Student and Teacher Perspectives on Stem Cells, Cloning and Other Controversial Issues in a Secondary Science Classroom Danielle Anticev SEYS 777
Introduction• Biotechnology is constantly advancing• The need to discuss controversial topics in the secondary science classroom is increasing• Controversial issues can be uncomfortable or awkward for students and teachers
Questions• Should controversial topics become a larger part of the science curriculum?• Are some topics too controversial for the middle/high school classroom?• What is the best method to teach controversial topics?• Do teachers and students from different science content areas have different opinions?
Literature Review Common Themes• Mixed Methods- Qualitative & Quantitative (written survey and interview)• Similar Questions• Open Ended Questions• Similar Teaching Methods- Debate• Variety of Teachers (grades, experience, etc)• Controversial Topics• Teachers Only
Literature Review Differences• Varied Sample Sizes (n=6-317)• Varied Degrees of Teaching Experience• Demographic Differences (UK, US)• Questionnaire Differences• Analysis of Results
Appendix A -Sadler et al.Interview Protocol1. (a). What roles do values play in science? (b). How are ethics involved in science?2. (Given positive answers to #1) Describe a specific case or issue in which values and/orethics contribute to science?3. What are some value-laden issues within your discipline?4. (a). Ideally, how should values and ethics be handled in the science classroom? (b) Howdo you deal with values and ethics in your classroom?5. What are some specific incidents during which values and/or ethics were addressed inyour classroom? Describe what happened.6. Some science educators suggest that controversial scientific issues such as cloning andgene therapy should be made an important part of the science curriculum. What do youthink about this suggestion? What are the strengths of this proposal? What are someproblems that might result from this approach? To what extent should science teachershighlight the moral and ethical components of scientific issues in their classrooms?7. (If elaboration has not been offered) How might you convince colleagues that dealingwith ethics and values in the classroom is central to science education?8. How do you handle your own values relative to issues discussed in the classroom? Doyou have a right to express your opinions and beliefs?
Table 4: Teachers’ questionnaire: UK Study• Count % • Over prescription of antibiotics• AIDS/HIV 286 73.3% 129 33.1%• Genetic engineering 214 54.9% • Genetic fingerprinting 125 32.1%• Eating disorders 212 54.4% • Animal to human transplantation• In vitro fertilization 189 48.5% 113 29.0%• Reproductive technologies 183 • Human genome project 99 25.4% 46.9% • Depression 96 24.6%• Animal experiments 175 44.9% • Behavioral genetics 58 14.9%• Nature/nurture 169 43.3% • Other topics dealing with soc. and• Dolly the sheep 162 41.5% eth. issues in• Genetic testing, e.g. for sickle cell • science 148 37.9% • 47 12.1%• Consumption of GM foods 141 • Dementia 44 11.3% 36.2% • Brain tissue transplants• Prenatal screening 131 33.6% N=390
Appendix: Likert Evolution Learning Experience Items1. Evolution should not be taught in high school biology.2. I like learning about evolution in class.3. My biology teacher thinks students should learn aboutevolution in high school biology.4. Most people in my family think evolution is true.5. My biology teacher does not think evolution is true.6. In biology class, we did labs about evolution.7. In biology class, we watched movies about evolution.8. We mostly learned about evolution when my teacherlectured about it.9. Evolution came up in many class discussions in biologyclass.10. I had chances to talk about my personal views on evolutionin biology class.Note: Response categories: strongly agree, agree, disagree,and strongly disagree.
Proposed Study• Survey & Interview Middle/High School Science Teachers and Students about their opinion on controversial topics in the science classroom• Determine whether more time needs to be spent on controversial topics and what the best methods are to teach those topics• Determine if there are differences in opinion across different science content areas and grade levels
References• Donnelly, L. A., Kazempour, M., & Amirshokoohi, A. (2009). High School Students’ Perceptions of Evolution Instruction: Acceptance and Evolution Learning Experiences. Research in Science Education, 39, 643-660. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from the Springer Science & Business Media database.• Philpott, S., Clabough, J., McConkey, L., & Turner, T. N. (2011). Controversial Issues: To Teach or Not to Teach? That is the Question!. The Georgia Social Studies Journal, 1(1), 32-44. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from the ERIC (EBSCO) database.• 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. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from the Wiley InterScience database.• Levinson, R. (Director) (1999, December 2). The Teaching of Social and Ethical Issues in the School Curriculum, Arising From Developments in Biomedical Research: a Research Study of Teachers. The Teaching of Social and Ethical Issues Arising From Biomedical Research. Lecture conducted from The Wellcome Trust- Institute of Education University of London, London, England.• APA formatting by BibMe.org.