, Volume 17, Issue 8-9, pp 855-871
Date: 06 Feb 2007

Promoting the role of the personal narrative in teaching controversial socio-scientific issues

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Abstract

Citizens participating in contemporary socio-scientific issues (SSI) need to draw on local knowledge and personal experience. If curricular developments in the teaching of controversial SSI are to reflect contemporary notions of citizenship then the personal narrative is an indispensable instrument in bridging the gap between the local/personal and the emergent science. In the context of controversy personal narratives help contending parties to see events in the light of those who do not share their views. A goal-oriented protagonist is the narrator in the personal narrative, which consists of three components - situation-event-reaction—the reaction being an evaluation of the event. Promoting personal narratives in science-based curricula is considered problematic given the dominant role of science’s explanatory frameworks. An inter-disciplinary approach is proposed based on McLaughlin’s levels of disagreement.