Advertisement

Socioscientific issues: Theory and practice

  • Dana L. Zeidler
  • Bryan H. Nichols
Article

Abstract

Drawing upon recent research, this article reviews the theory underlying the use of socioscientific issues (SSI) in science education. We begin with a definition and rationale for SSI and note the importance of SSI for advancing functional scientific literacy. We then examine the various roles of context, teachers, and students in SSI lessons as well as the importance of classroom discourse, including sociomoral discourse, argumentation, discussion, and debate. Finally, we discuss how SSI units, which encourage evidence-based decisionmaking and compromise, can improve critical thinking, contribute to character education, and provide an interesting context for teaching required science content.

Keywords

Science Teacher Moral Reasoning Science Classroom Epistemological Belief Science Education Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Aikenhead, G. S. (2006).Science education for everyday life: Evidence-based practice. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, P., & Linn, M. C. (2000). Scientific argumentations as learning artifacts: Designing for learning from the Web with KIE.International Journal of Science Education, 22, 797–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benninga, J. S., Berkowitz, M. W., Kuehn, P., & Smith, K. (2003). The relationship of character education implementation and academic achievement in elementary schoolsJournal of Research in Character Education 1(1), 19–32.Google Scholar
  4. Berkowitz, M. W. (1997). The complete moral person: Anatomy and formation. In J. M. DuBois (Ed.),Moral issues in psychology: Personalist contributions to selected problems (pp. 11–42). Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  5. Berkowitz, M. W., Battistich, V. A., & Bier, M. C. (2008). What works in character education: What is known and what needs to be known. In L. Nucci & D. Narvaez (Eds.),Handbook on moral and character education (Chapter 22). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  6. Berkowitz, M. W., & Grych, J. H. (2000). Early character development and education.Early Education and Development, 11(1), 55–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berkowitz, M. W., Oser, F., & Althof, W. (1987). The development of sociomoral discourse. In W. M. Kurtines & J. L. Gewirtz (Eds.),Moral development through social interaction (pp. 322–352). New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Facione, P. A. (2007).Critical thinking: What it is and why it counts (2007 update). Millbrae, CA: Insight-Assessment/California Academic Press LLC. Retrieved April 28, 2009, from www.insightassessment.com/pdf_files/what&why2006.pdf.Google Scholar
  9. Fowler, S. R., Zeidler, D. L., & Sadler, T. D. (2009). Moral sensitivity in the context of socioscientific issues in high school science students.International Journal of Science Teacher Education, 31(2), 279–296.Google Scholar
  10. Kolstø, S. D. (2006). Patterns in students’ argumentation confronted with a risk-focused socio-scientific issue.International Journal of Science Education, 28(14), 1689–1716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Levinson, R. (2006). Towards a theoretical framework for teaching controversial socio-scientific issues.International Journal of Science Education, 28(10), 1201–1224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pouliot, C. (2008). Students’ inventory of social actors concerned by the controversy surrounding cellular telephones: A case study.Science Education, 92, 543–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ratcliffe, M., & Grace, M. (2003).Science education and citizenship: Teaching socio-scientific issues. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Ratcliffe, M., Harris, R., & McWhirter, J. (2004). Teaching ethical aspects of science: Is cross-curricular collaboration the answer?School Science Review, 86(315), 39–44.Google Scholar
  15. Sadler, T. D. (2004a). Informal reasoning regarding socioscientific issues: A critical review of research.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(5), 513–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Sadler, T. D. (2004b). Moral and ethical dimensions of socioscientific decision-making as integral components of scientific literacy.The Science Educator, 13, 39–48.Google Scholar
  17. Sadler, T. D., & Zeidler, D. L. (2005). The significance of content knowledge for informal reasoning regarding socioscientific issues: Applying genetics knowledge to genetic engineering issues.Science Education, 89(1), 71–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Walker, K. A., & Zeidler, D. L. (2007). Promoting discourse about socioscientific issues through scaffolded inquiry.International Journal of Science Education, 29(11), 1387–1410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wellington, J. (2004). Ethics and citizenship in science education: Now is the time to jump off the fence.School Science Review, 86, 33–38.Google Scholar
  20. Zeidler, D. L. (2003).The role of moral reasoning on socioscientific issues and discourse in science education. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press.Google Scholar
  21. Zeidler, D. L. (2007).An inclusive view of scientific literacy: Core issues and future directions. Paper presented at “Promoting Scientific Literacy: Science Education Research and Practice in Transaction,” LSL Symposium, Uppsala, Sweden.Google Scholar
  22. Zeidler, D. L., & Keefer, M. (2003). The role of moral reasoning and the status of socioscientific issues in science eudcation: Philosophical, psychologicla and pedagogical considerations. In D. L. Zeidler (Ed.),The role of moral reasoning and discourse on socioscientific issues in science education (pp. 7–38). The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press.Google Scholar
  23. Zeidler, D. L., & Sadler, T. D. (2008a). The, role of moral reasoning in argumentation: Conscience, character and care. In S. Erduran & M. Pilar Jimenez-Aleixandre (Eds.),Argumentation in science education: Perspectives from classroom-based research (pp. 201–216). The Netherlands: Springer Press.Google Scholar
  24. Zeidler, D. L., & Sadler, T. D. (2008b). Social and ethical issues in science education: A prelude to action.Science & Education, 17(8, 9), 799–803. (Guest Editors for Special Issue on Socio-Ethical Issues in Science Education).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Zeidler, D. L., Sadler, T. D., Applebaum, S., & Callahan, B. E. (2009). Advancing reflective judgment through socioscientific issues.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 74–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zeidler, D. L., Sadler, T. D., Simmons, M. L., & Howes, E. V. (2005). Beyond STS: A research-based framework for socioscientific issues education.Science Education, 89(3), 357–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Zeidler, D. L., Walker, K. A., Ackett, W. A., & Simmons, M. L. (2002). Tangled up in views: Beliefs in the nature of science and responses to socioscientific dilemmas.Science Education, 86(3), 343–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Secondary Education, College of Education EDU162University of South FloridaTampa

Personalised recommendations