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Exploring the complexities of integrating socioscientific issues in science teaching
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4452-0617
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Socioscientific issues, SSI, can briefly be described as societal issues in which science plays a role. Dealing with SSI in science education is a means to prepare and empower students for active and responsible participation in a complex, democratic society. The implementation of SSI-based teaching calls for classroom practices in which scientific evidence alongside for example social and ethical perspectives are considered. Discourse-based teaching activities are emphasized as a means to provide opportunities for students to practice negotiations of SSI and explore diverse viewpoints on the issues. Dealing with SSI in science teaching is recognized as a challenging task for science teachers. This thesis aims to provide knowledge to support the implementation of SSI-based science teaching. Three studies involving two upper secondary school science teachers are performed to achieve this aim. The first study makes use of video-stimulated discussions to investigate the two teachers’reflections on their classroom practices while they implement SSI throughout an academic year. The second study utilizes the concept positioning as a tool to identify and describe the ways in which one teacher’s interactions with students during group work make available different parts for the students to play as participants, when dealing with SSI in the classroom. The third study makes use of the concept communicative approach to investigate how the two teachers’ management of classroom discussions sets conditions for the consideration of multiple perspectives relevant to SSI, including the students’ viewpoints. The results provide knowledge useful when making considerations about the design and enactment of teaching activities in relation to specific educational goals. The results suggest that a specific challenge with designing and enacting SSI-based teaching activities is to balance between controlling and directing the teaching activities to promote specific learning goals and providing space for students’ participation and perspectives. The results of employing the analytical tools elucidate how this challenge can play out in classroom practice and contribute with knowledge of the ways in which teachers’ discursive practices play a role in addressing this challenge. Strategies to support teachers’ implementation of SSI-based teaching that take account of teachers’ existing practices are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2017. , p. 106
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 304/2017
Keywords [en]
Scientific literacy, Socioscientific issues, Secondary school science, Teacher reflection, Classroom discourse
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-69369ISBN: 978-91-88761-06-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88761-07-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-69369DiVA, id: diva2:1167677
Public defence
2017-01-19, N2007K, Kalmar, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Challenges faced by teachers implementing socio-scientific issues as core elements in their classroom practices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges faced by teachers implementing socio-scientific issues as core elements in their classroom practices
2015 (English)In: European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, ISSN 2301-251X, E-ISSN 2301-251X, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 159-176Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Teachers may face considerable challenges when implementing socio‐scientific issues (SSI) in their classroom practices, such as incorporating student‐centred teaching practices and exploring knowledge and values in the context of socio-scientific issues. This year‐long study explores teachers’ reflections on the process of developing their classroom practices when implementing SSI. Video‐recorded discussions between two upper secondary school science teachers and an educational researcher, grounded in the teachers’ reflections on their classroom practices, provided data for the analysis. The results show that during the course of the implementation the teachers enhanced their awareness of the importance of promoting students’ participation and supporting their independence as learners. However, the results also suggest a conflict between the enactment of a student‐centred classroom practice and the achievement of intended learning goals. In order to accept the challenge of implementing SSI in the classroom, it is suggested that it is essential for teachers to build strategies, which integrate dialogue about learning goals.

Keywords
secondary school science, scientific literacy, socio‐scientific issues, curriculum implementation, student participation, teacher reflection
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-42913 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, VR-UVK 721-2011-5534
Available from: 2015-04-30 Created: 2015-04-29 Last updated: 2017-12-19Bibliographically approved
2. Students' Positioning in the Classroom: a Study of Teacher-Student Interactions in a Socioscientific Issue Context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Students' Positioning in the Classroom: a Study of Teacher-Student Interactions in a Socioscientific Issue Context
2017 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The integration of socioscientific issues (SSI) in science education calls for emphasizing dialogic classroom practices that include students’ views together with multiple sources of knowledge and diverse perspectives on the issues. Such classroom practices aim to empower students to participate in decision-making on SSI. This can be accomplished by enhancing their independence as learners and positioning them as legitimate participants in societal discussions. However, this is a complex task for science teachers. In this study, we introduce positioning theory as a lens to analyse classroom discourse on SSI in order to enhance our knowledge of the manners by which teachers’ interactions with students make available or promote different positions for the students, that is, different parts for the students to play as participants, when dealing with SSI in the classroom. Transcripts of interactions between one teacher and six student groups, recorded during two lessons, were analysed with respect to the positioning of the students as participants in the classroom, and in relation to the SSI under consideration. The results show that the teacher-student interactions made available contrasting student positions. The students were positioned by the teacher or positioned themselves as independent learners or as dependent on the teacher. Furthermore, the students were positioned as affected by the issue but as spectators to public negotiations of the issue. Knowledge about the manner in which teacher-student interactions can function to position students seems important for dialogic classroom practices and the promotion of student positions that sustain the pursuit of intended educational outcomes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017
Keywords
classroom discourse, teacher-student interactions, positioning theory, socioscientific issues, climate change
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-67208 (URN)10.1007/s11165-017-9627-1 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, VR-UVK 721-2011-5534
Available from: 2017-08-10 Created: 2017-08-10 Last updated: 2018-12-07

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Doctoral Thesis (Comprehensive Summary)(3388 kB)169 downloads
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