Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 133–147 | Cite as

Teachers’ Concerns About Biotechnology Education

  • Lisa A. Borgerding
  • Troy D. Sadler
  • Mary Jo Koroly


The impacts of biotechnology are found in nearly all sectors of society from health care and food products to environmental issues and energy sources. Despite the significance of biotechnology within the sciences, it has not become a prominent trend in science education. In this study, we seek to more fully identify biology teachers’ concerns about biotechnology instruction and their reported practices. Consistent with the Stages of Concern framework as modified by Hord et al., we investigated teachers’ awareness, informational, personal, management, consequences, collaboration, and refocusing concerns about biotechnology teaching by employing a qualitative design that allowed for the emergence of teachers’ ideas. Twenty high school life science teachers attending a biotechnology institute were interviewed using an interview protocol specifically designed to target various Stages of Concern. Although the Stages of Concern framework guided the development of interview questions in order to target a wide range of concerns, data analysis employed a grounded theory approach wherein patterns emerged from teachers’ own words and were constantly compared with each other to generate larger themes. Our results have potential to provide guidance for professional development providers and curriculum developers committed to supporting initial implementation of biotechnology education. Recommendations include supporting teacher development of biotechnology content knowledge; promoting strategies for obtaining, storing and managing biotechnology equipment and materials; providing opportunities for peer teaching as a means of building teacher confidence; and highlighting career opportunities in biotechnology and the intersections of biotechnology and everyday life.


Biotechnology Inservice teacher professional development Teacher concerns 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa A. Borgerding
    • 1
  • Troy D. Sadler
    • 2
  • Mary Jo Koroly
    • 3
  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA
  2. 2.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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