Research in Science Education

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 51–74 | Cite as

Science Teachers’ Use of Mass Media to Address Socio-Scientific and Sustainability Issues

  • Michelle L. Klosterman
  • Troy D. SadlerEmail author
  • Julie Brown


The currency, relevancy and changing nature of science makes it a natural topic of focus for mass media outlets. Science teachers and students can capitalize on this wealth of scientific information to explore socio-scientific and sustainability issues; however, without a lens on how those media are created and how representations of science are constructed through media, the use of mass media in the science classroom may be risky. Limited research has explored how science teachers naturally use mass media to explore scientific issues in the classroom or how mass media is used to address potential overlaps between socio-scientific-issue based instruction and education for sustainability. This naturalistic study investigated the reported and actual classroom uses of mass media by secondary science teachers’ to explore socio-scientific and sustainability issues as well as the extent to which their instructional approaches did or did not overlap with frameworks for SSI-based instruction, education for sustainability, and media literacy education. The results of this study suggest that secondary science teachers use mass media to explore socio-scientific and sustainability issues, but their use of frameworks aligned with SSI-based, education for sustainability, and media literacy education was limited. This paper provides suggestions for how we, as science educators and researchers, can advance a teaching and learning agenda for encouraging instruction that more fully utilizes the potential of mass media to explore socio-scientific issues in line with perspectives from education for sustainability.


Socio-scientific Media Sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle L. Klosterman
    • 1
  • Troy D. Sadler
    • 2
    Email author
  • Julie Brown
    • 3
  1. 1.Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA
  2. 2.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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