Learning with and about advertising in science education

University of Bremen, Germany

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ingo Eilks (Co-reviewer Prof. Dr. Avi Hofstein, Rehovot, Israel)

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract

In our everyday lives we are surrounded by a huge volume of advertising. Modern citizens need an ability to critically analyze this type of media offerings. Advertising is addressed in different school subjects, primarily the humanities and social sciences. In these subjects, the main foci of education which examines advertising include the areas of advertising-specific language, images, illustrations, the use of stereotypes, various strategies of persuasion, etc. But advertising also contains scientific information, which is used either explicitly or implicitly. Scientific claims are made in order to bolster the credibility of ad campaigns and to underline the effectiveness of certain products. Understanding the use (and abuse) of such information is an important skill for critical consumers. However, learning through and about advertising has yet to play any significant role in modern science education up to the present. This PhD project aimed at researching and finding innovative learning approaches to advertising education in the science classroom. It consists of three main parts. In the first part, an extensive theoretical framework for the implementation of advertising into the science classroom is provided to establish a theoretical basis and justify the use of advertising. A review articleprovides insights into the state of the literature and extends the focus to other relevant domains such as consumer research or public health. Based on the results of the literature review, four scenarios for using advertising in the science classroom are outlined. Furthermore, connections to the existing framework of the socio-critical and problem-oriented approach to science education as well as the model of filtered information are shown. The second deals with on teachers’ perspectives on the issue of advertising in the science classroom. Since the topic is new, a discovery study based on semi-structured interviews with 12 teachers was carried out to gain first insights into their views on using advertising. While most of the teachers had a positive view on such pedagogies, some were highly skeptical towards advertising in science education. Two main groups of teachers were identified. The first group, consisting of eight teachers from highly heterogenic urban schools, showed a very open mind and attitude towards implementing learning with and about advertising in the science classroom. The second group of teachers can be described as highly skeptical towards integrating learning with and about advertising in science education. The four taught only science subjects and came from rural grammar schools. These teachers mainly supported the view that integrating such goals and corresponding pedagogies would deviate science lessons too much from content matter learning.

Moving from theory to practice, the third part contains teaching ideas and materials on using advertising in the science (mainly chemistry) classroom in various settings. A case study was carried out where a teaching module on advertising for natural cosmetics was implemented in five secondary school learning groups and evaluated with regard to several aspects such as the influence of such pedagogies on consumer behavior. The module is based on the four scenarios for the implementation of advertising in the science classroom that are described in the theoretical framework. Other suggestions include different classroom activities on topics such as energy drinks, cosmetics or sportswear. Overall, this dissertation suggests that teaching using advertising as both a tool and as a topic in the science classroom of the future has the potential to enrich the research and practice of science education.

The major findings from the thesis are published in the following (selected) journal articles

English

Belova, N., Chang-Rundgren, S.-N., & Eilks, I. (2015). Advertising and science education: A multi-perspective review of the literature. Studies in Science Education, advance article.

Belova, N., & Eilks, I. (2014a) Promoting societal-oriented communication and decision making skills by learning about advertising in science education. Centre for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 4(1), 32-49.

Marks, R., Stuckey, M., Belova, N., & Eilks, I. (2014). The societal dimension in German science education - From tradition towards selected cases and recent developments. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technological Education, 10(4), 285-296.

Belova, N., & Eilks, I. (2015a). German teachers’ views on promoting scientific media literacy by using advertising in the science classroom. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, advance article.

Belova, N., & Eilks, I. (2015b). Learning with and about advertising in chemistry education with a lesson plan on natural cosmetics – A case study. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 16, 578-588.

German

Belova, N., & Eilks, I. (2014b). Werbung im naturwissenschaftlichen Unterricht: Informationsquelle, Kontextualisierung oder Beitrag zur Medienbildung?  Der Mathematische und Naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht, 67(2), 77-83.

Belova, N., & Eilks, I. (2014c). Lernen über Werbung: Und wer hinterfragt den Inhalt?. GW Unterricht, 33(133), 18-25.

Eilks, I., Belova, N., von Döhlen, M., Burmeister, M., & Stuckey, M. (2012). Kommunizieren und Bewerten lernen für den Alltag am Beispiel der Energydrinks. Der Mathematische und Naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht, 65(8), 480-486.

Belova, N., Marks, R., & Eilks, I. (2014). Aufgaben für das ganze Kompetenzspektrum: Beispiel Parabene. Praxis der Naturwissenschaften - Chemie in der Schule, 63(1), 21-24.

Belova, N., Hasebrock, R., Holfeld, M., & Eilks, I. (2014). Die Chemie im Sportschuh untersuchen und bewerten. Praxis der Naturwissenschaften - Chemie in der Schule, 63(5), 12-17.

Thesis (cumulative thesis based on articles in English and German language)

Belova, N. (2015). Learning with and about advertising in science education.

Contact

Dr. Nadja Belova

University of Bremen

Leobener Str. NW2, 28334 

Bremen, Germany

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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