Date: 03 Jan 2007

A Comparison of Thailand and New Zealand Students’ Ideas About Energy Related to Technological and Societal Issues

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Abstract

This study is a cross-cultural comparison between the ideas of 49 Thai Grade 9 students and the 30 New Zealand Grade 9 students (approximately 15 years old), about energy related to technological and societal issues. Students’ ideas were explored using the Questionnaire for exploring Students’ ideas about Energy, Technological, and Societal issues (QSETS). The QSETS questionnaire gave students the opportunity to express their ideas about energy related to societal and technological issues. Both groups of students were presented with the same set of issues, but specific places were related to each student’s own country. The study reveals some interesting student ideas that might be generated from engaging in different contexts. It seemed that the 15-year-old students had difficulty in perceiving the relationship between the study of society and energy. Around 50% of both groups of students did not understand, and did not know enough about, questions which referred to the relationship between society and energy. Thai and New Zealand students held different values in decision-making. Thai students placed value on decisionmaking concerning the development of the country. They strongly believed in scientific application for solving social problems. New Zealand students valued decision-making in relation to environmental issues. They were not quite sure that scientific knowledge could solve problems. They thought that science applications caused damage to the environment. This study has implications for the development of teaching approaches in different countries.