develop pedagogical approaches that foster an understanding of the basic scientific principles regarding energy sources and, as a consequence, a scientifically sound conception of energy transition. Science education must be structured to achieve these ends, but it is not clear how science teachers or developers of teaching materials need to prepare content for students and, for example, what kind of language could and should be used in classroom settings. This study addresses this gap in the literature by providing guidelines and identifying potential problems in this respect.
The framework for the present study is the model of educational reconstruction. Based on a moderate constructivist perspective on teaching and learning, it addresses three sub-questions: First, what are students’ preconceptions? Second, what are the conceptions of scientists? Third, what are the similarities and differences between these conceptions?
To answer these questions, problem- and guideline-based interviews with 27 eight grade students were conducted, and sections from two scientific reports were analysed. Content analysis was used to identify thematic categories with potential for learning interventions. These categories were then analysed using Schmitt’s (2017) systematic metaphor analysis.
Based on the results, experiential-based patterns behind the conceptions were reconstructed. From the systematic comparison of the results, opportunities and obstacles for learning could be derived. These were summarised in guidelines for science education. These guidelines can be used by teachers and educators in general who seek to foster students’ understanding of the basic scientific principles regarding energy sources and the energy transition. These findings also have important implications for researchers interested in energy transition and science communication, since they may help them to avoid misunderstandings and to clarify the terms of the debate. 

Translated title of the contributionWhat does renewable mean here? An educational reconstruction of the energy transition to renewables
Original languageGerman
Place of PublicationLüneburg
Number of pages272
Publication statusPublished - 12.2020

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