Teaching Practices for Enactment of Socio-scientific Issues Instruction: an Instrumental Case Study of an Experienced Biology Teacher

  • David C. Owens
  • Troy D. Sadler
  • Patricia Friedrichsen


The identification of high-leverage teaching practices that can be improved through targeted practice should contribute to the enhancement of teachers’ facilitation of instruction and improve student learning outcomes. Researchers have begun to identify subject-specific teaching practices that are expected to enhance science teaching specifically. However, it is not clear what teaching practices look like in classrooms engaging students in learning science through socio-scientific issues. In this instrumental case study, we set out to identify those practices that an experienced secondary biology teacher employed during her successful enactment of socio-scientific issues (SSI) instruction about antibiotic resistance. Using both deductive codes from the literature and inductive coding, we analyzed nine 90-min video-taped lessons that comprised the unit. We identified science teaching practices that were particularly important for her enactment, as well as SSI-specific teaching practices not previously identified in the teaching practices literature, which included contextualizing teaching and learning in the issue, challenging students to analyze the issue from multiple perspectives, and urging students to employ skepticism when analyzing potentially biased information regarding the issue. These findings suggest that the manner in which teachers are currently being prepared is likely lacking in terms of helping teachers develop a full suite of teaching practices that contribute to the successful enactment of SSI instruction. Further research directed at how ideal SSI instruction is achieved and identifying those practices that are requisite to doing so is recommended.


Socio-scientific issues Teaching practices Antibiotic resistance Biology education 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Middle Grades and Secondary EducationGeorgia Southern UniversitySavannahUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  3. 3.Department of Learning, Teaching, & CurriculumUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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