Pre-service Secondary Science Teachers’ Beliefs About Teaching Socio-scientific Issues

Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 52)


This case study examined 18 pre-service teachers (PSTs) of secondary science enrolled in a 12-week course entitled Nature of Science and Socio-scientific Issues in Hong Kong. Data sources included written surveys and students’ reflective journals and essays. Participants’ beliefs about the importance of SSI teaching in the science curriculum and their underlying reasons were examined, resulting in the identification of key learning experiences during the course. The results suggested that at the end of the course, most of the PSTs considered SSI as a key component of the science curriculum and generally perceived it as more than just an instrument for motivating or facilitating the learning of science content knowledge. In addition, the data analysis revealed three reasons why the PSTs did not prioritise SSI teaching in the curriculum: (1) the complexity of SSI teaching; (2) the shared curricular objectives of other subjects; and, (3) the subsidiary role of SSI in content knowledge (CK) and nature of science (NOS). The results highlighted that having a unidirectional view about the relationship between SSI, NOS and CK could lead PSTs to consider SSI teaching as subsidiary to teaching CK and NOS.


Nature of science Pre-service teachers Socio-scientific issues Teaching beliefs 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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