1 j. curriculum studies, 2002, vol. 34, no. 6, 637±658 School science education for citizenship: strategies for teaching about the epistemology of science JIM RYDER One consequence of the advancing globalization and technological dependence of society is that people outside professional science are nding that issues of concern to them have a science dimension. I consider how school science education can support engagement with scienti c information. I contend that teaching about the epistemology of science is central to achieving this educational goal. I identify epistemic learning aims appropriate to school science education. These are derived from a survey of case studies of how individuals interact with science outside formal education. I consider di erent ways in which these learning aims might be achieved in schools. Teaching approaches based on modi cations of existing practice are identi ed. Addressing the full range of epistemic learning aims is likely to require teaching approaches rarely used in current science teaching. The relationship between science and society has changed signi cantly over the last 50 years. As science has become `industrialized, much scienti c activity has become capital-intensive and, therefore, in need of funding from commercial or government bodies (Ravetz 1995). Consequently, these bodies have a signi cant role in guiding the questions scientists investigate. The increasing technological sophistication of scienti c investigations has also accelerated the interpenetration of science and technology, thus blurring the distinctive aims of these disciplines. Furthermore, science has become more global in terms of both the scienti c community itself and the issues examined by science (e.g. global warming, acid rain and genetically modi ed food). Many of these issues are formidably complex, involving investigation of phenomena outside a controlled laboratory environment. As a result, even though the issues are of immediate public concern, scienti c progress is likely to be slow, with interim pronouncements characterized by uncertainty. Drawing a contrast with traditional `academic science, Ziman (2000) identi es a shift towards a `post-academic science whose activities are interwoven with those of commercial and government bodies. One consequence of this change is that `post-academic science is not directly guarded, institutionally or ideologically, against societal interests (p. 330). As science has become more capital-intensive, Jim Ryder, lecturer at the Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK; web: ¹edu-jr/, has research interests in science teaching and learning in school and university education. His papers have appeared in such journals as International Journal of Science Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and Learning and Instruction. Journal of Curriculum Studies ISSN 0022±0272 print/issn 1366±5839 online # DOI: / Taylor & Francis Ltd
2 638 j. ryder a clear case needs to be made that science provides bene ts worthy of public funding. Furthermore, the funding of science by commercial and government bodies has removed the image of scientists as `lonely seekers after truth (Ziman 1995). As a consequence of these developments, the public has become more sceptical about announcements of scienti c ndings as they relate to issues of public policy (Collingridge and Reeve 1986). As the issues debated by science become more global, and technology more a part of people s lives (e.g. mobile-phones and genetic nger-printing), individuals who are not professionally involved in science are increasingly likely to be a ected directly and personally by scienti c activities. In response to these developments, scienti c and government bodies are recognizing that enabling people not professionally involved in science to engage critically with scienti c information outside formal science education is an important goal (National Research Council 1996, European Commission 2000, Select Committee 2000, O ce of Science and Technology 2001). What is involved for those not professionally involved in science in `engaging critically with issues with a science dimension? Insights into this oft-neglected question are provided by analyses of how individuals interact with science issues in particular contexts of personal concern (e.g. Layton et al. 1993, Irwin and Wynne 1996). Such case studies exemplify critical engagement in terms of drawing on science knowledge in making lifestyle decisions, framing questions to science professionals, or reading media reports of scienti c issues with understanding. Examples of relevant contexts include drawing upon knowledge of human nutrition in following a balanced diet, contributing to a radio phone-in to discuss the safety record of a local nuclear power plant, questioning a health-care professional concerning the risks associated with deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and long-distance air travel, and interpreting a pamphlet produced by a government department concerning possible harmful health e ects associated with mobile-phone use. Enabling people to engage critically with science issues as they arise in their lives is an educational goal I term `science education for citizenship. Such a goal has been identi ed in terms of enhancing the `public understanding of science (Fensham and Harlen 1999, Miller 2001), `scienti c literacy (DeBoer 2000, Laugksch 2000), `functional scienti c literacy (Jenkins 1990, Shamos 1995, Ryder 2001), `science education for action (Jenkins 1994), `science for speci c social purposes (Layton et al. 1993), and `citizen science (Irwin 1995). Working towards the goal of `science education for citizenship can also support the inclusion of women and minority ethnic groups in science education and, thereby, enhance the democratization of science and society (Brickhouse 1994, Bencze 2000). Of course, school science is only the beginning of the process of learning to engage with science as an adult. From a `life-long learning perspective, individuals will continue to learn science beyond school age, e.g. through contact with science topics covered in the print and broadcast media and searches for information on the Internet. Nevertheless, compulsory education is likely to play a signi cant role in the early stages of this development. Existing school science teaching, however, does not re ect
3 school science education for citizenship 639 adequately the relationship between science and society. In an in uential analysis of school science education in England and Wales, Millar and Osborne (1998: 4) claim that science is presented as `a body of knowledge that is value-free, objective and detachedða succession of ``facts to be learnt, with... a lack of contextual relevance to the future needs of young people. Given these concerns, I consider here the potential for compulsory school science education to enable individuals not professionally involved in science to engage critically in science-related contexts as they arise. Much has been written about the content of a school science curriculum that prepares people to use science knowledge outside formal education (American Association for the Advancement of Science 1993, Bybee 1993, Driver et al. 1996, Millar 1996, Collins et al. 2001). While these analyses use a range of terminology (methods or processes of science, nature of science, socio-scienti c issues), a common feature is the identi cation of knowledge about the development and use of scienti c knowledge, here termed knowledge about science. Such knowledge can be distinguished from the concepts, theories and relationships that constitute knowledge in science. As I argue later, knowledge about science cannot be decontextualized; it is only meaningful when elaborated in speci c science contexts. A weakness in existing school science curricula is the presentation of the concepts and relationships of science (knowledge in science) without any reference to the ways in which these ideas were developed (knowledge about science). Knowledge about science itself can be characterized in terms of the epistemology and the sociology of science. Epistemology examines the ways in which knowledge claims in science are developed and justi ed, e.g. assessing the quality of data, examining the relationship between phenomena and theory, and investigating how con icts of ideas are resolved in science. The sociology of science studies the interactions among scientists (e.g. collaborations between globally networked science research groups), the means by which science professionals interact with those outside science (e.g. scientists framing research questions in response to government funding priorities), or the impact of the communication of science ndings on people s decisions about what to eat or how to travel. In using this distinction, it is recognized that these issues need to be elaborated in speci c science contexts, and that they are interrelated. For example, there are social aspects to the epistemology of science, such as the role of peer review in decisions about what is published in academic journals, and the impact of the professional status of a scientist on the resolution of con icts of ideas. Although there has been some consideration of how aspects of the sociology of science might be examined within school science (Solomon 1993, Fullick and Ratcli e 1996, Ratcli e 1997), there has been less consideration of how epistemic learning aims might be realized in the classroom (Gott and Duggan 1995, Ratcli e 1999). In this paper, I bring into focus both the educational goal of science education for citizenship and the epistemology of science to consider two issues. The rst aim is to identify epistemic learning aims appropriate to school science education that are likely to contribute to achieving the goal of science education for citizenship. Broad areas of epistemology that might be relevant to school science have been identi ed in many of the papers I
4 640 j. ryder have cited. I intend to specify appropriate epistemic learning aims in more detail: to contribute to the identi cation of an `entry-level epistemology... of science, appropriate to a science course for citizens (Millar and Osborne 2000: 193). Furthermore, there has been limited exempli cation of the relevance of stated epistemic learning aims to people s interactions with science. To emphasize relevance, the learning aims identi ed here are grounded in a survey of case studies of how individuals not professionally involved in science interact with science outside formal education. My second aim is to consider the di erent ways in which these epistemic learning aims might be realized in the school classroom. Many previous analyses of teaching knowledge about science in the classroom have failed to recognize the varied characteristics of the knowledge involved. I identify issues within the epistemology of science that are distinctive in terms of the challenges faced in achieving e ective learning in the classroom. Given the emphasis on science education for citizenship within science curriculum documents, there is a critical need for studies that design teaching materials addressing epistemic issues and evaluate their impact in the classroom. However, to date there have been few schoolbased studies with a speci cally epistemic focus. The place of epistemology in interactions with scienti c knowledge In this paper, I build on a previous review of published case studies in which people not professionally involved in science interact with scienti c information outside formal science education (Ryder 2001). Examples of the 31 case studies examined include an analysis of the activities of lay members of a forum set up to consider options for the incineration of local waste (Petts 1997), an examination of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) scare of 1996 (Jasano 1997) and the experiences of parents of Down s children as they interacted with health-care professionals (Layton et al. 1993). Examination of each case study was guided by the question `What knowledge of science is relevant to those individuals not professionally involved in science? The review provides a detailed description and characterization of these science understandings. The strength of this analysis is its grounding in case studies of individuals interacting with science. A summary is provided in table 1. Table 1 provides a categorization of knowledge relevant to the individuals in the case studies. The rst category, subject matter knowledge, refers to the concepts, theories and relationships of science, which I term knowledge in science. The remaining categories refer to knowledge about science. Within these categories, aspects of the sociology of science feature. For example, the category science communication in the public domain includes knowledge about how the professional status of scientists can in uence how their interpretations of data are received by other scientists, policy-makers and journalists. However, the dominant knowledge area featured in table 1 is knowledge about the epistemology of science. For example, Tytler et al. (2001) examine a local debate concerning the safety of emissions resulting
5 school science education for citizenship 641 Table 1. A summary of science knowledge featured in case studies of people interacting with science outside formal education (from Ryder 2001). Subject-matter knowledge. Subject-matter knowledge featuring in compulsory school science.. Subject-matter knowledge beyond the scope of compulsory school science.. Subject-matter knowledge unavailable.. Subject-matter knowledge con icting with compulsory school science. Collecting and evaluating data. Assessing the quality of data.. Study design. Interpreting data. Assessing the validity of interpretations in science:. correlation and causation. considering alternative explanations. time horizons. Interpretation involves knowledge sources in addition to data.. Multiple interpretations in science. Modelling in science. Use of models not made explicit.. Assumptions within models.. Modelling errors. Uncertainty in science. Seeking certainty.. Sources of uncertainty.. Consequences of uncertainty. Science communication in the public domain from the burning of recycled liquid fuel at an industrial cement kiln near a UK village. The cement company took measurements of the emissions from the kiln at regular intervals. Tytler et al. (2001) found that the company often reported the lowest of these emission measurements: `for example, one of the three baseline measurements was selected to show a 75% reduction in heavy metals whereas choosing another would have shown a 10-fold increase (p. 822). In this case study, the company presented a single value as an unproblematic measurement of emissions without any communication of the inherent variability associated with these measurements. For the local residents, an appreciation that measurements do carry variability would have supported them in engaging critically with cement company o cials by asking about the number of measurements taken, and the spread in these measurements. Epistemology in the school science curriculum School science is only the beginning of the process of learning to engage with science as an adult. Individuals will continue to learn science beyond school age, e.g. through engagement with science topics of contemporary
6 642 j. ryder relevance appearing in the print and broadcast media, and also by more self-directed means such as reading popular science books and healthinformation lea ets, and discussions with health-care professionals. Searches for scienti c information on the Internet are also becoming increasingly signi cant (Lee 1999). From this `life-long learning perspective, the goal of compulsory school science education is to provide a basis for this future learning. Of course, providing students with a basic understanding of the key concepts of science is important if individuals are to develop the con dence to frame questions of science. It is also important that school science promote a positive attitude towards engaging with science by giving students a sense that science is a subject that they can interact with as adults. While recognizing these issues, I focus on identifying epistemic learning aims appropriate to compulsory school science that are likely to contribute to people s use of science as adults. The science understandings relevant to people s interactions with science outside formal education detailed in Ryder (2001) were used as a starting point for this analysis. All learning aims with a predominantly epistemic focus were selected. An attempt was then made to identify those learning aims attainable within compulsory school science. Given the limited number of studies into the teaching of epistemic issues in school science, and the potential for radically revised school science curricula in the future, it is impossible to make de nitive judgements about what might be achieved. As a result, only those learning aims whose conceptual demands were considered to be beyond that of the majority of pupils were removed. For example, recognizing the design characteristics of randomized experimental, prospective and retrospective studies, and the extent to which each might be used to justify claims of a causal link between two factors, was a learning aim judged to be inappropriate at compulsory school level. This is not to say that students are incapable of learning about these issues, but that such teaching would be very demanding for many students, and likely to take up a disproportionate amount of teaching time. Approximately 40% of the original epistemic learning aims were removed as a result of this analysis. It is hoped that, as more studies into classroom teaching in this area are undertaken, more informed judgements about what is both desirable and practicable will be possible. Table 2 details the remaining epistemic learning aims categorized under ve headings. The table provides a framework of desired end-points for student learning within compulsory schooling grounded in an analysis of people s needs of science as adults. No attempt is made to consider progression through the school curriculum. Table 2 emphasizes the need to introduce students to a wide range of investigative strategies in science, in addition to the traditional focus on laboratory-based experimental studies involving the control of variables. This requires teaching about the concepts associated with such investigative techniques (e.g. in vitro, in vivo, placebos and control groups). Also important is the assessment of data-quality (e.g. obtaining an estimate of variability) and making judgements about interpretations arising from these studies (e.g. the distinction between correlation and causation and the importance of sample size and sampling bias). Case studies of indi-
7 school science education for citizenship 643 Table 2. Epistemic learning aims to achieve science education for citizenship in compulsory school science. Assessing the quality of data Students should: (a) recognize that measurements carry an inherent variability and, therefore, do not provide unequivocal access to a `true value; (b) understand that an estimate of variability can be obtained from the spread found in repeated measurements; and (c) recognize that if meaningful conclusions are to be drawn then communication of a measurement needs to be accompanied by an estimate of variability. Study design Students should: (d) be aware of a range of methodologies used by scientists to collect data, e.g. in vitro and in vivo studies, blind and double-blind studies involving placebos, observational studies, and experimental studies involving control of variables; (e) understand that in population studies sample size and sampling bias have an impact on the validity of the ndings; (f) understand that in experimental studies involving control of variables, the choice of variables to be controlled has an impact on the validity of the ndings; and (g) understand the concepts of correlation, causal link and causal mechanism. Scienti c explanations Students should: (h) recognize that scientists use analogies to help them develop new explanations, e.g. the heart as a mechanical pump; (i) recognize that explanations can involve entities not there to be seen in the phenomenon, e.g. particles of matter in a gas, magnetic eld lines, light as an electromagnetic wave; (j) recognize that theoretical models can be used to generate predictions that can be tested by further analysis of phenomena; and (k) be able to give examples of controversies that have arisen as a result of scientists using di erent ideas to explain a single phenomenon. Uncertainty in science Students should: (l) appreciate that many scienti c questions are not amenable to empirical investigation because of the number and complexity of variables which would need to be controlled in an experimental study, the long-time horizons involved, and/or restrictions on study design following from ethical considerations; and (m) understand that since proof is often unattainable, decisions may need to be made on the basis of estimates of risk. Science communication Students should: (n) understand the role of peer review in the publication of new ndings; (o) be aware that the status, track record and funding source of scientists can in uence how their interpretations of data are reported; (p) recognize that commercial organizations, scientists, government bodies and media reports often present measurements following from scienti c investigation without any communication of the reliability or validity of these measurements; and (q) be aware that in describing disagreements between groups of scientists media reports may provide limited consideration of the strength of each group s case. viduals interacting with science show that ndings from epidemiological studies, involving statistical ndings, often play a central role. To engage with announcements of ndings from such studies, individuals need to recognize the terminology used to describe these investigative methodol-
8 644 j. ryder ogies, and also the ways in which the reliability and validity of these ndings might be judged. The nature of scienti c explanations is identi ed in table 2 as an epistemic learning aim for compulsory school science. The role of analogies and models in science, and the ontological status of entities such as magnetic eld lines or particles in a gas, might appear far removed from the aims of science education for citizenship. Many case studies, however, show that such features can be relevant to people s interactions with science. For example, the UK Black Report examined the case for a link between local incidence of childhood leukaemia and activities at the Sella eld nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria (Black 1984). The Report gave reassurance that Sella eld discharges could not be linked to leukaemia incidence in the area on the basis of two numerical values derived from empirical data (Layton et al. 1993). Taken as unequivocal empirical facts, these two values provided very strong reassurance. However, the Black Report did not make it clear that both of these values were derived by the application of models to the available data. There were many uncertainties and assumptions associated with the application of these models in the Sella eld context. Local people who did not recognize the uncertainties associated with these modelling assumptions are likely to assume that the report gave solid reassurance based on `hard numerical data. Table 2 also highlights `science communication as a distinctive learning aim. Such communication includes the processes leading to the publication of new ndings in professional science journals and the ways in which commercial and government bodies report science ndings. Particular emphasis is placed on the reporting of scienti c ndings in the popular print and broadcast media. Such issues have rarely been included in school science curricula. It might be argued that many issues under the heading of `science communication are concerned with the operation and aims of the popular media, and the activities of individuals representing commercial and governmental organizations, rather than the epistemology of science. However, examination of case studies in which these science communication issues arise shows that epistemic issues are often highly relevant. For example, Millar and Wynne (1988) present an analysis of newspaper reporting following the Chernobyl nuclear accident. One newspaper presented small changes in measurements over time as automatically indicating a change in the quantity being measured: `A [newspaper] report states that ``the readings were 225 becquerels a litre, against 220 on Monday, implying signi cance in the third gure cited (Millar and Wynne 1988: 393). No explicit discussion concerning the quality of this data was included in the report, leaving the reader to deduce that radioactivity levels had risen, even though the data may not support this deduction. Critically engaging with such a report involves recognizing the place of epistemic considerations in the context of newspaper reports.
9 school science education for citizenship 645 Epistemology in the classroom The principal role of table 2 is to provide a framework for considering the ways in which epistemic learning aims might be realized in the school science classroom. No attempt is made here to examine approaches and learning aims likely to be appropriate for students of di erent ages, or within the distinctive environments of primary and secondary schools. Although such an analysis is certainly needed, the focus here is on teaching approaches likely to get students to the end-points identi ed in table 2. As a result, the approaches outlined below are generally most appropriate to secondary school teaching. It is likely, however, that activities in the earlier years of schooling will play an important role in developing students learning in these areas. For example, younger students might conduct small-scale surveys such as gathering data about height and foot size of students in the class. One purpose of such a survey would be to introduce students to concepts such as `sample in the context of study design. This section begins with consideration of what is meant by `learning about the epistemology of science when the purpose of such learning is to support students in making decisions and engaging in debates concerning scienti c and technological issues. Table 2 is then used to identify areas of the epistemology of science that are distinctive in terms of the challenges faced in achieving e ective learning in the classroom. Learning about the epistemology of science It could be argued that the learning aims in table 2 can be achieved through explicit teaching about the history and philosophy of science. For example, students could learn to `recognize that theoretical models can be used to generate predictions that can be tested by further analysis of phenomena through teaching that provides students with de nitions of the terms `hypothesis, `prediction, and `theoretical model. These de nitions could then be illustrated with accounts from the history of science. This would enable students to provide answers to questions such as `What is a scienti c theory? or `How do scientists use hypotheses to plan scienti c investigations?. A fundamental objection to the predominantly decontextualized approach outlined above is that details of the epistemology of science are context-dependent. For example, the ways in which theoretical ideas interact with knowledge of phenomena is very di erent in astrophysics and condensed matter physics. Observations of key phenomena in the laboratory, under controlled conditions in which experiments can be set up and key variables controlled, is rarely possible in astrophysics, whereas such experiments are the norm in condensed matter physics. Decontextualized discussions of the relationship between theory and phenomena are unlikely to communicate this variation. As a result, achieving the learning aims in table 2 involves introducing students to a wide range of science contexts; building up a student s `tool-kit of contextualized examples of the epistemology of science (Mortimer 1995, Ryder et al. 1999). This
10 646 j. ryder makes epistemic learning aims distinct from many existing learning aims that involve speci c science contexts, e.g. `pupils should be taught the properties and uses of the noble gases (Department for Education and Employment/Quali cations and Curriculum Authority 1999). A further reason why a predominantly decontextualized teaching approach is inappropriate arises from consideration of the educational goal of science education for citizenship. The purpose of achieving the epistemic learning aims in table 2 is to support students in making decisions and engaging in debates concerning scienti c and technological issues. The focus is on students actions in science-related contexts that they are likely to be engaged in as adults, rather than their ability to articulate a view about the epistemology of science. For example, in the context of newspaper reports concerning a possible link between DVT and long-distance air travel (the so-called `economy-class syndrome ), students need to be encouraged to ask questions about the reliability and validity of scienti c ndings, sample size and any potential sampling bias, whether any causal mechanism has been established, and the possibility of DVT resulting from other factors not considered in the newspaper report. To support the development of e ective engagement with such science, students need to be given the con dence to see themselves as capable of raising such questions, and to experience a range of relevant contexts in which to use and develop their understanding of the epistemology of science. This is not to say that such teaching should not consider aspects of the epistemology of science explicitly. However, such explicit discussions are most appropriately set in science contexts from the outset rather than through a decontextualized presentation followed by illustrative examples. Furthermore, where appropriate, these science contexts should re ect science issues of contemporary concern. Modifying existing teaching and learning activities Many have questioned whether developing students knowledge about science is an achievable goal for compulsory school science (Jenkins 1990). There are indeed considerable challenges. Such knowledge has not previously been a central part of school science curricula. Many teachers have undeveloped or inappropriate understandings about how science operates (Brickhouse and Bodner 1992, Lederman 1992, Lakin and Wellington 1994). New pedagogical strategies need to be developed together with new teaching resources and new approaches to assessment. Given these challenges, advocating the learning aims in table 2 as a goal for school science education can appear hopelessly naõè ve. Nevertheless, many learning aims in table 2 may be achievable through modi cations to existing teaching that do not require the design and use of wholly unfamiliar teaching strategies. Such teaching approaches and associated learning aims are identi ed below. It is hoped that these will provide practical starting points for the inclusion of epistemic issues within school science teaching.
11 school science education for citizenship 647 Empirical investigations undertaken by students are a common feature of school science teaching. There has been considerable criticism of the image of scienti c practice portrayed through such investigative work in schools (Donnelly et al. 1996, Hodson 1996). Within such activities, science is often characterized as capable of providing unequivocal answers to a wide range of questions. There is a focus on careful observation and the testing of hypotheses under controlled conditions, with less emphasis on the role of ideas and creativity in the design of investigations and the interpretation of data. While variability in repeated measurements (see table 2(b)) is studied in many current investigative activities, addressing other learning aims in table 2 is likely to require some modi cation to existing practice. The need to communicate an estimate of variability (c) could be examined through students writing a report on their investigation in the style of a local newspaper. Students could compare their reports and consider whether it is possible to assess the variability of the data from the content of each report. Aspects of `study design (d±g) could be considered through investigations involving sampling of a population in addition to the more common experimental approach involving the control of variables. Given the focus on epistemology to support citizenship, it is desirable, wherever possible, that these science investigations engage students with issues of contemporary concern. The teaching of science concepts is a central feature of school science. With appropriate modi cations, several epistemic learning aims can be considered alongside concept teaching. For example, teaching about the concept of radioactivity, and how it is detected, could include an activity in which students examine media reports about radioactive contamination following leakage from a nuclear power plant. This could lead to consideration of what is not included, but required, to judge the validity of the reported interpretation (see table 2(a±g)). Concept teaching is particularly relevant to the treatment of `scienti c explanations in table 2. Placing discussions about scienti c explanations in the context of speci c science explanations satis es the requirement for a contextualized treatment of epistemology advocated above. Many science explanations involve the use of analogies (h). The use of such analogies by scientists in the development of scienti c explanations could be discussed alongside consideration of the concepts themselves. Furthermore, many science concepts involve entities not there to be seen in phenomena, e.g. particles of matter in a gas or magnetic eld lines (i). Activities to emphasize the distinction between phenomena and science explanations can be placed alongside the teaching of science concepts. Hind et al. (2001) describe such an approach in the context of teaching about magnetic elds in science courses for students aged 16±19 years. They found that students ideas about the epistemology of science could be developed through such teaching, provided that teachers have a clear understanding of the purposes of such teaching and the epistemic issues involved.
12 648 j. ryder Distinctive teaching and learning approaches Although modi cations to existing teaching activities can attend to many learning aims in table 2, full coverage is likely to require approaches not typically used in school science teaching. Use of secondary data. Current teaching often involves students collecting their own data during school-based investigative activities. Although such teaching serves legitimate aims concerning the ability to use empirical techniques safely, carefully and e ciently, these aims are not an aspect of teaching science for citizenship. Rather, many learning aims in table 2 could be realized through students dealing with secondary data in the classroom, i.e. data presented to them together with information about the methodology used in its collection. Using secondary data enables students to engage with empirical measurements that it would not be possible to collect in school because of the complexity of the techniques or the long time-horizons involved. This makes it easier for students to engage with data of contemporary relevance, e.g. measurements of radioactivity in soil samples collected around the UK at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Students could be asked to make judgements concerning the variability of the data (a±c) and question the methodology, e.g. in terms of the sample size or sampling techniques used (d±f). In some contexts, secondary data may enable students to recognize that the complexity of the issue under investigation leads to uncertainty (l), e.g. measurements of radioactivity in the soil following the Chernobyl incident were made outside controlled laboratory conditions and, therefore, radioactive material in addition to that arising from the Chernobyl incident was a source of uncertainty. The history of science. Teaching about the history of science within school science courses has been advocated as a way of achieving a variety of educational goals (Shortland and Warwick 1989, Matthews 1994, 2000, Monk and Osborne 1997). With the focus on the educational goal of science education for citizenship, historical case studies provide a way of presenting students with closed episodes of `how we know what we know relevant to contemporary engagement with science ndings. Such case studies can be used to communicate the use of analogies, creativity and the cycles of prediction and empirical study that characterize the development of scienti c explanations (see table 2(h±j)). They can also illustrate the origins of debates about the interpretation of phenomena and how these controversies are resolved (k). The advantage of using case studies of historical debates is that they will tend to have reached closure, providing a de nite end-point in the classroom. A disadvantage is that many historical studies involve science concepts very di erent from those presented in class, e.g. the 18th-century debate between Priestley and Lavoisier concerning phlogiston and combustion. Such cases may require considerable curriculum time to present these historical concepts to
13 school science education for citizenship 649 students, before engagement with the epistemic issues involved. As a result, these kinds of historical case studies may not provide an e cient way of communicating epistemic issues in the classroom. Contemporary science issues. The distinction between `contemporary and `historical case studies is hard to draw. However, case studies that examine issues of contemporary concern (e.g. the link between smoking and lung cancer) or are on-going (e.g. the health e ects of mobile-phone use) are likely to play a special role in achieving epistemic learning aims relevant to the aims of science education for citizenship. Most importantly, the relevance of such case studies to the use of science knowledge outside formal education is clear to both students and teachers. Such case studies are likely to be particularly e ective in communicating sources and consequences of uncertainty in science (see table 2(l, m)) and issues surrounding the communication of scienti c ndings (n±q). A contemporary case study in the classroom is likely to involve a presentation of the issues at stake, the methodologies involved in gathering empirical data, some examples of relevant data, and scientists interpretations of this data, together with consideration of subsequent action taken or debate about appropriate actions if the issue is ongoing. Using such an approach in the science classroom presents some signi cant challenges. The subject-matter knowledge involved may be quite complex (e.g. the impact of electromagnetic radiation on human physiology) and the subject may extend beyond the conventional con nes of the science curriculum to engage with political and ethical issues (e.g. should the manufacture of tobacco-related products be banned?). Where the issue remains a subject of scienti c debate (e.g. the environmental e ects of genetically modi ed organisms), students and teachers may struggle with the lack of closure provided. For example, an evaluation of a classroom activity involving a debate concerning the health e ects of mobile-phone use showed that students and teachers can be very uncomfortable in the absence of de nitive empirical ndings within a science teaching context (Hind et al. 2001). Scienti c uncertainty in school science. Many case studies of scienti c investigations of contemporary relevance will involve ndings that are communicated in terms of risk. For example, a recent review of the evidence for a link between childhood leukaemia and proximity to overhead electrical power lines concluded that long-term exposure to high levels of electromagnetic radiation, such as that found near overhead pylons, is associated with two extra cases of child leukaemia each year on average, i.e. 0.4% of the total in Britain (National Radiological Protection Board 2001). Such case studies can be used in the classroom to address learning aims related to uncertainty in science, e.g. highlighting the challenges involved in conducting empirical studies outside a controlled environment and the practical and ethical constraints on study design (see table 2(l)). Such case studies can also satisfy the need to communicate ndings in terms of risk, and the impact of risk pronouncements on policy
14 650 j. ryder decisions and personal lifestyle choices (m). Much has been written about risk in modern society and the factors that in uence people s responses to announcements of risk (Beck 1992, Adams 1995, Irwin 1995). There has also been some consideration of the place of risk issues within the school science curriculum (Quicke 2001). In spite of this interest, there has been little examination of how such issues might be studied e ectively within the classroom. Use of media reports of science issues. Many case studies of people s engagement with science illustrate the key role of the popular print and broadcast media. There have been several studies of students critical responses to reading reports of science issues in the print media (Phillips and Norris 1999, Ratcli e 1999). These studies show that many school science students do not engage with the epistemic features of such reports. For example, Phillips and Norris (1999: 317) found that `there was a lack of systematic relationship between students degree of certainty in their beliefs, and the support that the reports o er for those beliefs. Table 2 includes several learning aims that, if achieved, would develop students abilities in this area. Students could generate media reports based on their own empirical investigations or secondary data sources. These reports would pay particular attention to the appropriate communication of epistemic aspects of the investigation. Students could also compare di erent media reports of a single science-related context, e.g. the consequences of radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power incident. This could lead to consideration of the extent to which the media communicates the variability in measurements (c) and study design methodology (d±f). Such an activity could also examine the tendency of media reports to emphasize the `human angle in a science story, and that in cases of disagreements between scientists this may not be accompanied by consideration of the strength of each scientist s case (o, q). The role of broader knowledge areas within school science. Classroom use of historical and contemporary case studies, and discussions about the impact of uncertainty and risk analyses in science-related contexts, require students to engage with knowledge in addition to that associated with the epistemic learning aims in table 2. Consideration of the reasons for disagreements among scientists, either today or in the past, is likely to involve knowledge of the social operations of scientists and science institutions. Examination of uncertainty and risk in science is likely to involve consideration of political and ethical issues about how individuals and society respond to scienti c ndings. For example, a case study of the environmental impact of genetically modi ed organisms is likely to involve examination of secondary data from eld studies (science content and epistemic issues), potential bene ts and drawbacks arising from the development of genetically modi ed organisms (economic, technological and cultural issues) and whether or not eld trials should be expanded
15 school science education for citizenship 651 (economic, ethical and political issues). Similarly, examining media reports on science-related issues is likely to involve considering the aims and activities of the media industry in addition to science content and the epistemology of science. Furthermore, engaging students in debate about the appropriateness of possible actions, and requiring students to justify their views, is likely to involve the development of argumentation skills within a science context (Driver et al. 2000). Many teaching approaches advocated above extend beyond the traditional con nes of science education. In particular, by providing students with tools with which to challenge the pronouncements of science experts, such teaching could be seen as serving a political agenda, with implications for the role of both the curriculum and the teacher. There has been some consideration of such teaching approaches (Wellington 1986, Cross and Price 1992, Solomon 1992, Fullick and Ratcli e 1996, Reiss 1999, Kolstoe 2000). Certainly, successfully incorporating such teaching within schools science lessons is a considerable challenge. Given the focus on students actions in science-related contexts, it is important that they are given the opportunity to deploy and develop science knowledge in these `authentic contexts. Nevertheless, although it is appropriate that science lessons examine subject-matter knowledge, epistemology and perhaps sociology of science, it is less clear that associated ethical, political and cultural issues, and the development of students argumentation skills, should be the sole responsibility of science teachers (Levinson 2001). Given the existing expertise of teachers of, for example, history and English in handling such issues, it may be appropriate to enlist their support in developing these teaching and learning activities and using them in schools. Using science contexts of current and local interest. The teaching and learning activities highlighted above emphasize the link to people s use of science understanding with a focus on issues of contemporary relevance. To achieve this aim, teaching activities will need to be responsive to issues of current and local interest. For example, health e ects resulting from the build-up of radon gas in the home is an issue of ongoing concern among residents in the south-west of England; a possible link between DVT and long-distance air travel is a recent concern of international signi cance. Much of the traditional subject matter of compulsory school science teaching can be taught using material from textbooks written many years ago. However, the need for contexts of contemporary relevance will require teachers to update science issues being examined using media reports or case studies. Local, national and international teacher websites may provide a valuable way of sharing teaching resources relating to these emerging science contexts. Science courses may bene t from a speci c requirement that students engage in an extended investigative project studying an issue of local or contemporary signi cance. Such project work may involve empirical investigations (Roth 1995). For example, Posch (1993) and Albone et al. (1995) describe empirical investigations conducted by school students that researched issues of local or contemporary relevance, some involving international
16 652 j. ryder collaborations between schools with students presenting ndings to the local community and liaising with potential funding agencies to secure external nancial and material support (cited in Jenkins 2000). Other published studies of such empirical project work include an ethnographic analysis of students investigations into the health and environmental status of a local watershed, `Henderson Creek (Roth and Lee 2002) and a study of student and teacher activities during a multischool project involving the analysis of water quality at local beaches (Greenall Gough and Robottom 1993). Project work considering issues of local or contemporary relevance can also be achieved without students engaging in empirical investigations, with students searching for and analysing a range of information resources, i.e. internet, local experts, company and government literature. Such projects are likely to involve signi cant curriculum time. To encourage and mandate teachers to undertake such projects, and to motivate students, incorporating them within course assessment is likely to be important. Using science contexts of current and local interest challenges the homogeneity that characterizes many current school science curricula. There are precedents for such an approach within schools. Engagement with local issues is a feature of many school science curricula in the humanities. Furthermore, a recently developed course for post-compulsory students entitled `Science for public understanding includes assessed components in which students are required to undertake a study of a topical scienti c issue and provide a critical appraisal of an example of science writing of their choice (Assessment and Quali cations Alliance 1999). Educational implications If implemented in full, the proposals outlined here would have a signi cant impact on school science teaching. Students would be required to show critical judgement in interpreting secondary data sources and engaging with accounts of historical and contemporary science issues. There would also be a greater emphasis on the ability to read and communicate about science issues. Empirical investigative work would continue to have a place in school science. There would be a shift in emphasis from the ability to use established investigative techniques towards an ability to ask questions about the quality of data and its interpretation. There would also be a shift towards investigative contexts with contemporary relevance to people s engagement with science. There would be an increased emphasis on the design of statistical studies and ways of assessing the quality of statistical data. Consideration of technological, economic, ethical, cultural and political perspectives on science issues would also be a signi cant feature of school science. It has also been suggested that a focus on school science education for citizenship would result in less subject-matter knowledge in the curriculum, with an emphasis on a smaller number of key concepts of clear relevance to people s engagement with science in their adult lives (Millar and Osborne 1998). The principal desired outcomes of such a
17 school science education for citizenship 653 science education would be to provide individuals with tools to engage critically with science issues of personal relevance as they arise, and to encourage a positive attitude towards engaging with science by giving students a sense that science is a subject that they can interact with as adults. Incorporating the proposals outlined above within school science education poses many challenges, particularly in terms of assessment and teacher knowledge. Increasingly, governments are gathering national test data in science for a range of age cohorts within compulsory schooling. Such test scores have been used to identify `failing schools, and to evaluate or demonstrate the impacts of school reforms. There are few precedents, however, for the design and use of items that assess a student s ability to engage critically with science issues of personal relevance. Within a strongly assessment-driven climate, governments and schools are unlikely to promote a shift in curriculum time towards teaching activities whose outcomes may not feature in national test scores. Furthermore, the proposals place considerable demands on teachers. Many teachers have undeveloped or inappropriate understandings about how science operates (see Brickhouse and Bodner 1992, Lederman 1992, Lakin and Wellington 1994). In addition, many proposed teaching strategies will be unfamiliar to science teachers, e.g. class discussions debating ethical and political issues within a contemporary science topic, or the organization, and particularly closure, of a science lesson examining a science issue characterized by uncertainty. In the short term, change is most likely to occur through teachers who are committed to the aims of science education for citizenship and who become involved in developing and implementing the proposed teaching strategies. The experiences of these teachers will then act as exemplars of the kinds of teaching and learning activities being suggested. In this paper, I have highlighted aspects of the epistemology of science that might be introduced through modi cations of existing teaching and learning activities. These activities provide suggested starting points for the rst stages in adapting school science teaching to emphasize the aims of science education for citizenship. However, for this to occur, teachers need to be given the opportunity, resources, support and curriculum time to develop and trial materials and strategies. To promote more widespread change, items that assess a student s ability to engage critically with science issues of personal relevance need to be developed, and outcomes of such tests incorporated into national test data. Change also depends on core support for these proposals within the teaching profession. At the very least, UK studies do indeed suggest that many teachers, and their students, believe that the current school science curriculum is not meeting the needs of the majority of students (Osborne and Collins 2001). In summarizing reactions to a report advocating changes to compulsory school science teaching similar to those proposed here, Millar and Osborne (2000: 190) state that `despite a discernible weariness (and wariness) of curriculum change, most people who re ect on the state of school science education are less than content with what they observeð and many see the need for quite far-reaching change.
18 654 j. ryder To promote teaching in this area, e ective continuing professional development for teachers is needed. The detail and language of the learning aims in table 2 can appear very remote to classroom concerns. One aim of such continuing professional development would be to establish a consensus among teachers about the reasons for considering epistemic issues in school science, and knowledge about science more generally. Another aim would be to provide teachers with a set of `pedagogical questions that recast the detail of the epistemic learning aims in table 2 into terminology relevant to classroom discussion, e.g. `How was this science investigation performed?, `How sure can we be about the data?, `Is this the only possible interpretation of these ndings?, `Why was this investigation conducted?, and `Who is interested in these ndings and why?. Classroom-based research that examines the impact of teaching about epistemic issues serving the aims of science education for citizenship is also needed. Teaching materials and strategies re ecting the more challenging and original teaching approaches outlined here, such as the use of secondary data sources and contemporary case studies, need to be developed and evaluated in the classroom. These studies need to re ect the emphasis on student action by including post-teaching evaluations of the ability of students to engage with science issues in the kinds of contexts they are likely to encounter science in their adult lives: reading and commenting upon newspaper reports, evaluating science documentaries appearing on TV, or using appropriately information on the internet. Such studies will inform considerations of what is desirable and attainable in school science. These studies will also provide insights that will enable epistemic learning aims to be developed for di erent age-groups across compulsory schooling. The outcomes of evaluations of students abilities to engage with science will also contribute to the much needed development of assessment items in this area. I have emphasized here the educational goal of science education for citizenship. However, compulsory school science education serves additional aims. The cultural argument for science education suggests that people should know something of science because it is a major achievement of human culture: science has the capacity to fascinate and intrigue; people should learn about science for the kinds of reasons that they learn about history, music and art. Compulsory science education also needs to provide students with insights into science that inform decisions about whether or not to enter post-compulsory science courses. Finally, for the minority, compulsory science education provides the basis for future professional training in the sciences. Consideration needs to be given to the prioritization of these aims within a school science education `for all, and consequences for the balance of activities within the curriculum. Providing a choice of science courses to students within compulsory schooling may need to be considered.
19 school science education for citizenship 655 Acknowledgements This work was undertaken as part of a Research Fellowship `Science education and life-long learning funded by the School of Education and the University of Leeds, UK. The article has bene ted from the comments of two anonymous reviewers. References Adams, J. (1995) Risk (London: UCL Press). Albone, E. S., Collins, N. and Hill, T. (1995) Scienti c Research in Schools: A Compendium of Practical Experience (Bristol, UK: Clifton Scienti c Trust). American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993) Benchmarks for Science Literacy (New York: Oxford University Press). Assessment and Qualications Alliance (1999) General Certi cate of Education: Science for Public Understanding: Speci cation for Advanced Subsidiary GCE 5401 (Guildford, UK: Assessment and Quali cations Alliance). sci.htm (visited 8 March 2002). Beck, U. (1992) Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, trans. M. Ritter (London: Sage). Bencze, J. L. (2000) Democratic constructivist science education: enabling egalitarian literacy and self-actualization. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32 (6), 847±865. Black, D. (1984) Investigation of Possible Increased Incidence of Cancer in West Cumbria. Report of the Independent Advisory Group (London: Her Majesty s Stationery O ce). Brickhouse, N. (1994) Bringing in the outsiders: reshaping the sciences of the future. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 26 (4), 401±416. Brickhouse, N. and Bodner, G. M. (1992) The beginning science teacher: classroom narratives of convictions and constraints. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29 (5), 471±485. Bybee, R. W. (1993) Reforming Science Education: Social Perspectives and Personal Re ections (New York: Teachers College Press). Collingridge, D. and Reeve, C. (1986) Science Speaks to Power: The Role of Experts in Policy Making (London: Frances Pinter). Collins, S., Millar, R., Osborne, J. and Ratcliffe, M. (2001) What `ideas-about-science should be taught in school science? Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, 10±14 April, Seattle WA, USA (Institute of Education, University of London, UK). Cross, R. T. and Price, R. F. (1992) Teaching Science for Social Responsibility (Sydney, Australia: St Louis Press). DeBoer, G. E. (2000) Scienti c literacy: another look at its historical and contemporary meanings and its relationship to science education reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37 (6), 582±601. Department for Education and Employment/Qualications and Curriculum Authority (1999) Science: The National Curriculum for England: Key Stages 1±4 (Norwich, UK: Stationery O ce). Donnelly, J. F., Buchan, A. S., Jenkins, E. W., Laws, P. M. and Welford, A. G. (1996) Investigations by Order: Policy, Curriculum and Science Teachers Work under the Education Reform Act (Na erton, UK: Studies in Education). Driver, R., Leach, J., Millar, R. and Scott, P. (1996) Young People s Images of Science (Buckingham, UK: Open University Press). Driver, R., Newton, P. and Osborne, J. (2000) Establishing the norms of scienti c argumentation in classrooms. Science Education, 84 (3), 287±312. European Commission (2000) Science, society and the citizen in Europe. European Commission working document. science-society-en.pdf (visited 8 March 2002).
20 656 j. ryder Fensham, P. J. and Harlen, W. (1999) School science and public understanding of science. International Journal of Science Education, 21 (7), 755±763. Fullick, P. and Ratcliffe, M. (1996) Teaching Ethical Aspects of Science (Southampton, UK: Bassett Press). Gott, R. and Duggan, S. (1995) Investigative Work in the Science Curriculum (Buckingham, UK: Open University Press). Greenall Gough, A. and Robottom, I. (1993) Towards a socially critical environmental education: water quality studies in a coastal school. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 25 (4), 301±316. Hind, A., Leach, J. and Ryder, J. (2001) Teaching about the nature of scienti c knowledge and investigation on AS/A level science courses. Technical report, University of Leeds, UK. eldfoundation.org/aboutscience/index.shtml (visited 8 March 2002). Hodson, D. (1996) Laboratory work as scienti c method: three decades of confusion and distortion. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 28 (2), 115±135. Irwin, A. (1995) Citizen Science: A Study of People, Expertise, and Sustainable Development (London: Routledge). Irwin, A. and Wynne, B. (eds) (1996) Misunderstanding Science?: The Public Reconstruction of Science and Technology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Jasanoff, S. (1997) Civilization and madness: the great BSE scare of Public Understanding of Science, 6 (3), 221±232. (visited 8 March 2002). Jenkins, E. W. (1990) Scienti c literacy and school science education. School Science Review, 71 (256), 43±51. Jenkins, E. W. (1994) Public understanding of science and science education for action. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 26 (6), 601±611. Jenkins, E. W. (2000) `Science for all : time for a paradigm shift? In R. Millar, J. Leach and J. Osborne (eds), Improving Science Education: The Contribution of Research (Buckingham, UK: Open University Press), 207±226. Kolstoe, S. D. (2000) Consensus projects: teaching science for citizenship. International Journal of Science Education, 22 (6), 645±664. Lakin, S. and Wellington, J. (1994) Who will teach `the nature of science?: teachers views of science and their implication for science education. International Journal of Science Education, 16 (2), 175±190. Laugksch, R. C. (2000) Scienti c literacy: a conceptual overview. Science Education, 84 (1), 71±94. Layton, D., Jenkins, E. W., MacGill, S. and Davey, A. (1993) Inarticulate Science? Perspectives on the Public Understanding of Science and Some Implications for Science Education (Dri eld, UK: Studies in Education). Lederman, N. G. (1992) Students and teachers conceptions of the nature of science: a review of the research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29 (4), 331±359. Lee, O. (1999) Science knowledge, world views, and information sources in social and cultural contexts: making sense after a natural disaster. American Educational Research Journal, 36 (2), 187±219. Levinson, R. (2001) Should controversial issues in science be taught through the humanities? School Science Review, 82 (300), 97±102. Matthews, M. R. (1994) Science Teaching: The Role of History and Philosophy of Science (New York: Routledge). Matthews, M. R. (2000) Time for Science Education: How Teaching the History and Philosophy of Pendulum Motion Can Contribute to Science Literacy (New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum). Millar, R. (1996) Towards a science curriculum for public understanding. School Science Review, 77 (280), 7±18. Millar, R. and Osborne, J. (eds) (1998) Beyond 2000: Science Education for the Future (London: King s College). (visited 7 February 2002). Millar, R. and Osborne, J. (2000) Meeting the challenge of change. Studies in Science Education, 35, 190±197.