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The nature - nurture conflict: a part of biology education?
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences. (Network for Science Education Research & Development)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9132-8615
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences. Uppsala Universitet. (Network for Science Education Research & Development)
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Through historical discourses the boundaries between the concepts “nature” and “nurture” have been blurred, thus hampering the understanding of conflicts in contemporary debates on, for example, medicine and gene technology. In education, such conflicts between nature and nurture are brought to the fore, and without promoting the understanding of the multiple meanings of these concepts and their roles in societal discourse the goals to develop students’ socioscientific decision-making seem unattainable. This study problematizes students’ use of “nature” and “naturalness” to further the development of the experience of science education in relation to the nature-nurture debate. We build on the social constructivism view that present conceptions of nature and naturalness emanate from historical and modern social constructions of nature. Data were collected from interviews with 33 upper secondary school students (16-19 years) from 4 classes. Students’ claims or explanations that actualized the control of human actions pertaining to treatments for hereditary diseases by making use of concepts of “nature” and “naturalness were analysed. Within the Enlightenment view and the Romantic view, the students suggested control of human activity on different levels of biological organisation. The Romantic concept of nature was described by referring to the balance in nature (population level), the purity of nature (organism and cellular levels), and the laws of nature (gene level). Students holding the Enlightenment view of nature presented the imperfection of nature (organism, cellular and gene levels) as a common phenomenon. Here, nurture was considered natural to overcome such imperfections. Apparently, the Enlightenment view allows the embedding of nurture into nature by use of knowledge, in contrast to the preserving and moral stance held within the Romantic view. These conflicting views should be addressed in biological education to promote students’ understanding of contemporary discourses dependent on the different concepts of nature and nurture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-36815OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-36815DiVA, id: diva2:745020
Conference
ESERA2013 is the 10th biannual Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), 2-7 September, 2013, Nicosia, Cyprus
Projects
Understanding the formation of Scientific Literacy through Socioscientific Issues: A study of student discourse and reasoning capabilities
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Note

Ej belagd 20141209

Available from: 2014-09-09 Created: 2014-09-09 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved

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Lindahl, MatsLinder, Cedric

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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