Research in Science Education

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 599–617

Teachers’ Experience of Working with Socio-scientific Issues: A Large Scale and in Depth Study

  • Margareta Ekborg
  • Christina Ottander
  • Eva Silfver
  • Shirley Simon
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11165-011-9279-5

Cite this article as:
Ekborg, M., Ottander, C., Silfver, E. et al. Res Sci Educ (2013) 43: 599. doi:10.1007/s11165-011-9279-5

Abstract

The research is an investigation of teachers’ experience of working with socio-scientific issues (SSI). A large group of teachers (55) chose one of six cases with the characteristics of SSI and were free to organize the work as they found appropriate. The research focuses on how teachers chose content, organized their work and experienced the students’ interest and learning. The teachers answered a questionnaire after working with the cases and seven of them were interviewed to provide in-depth understanding of issues raised in the questionnaire. The teachers found the SSI to be current topics with interesting content and relevant tasks and they felt confident about the work. They were quite content with the students’ learning of scientific facts, how to apply scientific knowledge and to search for information. However, they found that the students did not easily formulate questions, critically examine arguments or use media to obtain information about the task. The interviewed teachers did not find this work new, but they organized it as ‘a special event’. They understood SSI work as ‘free’ work and group work was frequent, but only a few of the teachers developed explicit strategies for teaching SSI. They had different ideas about learning but they all talked about knowledge as a set of facts to be taken in by the students. They all included elements of SSI but mostly to introduce the regular science content. However the teachers started to reflect upon the potential of using SSI to cover more goals in the curriculum.

Keywords

Authentic cases Classroom organization Lower secondary school Mixed methods Socio-scientific issues Teachers’ experiences 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margareta Ekborg
    • 1
  • Christina Ottander
    • 2
  • Eva Silfver
    • 2
  • Shirley Simon
    • 3
  1. 1.Malmö UniversityMalmöSweden
  2. 2.Department of science and mathematics educationUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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