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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
Article
  • 141 Downloads

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Values infusion Science teaching Teacher perceptions 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Declarations

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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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