Research in Science Education

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 109–136 | Cite as

Teachers’ Perceptions of Infusion of Values in Science Lessons: a Qualitative Study

  • Jayanthy Kumarassamy
  • Caroline KohEmail author


Much has been written and debated on the importance of including moral, character or values education in school curricula. In line with this, teachers’ views with regard to values education have often been sought. However, a search into the literature on values in science education has revealed little on this domain. In an attempt to close this gap, this study explored the views of teachers with regard to values infusion in the teaching of science. The aim was to investigate teachers’ perceptions on two broad areas: (i) how values were infused or addressed in lower secondary science and (ii) how values-infused science lessons influenced their students’ dispositions and actions. The participants who took part in the interviews were lower secondary science teachers teaching Grade 8 in selected Singapore and New Delhi schools. The findings showed that values inherent in the discipline of science, such as validity, fairness, honesty, rigour, predominated in the lessons conducted by the teachers in both contexts. Furthermore, in Singapore, equal numbers of teachers made references to values upheld and practised by scientists and values arising from the interplay between people and scientific processes and products. In New Delhi however, the emphasis was higher on the latter category of values than on the former. Generally, in both contexts, values infusion in science lessons was not planned but occurred spontaneously as values issues surfaced in class. Teachers in both Singapore and New Delhi used strategies such as questioning, discussion, activities and direct instructions to carry out values infusion, although they experienced challenges that included content and time constraints, lack of student readiness and of teacher competency. Nevertheless, the teachers interviewed perceived that values in science lessons brought about changes in students’ personal attributes, affect and behaviour, such as greater interest and prosocial engagement.


Values infusion Science teaching Teacher perceptions 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This manuscript has not been published elsewhere and has not been submitted simultaneously for publication elsewhere.

Ethics statement

This study was conducted in compliance with appropriate ethical standards in the treatment of the participants.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


  1. Aikenhead, G. S. (2007). Humanistic perspectives in the science curriculum. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research in science education (pp. 881–910). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc..Google Scholar
  2. Allchin, D. (1998). Values in science: an introduction. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education (pp. 1083–1092): Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Allchin, D. (1999). Values in science: an educational perspective. Science and Education, 8, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory. American Psychologist, 44(9), 1175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (2002). Social cognitive theory in cultural context. Applied Psychology, 51, 269–290. doi: 10.1111/1464-0597.00092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beachum, F. D., McCray, C. R., Yawn, C. D., & Obiakor, F. E. (2013). Support and importance of character education: pre-service teacher perceptions. Education, 133(4), 470–480.Google Scholar
  7. Berkowitz, M.W., & Simmons, P. (2003). Integrating science education and characater education. In D. Zeidler, L (Ed.), The role of moral reasoning on socioscientific issues and discourse in science education (pp. 81–94). Singapore: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Boyd, M. P. (2012). Planning and realigning a lesson in response to student contributions. Elementary School Journal, 113(1), 25–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bryan, L. A., & Atwater, M. M. (2002). Teacher beliefs and cultural models: a challenge for science teacher preparation programs. Science Education, 86(6), 821–839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buntting, C., & Ryan, B. (2010). In the classroom: exploring ethical issues with young pupils. In A. Jones, A. McKim & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and techology classroom: a new approach to teaching and learning (pp. 37 to 53). Rotterdam: Sense PublishersGoogle Scholar
  12. Burden, P. R., & Byrd, D. M. (2007). Methods for effective teaching. USA: Pearson Education, Inc..Google Scholar
  13. Campbell, T. (1996). Technology, multimedia, and qualitative research in education. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 30(9), 122–133.Google Scholar
  14. Cauquelin, J., Lim, P., & Mayer-Konig, B. (2000). Asian values—encounter with diversity. Surrey: Curzon Press.Google Scholar
  15. Conner, L. (2010). In the classroom: approaches to bioethics for senior students. In A. Jones, A. McKim, & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and technology classroom: a new approach to teaching and learning (pp. 55–67). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Corrigan, D., Dillon, J., & Gunstone, R. (Eds.). (2007). Re-emergence of values in science education. The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Crabtree, B. F., & Miller, W. L. (1999). Using codes and manuals—a template organising style of interpretation. In B. F. Crabtree & W. L. Miller (Eds.), Doing qualitative research (2nd ed., p. 406). California: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  18. Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Educational research: planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  20. Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD). (2008). Science syllabus, Lower Secondary, Express/Normal (Academic). Retrieved from
  21. Dawson, V. (2010). Outcomes of bioethics education in secondary school science : two Australian case studies. In A. Jones, A. McKim, & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and technology classroom, a new approach to teaching and learning (pp. 69–86). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  22. De Luca, R. (2010). Using narrative for ethical thinking. In A. Jones, A. McKim, & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and technology classroom: a new approach to teaching and learning. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Driver, R., Newton, P., & Osborne, J. (2000). Establishing the norms of scientific argumentation in classrooms. Science Education., 84(3), 287–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fereday, J., & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006). Demonstrating rigor using thematic analysis: a hybrid approach of inductive and deductive coding and theme development. Iternational Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(1), 80–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Forkner, C. B. (2012). The impact of the enlightenment and colonialism on higher education in India. Global Education Journal, 2012(3), 65–71.Google Scholar
  26. Grace, M. (2006). Teaching citizenship through science: socio-scientific issues as an important component of citizenship. Prospero, 12(3), 42–53.Google Scholar
  27. Hays, D. G., & Singh, A. A. (2012). Qualitative inquiry in clinical and educational settings Available from
  28. Held, D., & McGrew, A. (2002). Governing globalisation. London: Polity.Google Scholar
  29. Hildebrand, G. M. (2007). Diversity, values and the science curriculum. In D. Corrigan, J. Dillon, & R. Gunstone (Eds.), The re-emergence of values in science education (1st ed., pp. 45–60). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  30. Hindustan Times. (2013). The PMO is talking the GMO language but people will fight it out. Hindustan Times.Google Scholar
  31. Hodson, D. (2003). Time for action: science education for an alternative future. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 645–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. India Blooms. (2013a). Citizens protest against GMO's, Mosanto, Brai Bill. India Blooms.Google Scholar
  33. India Blooms. (2013b). India's waterman to mobilise masses. India Blooms. Google Scholar
  34. Jacobs, G. M., & Reetz, L. J. (1999). Faculty focus on moral and character edueation. Education, 120(2), 208–212.Google Scholar
  35. Jarman, R., & McLune, B. (2007). Developing scientific literacy: using news media in the classroom. Buckingham: GBR: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Joffee, H. (2012). Thematic analysis. In D. Harper & A. R. Thompson (Eds.), Qualitative research methods in mental health and psychotherapy- A guide for students and practitioners: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  37. Jones, A., McKim, A., & Reiss, M. (2010). The enhancement of ethical thinking. In A. Jones, A. McKim, & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and technology classroom. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  38. Key, J. P. (1997). Module R14: qualitative research. Retrieved 7 September 2014, from James P. Key. Oklahoma State University. Retrieved from,
  39. Kim, M., & Roth, W.-M. (2008). Rethinking the ethics of scientific knowledge: a case study of teaching the environment in science classrooms. Asia Pacific Education Review, 9(4), 516–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Koul, R., & Fisher, D. (2002). Science classroom learning environments in India. Paper presented at the International Educational Research Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE). Brisbane, Australia.Google Scholar
  41. Kwong, M. J., & Bartholomew, K. (2011). ‘Not just a dog’: an attachment perspective on relationships with assistance dogs. Attachment and Human Development, 13(5), 421–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry (Vol. 75). Sage.Google Scholar
  43. Ling, L. L., Chen, S., Chen, X., Kaya, O. N., Adams, A. D., Macklin, M., et al. (2009). Preservice teachers' views about nature of scientific knowledge development: an international collaboratve study. International Journal of Science & Mathematics Education, 7(5), 987–1012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lyons, T. (2006). Different countries, same science classes: Students' experience of school science in their own words. International Journal of Science Education, 28(6), 591–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Macbeth, D. (2003). Hugh Mehan’s learning lessons reconsidered: on the differences between the naturalistic and critical analysis of classroom discourse. American Educational Research Journal, 40(1), 239–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Macer, D., & Ong, C. C. (1999). Bioethics education among Singapore high school science teachers. Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics, 9, 138–145 9, 138-144.Google Scholar
  47. McKim, A. (2010). Bioethics education. In A. Jones, A. McKim, & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and technology classroom: a new approach to teaching and learning (pp. 19–36). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  48. Musa, A., & Khawaldah, A. (2007). The degree of teachers’ compliance with social values in practicing education. Um Alqura for Educational Science, 19(1), 179–222.Google Scholar
  49. National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). (2007). National Curriculum Framework 2005—syllabus for classes at the elementary level. New Delhi: National Council of Educational Research and Training.Google Scholar
  50. Nespor, J. (1987). The role of beliefs in the practice of teaching. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 19(4), 317–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Newton, P., Driver, R., & Osborne, J. (1999). The place of argumentation in pedagogy of school science. International Journal of Science Education, 21(5), 553–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. OFSTED (Office of Standards in Education). (2000). Progress in key stage 3. London: OFSTED.Google Scholar
  53. Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 307–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pandian, C., & Macer, D. (1997). Bioethics in India: Proceedings of the International Bioethics Workshop in Madras. Paper presented at the Biomanagement of Biogeoresources, Madras.Google Scholar
  55. Paul, P., Roy, A., & Mukhopadhyay, K. (2006). The impact of cultural values on marketing ethical norms: a study in India and the United States. Journal of International Marketing, 14(4), 28–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rama, L. (2013). (Spirit of activism in India) Activism (or exile?) on protest street. Retrieved from
  57. Reis, P., & Galvao, C. (2009). Teaching controversial socio-scientific issues in biology and geology classes: a case study. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 13(1), 162–185.Google Scholar
  58. Reiss, M. (2010). Ethical thinking. In A. Jones, A. McKim, & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and technology classroom (pp. 7–17). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  59. Rennie, L. (2007). Values of science in out-of-school context. In D. Corrigan, J. Dillon, & R. Gunstone (Eds.), The re-emergence of values in science education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  60. Richardson, V. (1996). The role of attitudes and beliefs in learning to teach. Handbook of research on teacher education, 2, 102–119.Google Scholar
  61. Robertta, B. H. (1993). Multicultural infusion: A strategy for science teacher preparation. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Retrieved from
  62. Rondinelli, D. A., & Cheema, S. G. (2003). The competent state: governance and administration in an era of globalization. Reinventing Government for the Twenty-First Century: State Capacity in a Globalizing Society (Bloomfield CT: Kumarian Press, 1997), 243–260.Google Scholar
  63. Ryan, A. (2008). Indigenous knowledge in the science curriculum: avoiding neo-colonialism. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 3(3), 663–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sadler, T. D., Amirshokoohi, A., Kazempour, M., & Allspaw, K. M. (2006). Socioscience and ethics in science classrooms: teacher perspectives and strategies. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(4), 353–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sadler, T. D., & Zeidler, D. L. (2009). Scientific literacy, PISA, and socioscientific discourse: assessment for progressive aims of science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(8), 909–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sharma, D., & Mohite, P. (2007). Teachers’ perceptions of values education for children. Critical perspectives on values education in Asia, 30–49.Google Scholar
  67. Sutrop, M. (2015). Can values be taught? The myth of value-free education. TRAMES: A Journal Of The Humanities & Social Sciences, 19(2), 189–202. doi: 10.3176/tr.2015.2.06.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Taylor, P. (1990). The influence of teacher beliefs on constructivist teaching practices. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA, USA.Google Scholar
  69. Temlı, Y., Şen, D., & Akar, H. (2011). A study on primary classroom and social studies teachers' perceptions of moral education and their development and learning. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 11(4), 2061–2067.Google Scholar
  70. Triandis, H. C., Bontempo, R., Villareal, M. J., Asai, M., & Lucca, N. (1988). Individualism and collectivism: cross-cultural perspectives on self-ingroup relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(2), 323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Valenzuela, D., & Shrivastava, P. (2008). Interview as a method for qualitative research. Southern Cross University and the Southern Cross Institute of Action Research.(SCIAR). Retrieved from, Fri.pdf.
  72. Venkateswaran, T. V. (2007). Science and colonialism. Content and character of natural sciences in the vernacular school education in the madras presidency Science and Education, 16(1), 87–114.Google Scholar
  73. Wood, R. W. (1999). Administrators' perceptions of character education. Education, 720(2), 213–219.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations