1 JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING VOL. 43, NO. 4, PP (2006) Socioscience and Ethics in Science Classrooms: Teacher Perspectives and Strategies Troy D. Sadler, 1 Aidin Amirshokoohi, 2 Mahsa Kazempour, 2 Kathleen M. Allspaw 2 1 School of Teaching & Learning, University of Florida, 2403 Norman Hall, PO Box , Gainesville, FL Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Indiana University, 201 N. Rose Ave., 3002, Bloomington, IN Received 5 January 2005; Accepted 4 August 2005 Abstract: This study explored teacher perspectives on the use of socioscientific issues (SSI) and on dealing with ethics in the context of science instruction. Twenty-two middle and high school science teachers from three US states participated in semi-structured interviews, and researchers employed inductive analyses to explore emergent patterns relative to the following two questions. (1) How do science teachers conceptualize the place of ethics in science and science education? (2) How do science teachers handle topics with ethical implications and expression of their own values in their classrooms? Profiles were developed to capture the views and reported practices, relative to the place of ethics in science and science classrooms, of participants. Profile A comprising teachers who embraced the notion of infusing science curricula with SSI and cited examples of using controversial topics in their classes. Profile B participants supported SSI curricula in theory but reported significant constraints which prohibited them from actualizing these goals. Profile C described teachers who were non-committal with respect to focusing instruction on SSI and ethics. Profile D was based on the position that science and science education should be value-free. Profile E transcended the question of ethics in science education; these teachers felt very strongly that all education should contribute to their students ethical development. Participants also expressed a wide range of perspectives regarding the expression of their own values in the classroom. Implications of this research for science education are discussed. ß 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 43: , 2006 Recent proposals for transforming science education to provide students with meaningful experiences that transcend the walls of classrooms and schools call for increased foci on controversial, socially relevant issues within science curricula (Driver, Newton, & Osborne, 2000; Hodson, 2003; Kolstø, 2001; Patronis, Potari, & Spiliotopoulou, 1999; Zeidler, 2003). These controversial issues, which bridge science and society have been termed socioscientific issues Correspondence to: T.D. Sadler; DOI /tea Published online 3 March 2006 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). ß 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
2 354 SADLER ET AL. (SSI); current examples include stem cell research, genetic engineering, cloning, and environmental problems. One of the ways that the SSI movement diverges from previous efforts to infuse science curricula and instruction with real-world applications, such as sciencetechnology-society (STS) approaches, is the SSI movement s explicit attention to the ethical aspects of social issues with conceptual, methodological, and/or technological ties to science (Zeidler, Sadler, Simmons, & Howes, 2005). Socioscientific issues frequently involve complex problems subject to scientific data as well as ethical considerations; therefore, efforts to preserve the oft-perceived objectivity of science by excluding values and ethics from the science classroom shelter students from the complexities of science as it is conducted in and applied to society (Hughes, 2000). This study explores teacher perspectives on efforts to incorporate controversial issues in secondary science classrooms and on dealing with ethics in the context of science instruction. Theoretical Framework Several authors have argued that if scientific literacy represents the ultimate aims of science education, then scientific literacy must entail, at least in part, the ability to thoughtfully negotiate SSI and contribute to discourse regarding these topics (Bingle & Gaskell, 1994; Driver et al., 2000; Hodson, 2003; Sadler, 2004a; Zeidler, Walker, Ackett, & Simmons, 2002). This perspective contends that scientific literacy for all students must include preparation for active participation in societies largely influenced by science and technology. The products and applications of science such as cloning and genetically modified foods help define the scope of public debate; and therefore, active participation in modern societies requires an understanding of and an appreciation for the complexities of SSI. Part of the complexity inherent to SSI stems from their inevitable associations with ethical considerations. Simply put, SSI are usually value-laden, and the juxtaposition of science and ethics can be uncomfortable for scientists, teachers, and students who define science in terms of objectivity. However, presenting an objective position clearly is difficult when addressing areas of contemporary controversy such as the use of genetically modified organisms (Hughes, 2000, p. 428). Beyond the deductive connections between science education and ethics (i.e., the goal of science education is the promotion of scientific literacy; scientific literacy includes the negotiation of SSI; SSI are value-laden; therefore, ethics should be a part of science education) the significance of ethics in the context of socioscientific decision-making has also been supported empirically. Several studies designed to explore patterns of reasoning regarding SSI have reported that ethical concerns are among the most important factors for individual decision-making. These results have been documented in the decision-making of subjects varying greatly in age including middle school (Hogan, 2002; Pedretti & Hodson, 1995), high school (Fleming, 1986; Zeidler et al., 2002), college (Sadler, 2004b; Sadler & Zeidler, 2004), and adults (Bell & Lederman, 2003) and across a variety of issue contexts including genetic engineering, biomedical research, environmental problems, and animal rights. To this point, discussion has focused on the significance of ethics in science in the case of SSI; however, values and ethics interact with science in a broader sense as well. Science, as a human enterprise, is embedded in the culture from which it emanates. Therefore, it necessarily is affected by and reflects the values and norms of a given society at a given time (Abd-El-Khalick, Bell, & Lederman, 1998; McComas, Clough, & Almazroa, 2000). Science as a discipline also subscribes to a series of epistemic values, which help define its character as a distinct way of knowing (Allchin, 1999). These values help establish how science is conducted and help determine how results are interpreted and used.
3 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 355 Values and ethics maintain a rightful position in both the discussion of SSI and in the broader domain of science, and therefore, should not be excluded from science classrooms. Allchin (1999) suggests that the exclusion of ethics from science education obscures the true nature of science and a deeper understanding of science, values, and objectivity...supports a mandate for discussing values in the science classroom. This need not seem risky or difficult (p. 9). Not only does Allchin support the explicit treatment of values in science, he also contends that these approaches should not be unduly troublesome for teachers to adopt in their classrooms. An important question, which has not received enough attention is what do practicing teachers think about these proposals to infuse ethics in science education? As with any efforts to reform education, the extent to which this proposal is actualized depends largely on teacher beliefs and intentions (Bybee, 1993). Several science education researchers have documented the significant relationships among teacher beliefs, teaching practices, and student learning experiences (Bryan & Atwater, 2002; Haney, Czerniak, & Lumpe, 1996; King, Shumow, & Lietz, 2001; Lederman, 1992; Tobin & LaMaster, 1995). Therefore, efforts to develop and promote curricula which highlight SSI as well as ethics and values associated with science, must account for teachers perspectives on these issues. Regardless of the impassioned positions of university-based educators and researchers, if classroom teachers do not adopt and implement these suggestions for change, then reform is restricted to the pages of academic journals and conference rooms. An assumption prevalent in science education literature suggests that teachers are wary of the proposed infusion of ethics and controversial issues in science classrooms: Traditionally, science education has dealt with established and secure knowledge, while contested knowledge, multiple solutions, controversy and ethics have been excluded (Hodson, 2003 p. 664). The most relevant topics to students in a particular school are often perceived by science teachers in those schools as too controversial to teach (McGinnis & Simmons, 1999, p. 180). This is a perfectly reasonable assumption especially in light of the seemingly ubiquitous controversies surrounding the teaching of evolution. Evolution is one of science s most robust and well-tested theories; and yet, because students, parents, and teachers perceive it conflicting with their religious ideas, the topic can become very difficult to cover in some cases and completely avoided in others (Sinclair & Baldwin, 1995; Trani, 2004). While it may in fact be the case that many science teachers do shy away from controversial issues as curricular topics, concluding that this is the only view surely under-represents the wealth and diversity of teacher perspectives on this issue. Research Focus This study explores how teachers perceive the position and significance of ethics in science education particularly with respect to SSI curricula. The research capitalizes on in-depth interviews and qualitative analytic techniques to better understand teacher beliefs about how values contribute to scientific research and progress and how these values should (or should not) be handled in classroom settings. Interviews are conducted with middle and secondary science teachers to reveal if/ how they deal with SSI and their ethical implications. The investigation also focuses on how practitioners deal with the expression of their own values and perceived risks of indoctrination. In the following section, previous findings, which relate to the current project are reviewed with the goal of situating this project and its results.
4 356 SADLER ET AL. Literature Review An early attempt (Glenn & Gennaro, 1981) to flesh out teacher perspectives on dealing with controversial issues in science classes revealed a willingness on the part of science teachers to address value-laden issues. Glenn and Gennaro (1981) administered an attitudinal survey to science teachers in an effort to understand beliefs toward interdisciplinary topics and value questions. Approximately 70% of the teachers supported the idea that scientific topics, which treat values or social issues should be addressed in science courses, and over 60% of the teachers reported that they had actually dealt with value-laden issues in their classrooms. These results were based on a relatively brief survey with no follow-up work and little information presented regarding validity or reliability; however, they at least suggest that the prevailing assumptions regarding teacher perspectives on ethics in science education warrant more attention. As the STS movement gained momentum in the 1980s and 90s, a number of studies focused on teacher beliefs relative to enacting STS curricula. While STS approaches do not always highlight ethics and values (Zeidler et al., 2005), they tend to focus on issues which certainly could provoke ethical discussions. Mitchener and Anderson (1987) studied teachers involved in the implementation of STS curricula. The authors characterized teacher beliefs by developing three descriptive profiles of the participants. Some teachers embraced STS as a means of connecting science to students lives; others resisted STS approaches because they perceived much of the curricula belonging in the realm of school social studies as opposed to school science; and the final group cited time constraints as an impediment to the enactment of STS curricula. Lumpe, Haney, and Czerniak (1998) revealed similar trends in a survey study utilizing a large random sample of K-12 teachers from Ohio. Like Mitchener and Anderson s first group, many of these teachers perceived the value of using STS issues to make science relevant for students, but they also felt limited by the amount of time that could be devoted to these topics. Lack of appropriate resources and training at both preservice and inservice phases were also cited as serious constraints to the implementation of STS. One unexpected finding was the tendency for less-experienced teachers to be more likely to use STS topics than more veteran colleagues. McGinnis and Simmons (1999) conducted a sociocultural analysis of five teachers involved with STS inservice training. The qualitative nature of the investigation allowed the researchers to gain in-depth perspectives on how these teachers dealt with teaching controversial topics. The teachers supported the use of STS curricula and worked to incorporate STS topics in their classrooms, but they gravitated toward non-controversial issues to the exclusion of more overtly value-laden subjects. They cited problems with any issues, which had the potential to challenge biblical perspectives. The teachers generally felt that environmental problems were less likely to be perceived as controversial and therefore were easier to cover; although, they were sensitive to any topics which challenged or threatened local industry. This study highlighted the importance of teachers understanding local culture and the need for administrative support for dealing with controversial curricular decisions. Cross and Price (1996) explored attitudes and commitments to teaching controversial topics in science with secondary teachers from Scotland and the US. Interviews revealed a general tendency for most teachers to address at least some controversial issues with their classes, but the approaches and frequencies varied. Biology teachers were more likely to incorporate controversial issues with any consistency than their colleagues from other disciplines. Most of the participants felt strongly about presenting both sides of issues, but how they dealt with the expression of their own values was quite variable. Some teachers maintained the idea that their personal values should be excluded from the classroom because science should ideally be objective. However, others took the position that the exclusion of their own values would be
5 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 357 artificial and actually impossible. They believed that values, including their own, were necessary aspects of SSI discussions. As revealed in the Lumpe et al. (1998) study, these teachers cited a lack of resources to help structure quality learning experiences in the context of controversial issues. In a recent study of teacher attitudes and classroom practices relative to a biotechnology training program, Bryce and Gray (2004) found many of the same patterns discussed by other authors. All of the participants generally agreed that biotechnology was an important topic for school science but the extent to which this topic was incorporated into classrooms varied. The participants all taught in Scotland, which possesses explicit expectations for science classes to cover social and ethical aspects of science. However, even with this national mandate, the pressures of high stakes testing tended to marginalize the social aspects of SSI instruction. Participants tended to advocate neutral presentations of controversial issues without the inclusion of their own values. The researchers concluded that teacher training represented a serious impediment to the success of SSI initiatives. In addition to the challenge of understanding the science of biotechnology and other SSI, teachers required skills for structuring and leading classroom discussions: The research indicates that much needs to be tackled by way of professional development for science teachers now engaged in dimensions new to science teaching (p. 717). Others have expressed similar concerns especially with respect to science teachers facilitating discussions of science s ethical and/or religious implications (Levinson, 2004; Loving & Foster, 2000). The reviewed research revealed a number of consistent trends. Teachers tended to embrace the idea of using controversial SSI in science classrooms, but far fewer actually incorporated the topics into their curricula on a consistent basis. Furthermore, explicit treatment of values and ethics was even more suspect. Teachers felt that when controversial topics were covered in courses, that it was very important for both sides of the issue to be covered. Teachers typically felt ill prepared to engage classes in controversial discussions, and they also cited a lack of appropriate resources to help structure these experiences. Finally, time constraints were frequently offered as impediments to dealing with STS or SSI topics. The current study built on and added to this research base by explicitly exploring teacher perspectives on value-laden issues and the discussion of ethics in science classrooms. It also investigated why teachers choose to cover and/ or not cover controversial issues with their students. Methods Sample A purposeful sampling scheme (Creswell, 2003) was employed in order to ensure that multiple voices were expressed in the rendering of data. The researchers identified fifteen schools from across eight districts in three US states to contact for potential participants. Districts and schools were selected on the basis of researcher contacts with building or district level administrators who could provide access to science teachers. The researchers did not target specific teachers but used administrative contacts to identify likely participants. This strategy was employed so that teachers specializing in a variety of science disciplines (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics), working with different sets of state standards, and representing a wide range of experiences would contribute to the dialogue. The final sample comprising 22 science teachers from two Midwestern and one Southeastern state. Fourteen high school teachers from 7 schools and 8 middle school teachers from 5 schools participated in interviews. However, the audio-recordings for two of the middle school teachers malfunctioned, and consequently, their data were not included in the analyses. As few as one and
6 358 SADLER ET AL. as many as four teachers were sampled from any one school. Seventy-five per cent had earned Master s degrees as their terminal degree; the others held Bachelor s degrees. Levels of experience ranged from a first year teacher to a 35-year veteran. The mean and median years of experience were 13. Twelve women and 8 men participated in the study. With the exception of one male who classified himself as White/25% Chinese, all participants identified themselves as White or Caucasian. The participants taught a wide variety of subjects including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, integrated science, anatomy, and all three levels of middle school science (i.e., 6th, 7th, and 8th grade). Table 1 presents a summary of pertinent demographic information. Data Collection Researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with each of the participants. They used findings from other research projects, reviewed earlier, to help develop a general interview protocol (see Appendix A). The protocol challenged participants to consider the idealized role of ethics in science and science classrooms. Interviewers asked participants to comment on recent proposals to infuse SSI in science curricula, to offer issues they deemed appropriate for their own classrooms, and to describe examples of how they have focused instruction on SSI or specifically dealt with value-laden topics. The participants also discussed how they handled the expression of their own values in the classroom particularly in the context of controversial social issues. Interviewers followed the general protocol but freely explored ideas as were raised by the participants. The interviews lasted from 30 to 90 minutes with most of them lasting about 40 minutes. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis. Table 1 Participant background information Groups n Sex Female 12 Male 8 Race White 19 Chinese 1 Highest degree Master s 15 Batchelor s 5 School level High school 14 Middle school 6 Subjects taught a Biology b 7 Chemistry 6 7th Grade Science 6 8th Grade Science 5 Earth Space Science 3 Integrated Science 3 Anatomy 2 Physics 2 6th Grade Science 1 a Most participants reported teaching more than one subject. b This category includes Advanced Placement biology and zoology.
7 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 359 Data Analysis Participants ideas and perspectives were explored in a manner consistent with inductive data analysis (Peräkylä, 2005) and the constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). After all interviews had been conducted, the four authors engaged in an iterative process whereby they independently reviewed sets of common transcripts, developed tentative analytic models, discussed individual analyses (from each of the four authors), consolidated individual analyses in a group model, and then returned to the data for another round of analysis. The authors initially reviewed five transcripts to note general patterns and emergent themes. The research team met to discuss analytic overlap and novelties. In the second iteration, the authors reexamined the first five transcripts for correspondence to the emergent model and reviewed an additional five interviews. During this round of analysis, two authors independently came up with the idea of characterizing groups of participants with general profiles aimed at capturing the salient features of their perspectives. All team members then reevaluated the original ten transcripts and noted the emergence of four general profiles. In another analytic iteration, authors read and classified 15 of the transcripts. During this round, the original four profiles were refined and a final, fifth profile was identified. Finally, three of the authors reviewed all of the transcripts in order to confirm the adequacy of the emergent taxonomy and to classify each of the participants within the developed profiles. The authors independently assigned all of the participants to the same profiles with one exception. One author assigned one participant to a profile that did not match the analysis of the other two. After a discussion of the transcript, it was decided that the dissenting author misinterpreted sections of the transcript and agreed with the analysis of the others. The emergent profiles effectively captured most of the research themes for this study (viz., teacher perspectives on values and ethics in science education, the extent to which teachers incorporate SSI, etc.); however, they did not account for the issue of how participants handled the expression of their own values. Opinions regarding how teachers should handle this complex issue varied widely, and individuals within one profile were no more likely to share views with one another than they were with participants in other profiles. Therefore, this research focus was explored independently of the analysis of profiles. Analysis of perspectives on how teachers should express their values was also inductive, iterative, and constantly grounded in actual data sources. Initially, the four authors read through all of the transcripts noting emergent patterns and themes relative to these issues. After consolidating and refining these analyses in a model that drew from the strengths of all four independent analyses, two authors reexamined the transcripts and applied the analytic framework. This resulted in a series of patterns which will be described in the results section. Trustworthiness The authors made use of a variety of strategies to build the trustworthiness (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) of this work. Purposeful sampling was used as a means of ensuring a diverse data set so as to increase the possibility that at least some of the data and analyses will be applicable for other researchers and educators. Given the approaches chosen for data collection and analysis, generalizability was not an appropriate goal. The authors did provide background information on the participants and offered thick descriptions to better enable readers to judge applicability. Credibility was built primarily through investigator triangulation. The four authors engaged in an extended period of iterative analysis cycles. They continuously reevaluated data, debated interpretations, and engaged in negative case analysis. In the development of the final taxonomies, one (in the case of the emergent profiles) and two (in the case of the secondary analysis of how
8 360 SADLER ET AL. teachers expressed their own values) authors served as peer debriefers. Confirmability was established through the use of a comprehensive audit log which tracked data analysis patterns as the research team moved through multiple iterations. Results and Discussion Given the qualitative nature of the data and analyses, discussion was embedded in the presentation of results. As the analysis proceeded, two trends became immediately apparent: (1) a great deal of diversity existed among participant perspectives on issues central to the research focus; however, (2) multiple participants shared views on a variety of topics. The most effective means of describing similarities among participants of comparable persuasions while simultaneously highlighting the diversity of perspectives was the development of profiles for classifying groups of participants. Profiles were developed to capture the views and reported practices, relative to the place of ethics in science and science classrooms, of a group of participants. All of the participants were positioned within one of five profiles, which emerged from careful considerations of the interview data. For simplicity, the profiles were labeled A through E. The salient features for each of the profiles and representative interview excerpts are presented in Table 2. Before proceeding with the presentation of profiles, a trend common across four of the five profiles will be discussed. Science and Ethics The opening question for all of the interviews asked participants to reflect on the role and position of values and ethics in science. With only one exception, which will be discussed in the description of Profile D, all participants acknowledged a significant role for values and ethics in science. A sample response representative of many of the participants comments follows. (The codes following this quotation and those presented later indicate the profile to which a participant was assigned and individual identification numbers.) We are always going to be as we find out more and more we are always going to be faced with the opportunity to ask the question should we go there or not? Such things as cloning of humans there are certainly many pros that can be made for that and there are certainly many cons and that can be made for that. It is one of those things that we need to seriously contemplate the potential benefits and also contemplate the potential misuses or abuses of this new gained knowledge. (E2) Regarding the relationship between science and ethics, participants discussed several topics including how social values influenced what was studied, the importance of epistemic values for reliable and productive conduct of science, and ethical questions raised by scientific products and results. The teachers acknowledgment and appreciation of the interdependence of science and ethics necessarily influenced how they conceptualized the SSI and discussions of ethics in their classrooms. Profile A The participants composing Profile A shared three main characteristics: (1) they agreed that controversial SSI are important aspects of science education, (2) they contended that ethics and values are necessarily involved in SSI discussions and instructional activities, and (3) they covered these kinds of topics in their classes. These participants possessed a vision of science and science
9 Table 2 Salient features of each profile Profile Salient Feature Example A B C D Participants view SSI as important aspects of science education Participants suggest that ethics are necessarily involved in SSI curricula Participants present SSI in their classes Participants view SSI as important aspects of science education The current realities of schooling impede the enactment of socioscientific curricula Participants hold ambivalent attitudes toward SSI in science curricula Participants do not feel their professional responsibilities include facilitating the exploration of ethics Participant rejects the idea that science and ethics are interrelated SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 361 I think so [it is the responsibility of teachers to deal with the ethical aspects of science] because I think that these are decisions that the kids are going to be facing in some time in their own future and there needs to be some establishment of some ideas so that when they are hit with these ideas they are not in their 20 s and their 30 s...i think they need to be developing ideas as their knowledge develops. I think as their knowledge develops their values and ethics need to kind of go along with that. (A15) I don t see how you can keep from having ethical issues if you are going to talk about genetics or other topics like that. You just cannot stay away from it because they [students] have to know what s out there. (A14) We do a debate. We have simulated a town...and they [students] get identities and jobs and they have a certain income...they have been using the landfill in the town next door to them. The landfill closes down and suddenly they are having to struggle with what to do with their garbage... (A18) [Dealing with SSI helps build student] understanding of how important science is today in our world and how important it is to address those topics right now gene therapy, stem cell research we re talking about possible cures for things that we ve never even dreamed of. I think students need to know that science is not just something you read in the book; it is not just something you do a little lab on. It is the way you live your lives...they need to realize that science does not just happen in high school-it does not just happen in the hospital; it is everywhere and the decisions that we make by participating in the voting process that could change a lot of things for a lot of people. (B6) The problem with standards, at least what I have seen that this level our administration wants them posted on the board; they want them posted everywhere. We have people that are modifying their entire curriculum so that if something is not in the standards, we do not talk about it...so if ethics and values are not in a standard, then teachers are not going to address it unless it is just one of their really pet things to do. It is just not going to be done. (B4) I think it s good teaching to show students that there are some ethical issues out there in regard to science...but I don t think it s really my responsibility or my position. (C9) I feel comfortable presenting information that I feel is very well documented, that has been through the scientific process and it has been repeated over and over again in the laboratory...i don t think it s [SSI] something that they re [most students] all that concerned about, and it s not my responsibility to expand their horizons on those issues. (C9) I don t think values play any role in science other than the value for the scientific method and the role of science in our society, and I don t think we should have any sort of outside influence other than what s going on in the science world. (D11) (Continued )
10 362 SADLER ET AL. Table 2 (Continued) Profile Salient Feature Example E Participant is opposed to science classroom treatments of ethics Participants suggest that values should be important aspects of all education Science is just what it is. So as long as the conversation [in science classrooms] revolves around what is it, what s going on, not whether it is good or bad then I think that s fine...i want to teach facts and that s pretty much it. (D11) I did become a teacher because I felt that I did represent a lot of the values that I think-american values. You hear other teachers doing the porn thing on their computer and all this stuff so there are some poor values taught...i would like to contribute to stopping that. I m the kind of teacher that is going to teach good values that are going to help. (E5) teaching, which included ethics as an essential theme of the discipline. When asked to justify their decisions to focus instruction on SSI and their ethical implications, these teachers cited one or both of the following two rationales. First, modern, democratic societies demand an informed populace capable of making decisions on controversial, value-laden issues. Many of these issues are based on science and technology, and it is the responsibility of science teachers to help prepare students to think critically, weigh scientific evidence, and negotiate complex ethical terrain. Responsible citizenship requires active participation which itself requires a form of scientific literacy that involves the thoughtful negotiation of SSI. The interview excerpt below provides an example of this line of thinking: In the United states, which is a democratic society, you have to be able to make decisions so you can vote appropriately your conscience...i think it is important for them to be able to form an informed decision. (A13) Second, SSI serve as effective means of relating science to students lives. Dealing with controversial science topics in the classroom can stimulate interest among students and help them establish relevance for what they are learning. The example below expresses this rationale: It [SSI] is one of the things that allow teachers to tap into student interests because if they can understand that there is relevance to learning this knowledge and that it is something that they are going to encounter someday, and then they understand why they need to know about it. (A17) Teachers from Profile A advocated student-centered approaches toward SSI instruction. As represented in the interview excerpt below, they consistently discussed the importance of establishing classroom environments which supported students as they negotiated controversial issues according to the students own beliefs, values, and experiences. I try to get them to think about it [controversial issues]. I don t tell them what to think. What we try to do is to get them to seriously evaluate what they re thinking or what their ideas are, how they might affect others, or how it might even affect them in terms of decisions that would have to be made and things of that nature. (A15) The participants encouraged students to express and critically evaluate their positions. These teachers perceived their own roles in terms of facilitating student thought and discourse. They
11 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 363 talked about posing thought-provoking questions which frequently hinted at the ethical quandaries underlying SSI, helping students build confidence in their own decision making capabilities, and encouraged the open expression of ideas. One specific approach mentioned by a few of these participants was the practice of exposing students to multiple perspectives. Students were encouraged to express and explore their own views but were also explicitly challenged to consider perspectives that might be contradictory to their own. In discussing this theme, a few teachers noted their hesitance to deal with overtly religious topics. While acknowledging the influence of religious ideas, at least some participants specifically tried to avoid discussions of religious doctrine. They focused instead on what they perceived to be more secular approaches such as the application of justice principles or environmental ethics. Profile A teachers reported having adopted a variety of strategies for introducing SSI in their classrooms. They used class discussions, role playing activities, debates, persuasive writing assignments, service learning projects, and independent research activities among other strategies. They also described having worked with students on many topics, with socioscientific and/or ethical aspects; a small sample of issues included genetic engineering, local environmental problems, artic oil drilling, stem cell research, fraudulent science, and technologically advanced weapons systems. One area of variation within the profile was the extent to which individuals used these issues. Whereas some teachers described curricula based on and driven by SSI, others seemed to use SSI as curricular add-ons. In the former case, teachers consistently implemented units based on SSI, and these efforts represented the majority of instruction. In the latter case, relevant SSI were woven into units based on more traditional appropriations of science content. It should be noted that while none of the participants ruled out the importance of ethics in any science discipline, most of the discussions related to topics associated with biology and environmental science. Throughout the interviews, issues typically perceived as impediments to SSI curricula emerged either through interviewer questions or participants comments. Time limitations, parental concerns, lack of administrative support, and pressures of standardized testing were all mentioned as potential constraints. However, Profile A participants approached these issues as minor inconveniences rather than serious impediments. They considered the potential problems and had found ways to avoid or mitigate the difficulties. This tendency is demonstrated in the following excerpt: At this point, it s [pressures associated with standards] not a problem. So I don t worry about that I have to get this done and this done and this done. I am more concerned with having a thorough discussion and good knowledge bas on what we cover as opposed to just how much we cover. (A15) Profile B Like their Profile A colleagues, participants composing Profile B supported the proposal to include SSI in science curricula and to direct attention to the ethical implications of these issues. They consistently cited rationales, which echoed the sentiments of Profile A participants: SSI instruction is fundamental for preparing students to be future citizens in a society dependent on science. Curricula that help students develop positions relative to complex, ethically challenging problems promote skills necessary for active participation in modern, democratic societies. These teachers also cited SSI and associated discussions of values and ethics as effective strategies for connecting science to student lives. They believed that students were more apt to be interested in and relate to controversial issues in science than more traditional science content.
12 364 SADLER ET AL. The major feature distinguishing Profile B from the other classifications was a focus on impediments to the enactment of socioscientific curricula. These teachers agreed with the idea of infusing science courses with the discussion of SSI and ethics but felt constrained in terms of actualizing this proposal. Whereas Profile A participants perceived external constraints as surmountable inconveniences, Profile B participants saw many of the same constraints as insurmountable impediments to their pedagogical decisions with respect to SSI. Given the current realities of schooling and existing constraints, these participants reported spending very limited time discussing SSI only on occasions when the issues happened to emerge in their classes. All of the participants in this group suggested that in an ideal world, with more freedom over the content and timing of their courses, ethics and values would be an essential part of their instruction. A common problem cited was a lack of instructional time. Nearly all of profile B participants felt that the demands of standards and accountability plans prohibited them from covering any material that students would not likely see on standardized tests. They explained that the breadth of material required by state standards was overwhelming and did not allow time for topics such as SSI, especially not in a manner that encouraged extended engagement with the material and protracted contemplation of the underlying ethics. Therefore, SSI were not part of their planned curricula and were seldom discussed in their classrooms. If students happened to raise such a topic, the issue would be minimally covered through quick teacher explanations or brief, informal class discussions. This pattern is reflected in the excerpt presented below: No it [SSI] is not a big part [of my instruction]. I will tell you why. We have state standards that we have to teach and we have to get through the material and we only have so much time to teach so current issues in science would be very time consuming. Even with the AP biology, keeping current issues what ever they are problems, pollution matters, issues with DNA just takes time away from the material that we are required to get through...i think it is important, but our superiors are telling us that we have to get through this material and they re looking at test scores. (B3) The absence of SSI and the ethics of science from state science standards were actually cited as a constraint from two different perspectives. In addition to the lack of instructional time due to the pressure of covering standards, some teachers, like the individual quoted below, were hesitant to deal with controversial topics that were not enumerated in the standards. We have state standards that everyone is supposed cover and we have that as guidelines and I would think that if we re going to include controversial issues to cover yourself and your school district, I think that the state should address those in their standards and say that current controversial topics such as maybe they will name three that should be addressed...i think it should be something that is covered by the state so that when people talk about it we do not have to worry because it is a little bit of a worry [to cover controversial topics now]. (B6) Profile B participants felt a sense of insecurity in not having an approved mandate for addressing issues that could be politically and ethically divisive. Participants referred to problems experienced around the country by teachers covering material deemed controversial such as evolution. Participants avoided value-laden issues because they were concerned about job security and the legal ramifications of dealing with controversial topics. Whereas, each of the constraints described to this point were raised by multiple participants, the remaining two issues were each identified by a single individual (but not the same individual) in this profile. One participant cited the lack of appropriate curricular materials. This individual
13 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 365 felt that even if s/he had wanted to and could cover controversial science topics, s/ he lacked the instructional support materials necessary for meaningful learning opportunities: I think that students today should probably be aware [of SSI] we might be able to do it [a biotechnological application] but should we? I really do not think that our textbooks address that. They are really behind on the science and ethics and values because the textbook is all just basic curriculum. (B4) Another participant felt unprepared to deal with the ethical dimensions of SSI. This participant felt uncomfortable managing classroom activities involving contentious issues: I m not really prepared to deal with these [controversial] issues and know maybe there is someone who s better at that type of thing than I am. So it s difficult and uncomfortable for me personally...[participant describes trying to introduce a value-laden environmental issue in class]...i tried to get the class engaged in a conversation and I remember that was not successful and not feeling like I had been able to do what I wanted to. (B12) For both participants, SSI represented pedagogically complex topics for which they lacked resources or training. Profile C Like the overwhelming majority of participants, the teachers making up Profile C perceived the link between ethics and science particularly with respect to SSI. However, they did not see these as priority topics in science education. The defining feature for Profile C, represented in the interview excerpt below, was an ambivalent attitude towards SSI. Well, we don t really get into the ethical side of it [SSI] too much where there is a right or wrong because I just don t like to get into that kind of situation...i don t want to get into that because that involves a lot of time, you know, I mean, you have to research it in order to make it relevant for them [students]. (C8) Profile C participants recognized the growing prevalence and social significance of controversial science issues but did not fully embrace the notion of infusing these issues in their curricula. They acknowledged the mutual interactions of science and society but did not agree that SSI should necessarily be a part of science education. Several of these participants suggested that social studies teachers may choose to explore the ethical implications of SSI, but they did not support the idea of discussing ethics in a science class. These teachers, like the individual quoted below, did not advocate positions to actively exclude discussion of SSI, but they did not reflectively plan for the discussion of value-laden issues. Last year we did some debate stuff. Those were the days that I was a bit unorganized, and I didn t know what else to do, but this year, no [I have not focused on SSI]...We have done stuff very informally...never anything written, just a chance to express their [students ] opinions. More like when I had time to kill at the end of the period. (C22) Profile C participants suggested that SSI instruction should focus primarily on the science. These participants felt their professional responsibilities entailed the presentation of scientific facts and data and not necessarily the ethical and emotional ramifications associated with scientific problems and products.
14 366 SADLER ET AL. I think we re obligated to give honest straight answers and that is where we have to separate ourselves from the emotional side of that, and that is where we get into these things [SSI]. (C1) If controversial topics happened to emerge in their classes, Profile C teachers might allow limited informal discussion, but would not encourage protracted exploration. If they [students] are open to discussion and they want to spend some time talking about it [SSI], then we talk about it, but we just can t do that all the time. (C20) Profile C participants also cited a series of constraints to enacting SSI curriculum similar to the impediments articulated by Profile B teachers. The quote below presents an example: I am pressed for time and am up against the standards. Yeah, a debate is going to be good, but if you have to spend a week researching stem cells, yeah that is nice, but maybe for an after school thing, but I just see so many other things that I have to do. (C22) However, whereas Profile B participants suggested that externally imposed constraints were the primary reasons for not focusing instruction on SSI, Profile C teachers offered constraints in addition to their general ambivalence towards the proposal. They talked about the problem of not having enough time in the curriculum, the limitations of standards, and issues related to job security, but it was highly unlikely that these individuals would have changed their instruction even with the removal of these impediments. The tangible constraints were secondary to the general belief that it was not the responsibility of science teachers to address the social and ethical aspects of controversial issues even if they were conceptually related to science. Profile D Developing a means of describing the perspectives of multiple participants was the purpose of basing this analysis on profiles. The profiles captured ideas shared by several individuals, but within any one profile, individuals might have possessed variation as well. For instance, not all teachers in Profile A embraced SSI curricula for the same reasons. Despite variation within any one profile, participants in a profile shared key features relative to how they conceptualized the role of ethics in science and science education. However, one participant presented views very dissimilar to all profiles. Unlike all other participants, this teacher rejected the notion that science and ethics were necessarily interrelated: I don t think values play any role in science other than the value for the scientific method and the role of science in our society, and I don t think we should have any sort of outside influence other than what s going on in the science world. (D11) Furthermore, whereas other participants either embraced the idea of incorporating SSI in classroom science or expressed ambivalence toward the suggestion, this teacher was openly opposed to any discussion of social or ethical issues in the context of a science classroom. Given the polarity of the views held by this participant, the researchers designated him as his own analytic group: Profile D. In some senses, establishing a profile for a single participant appeared to defeat the purpose of presenting profiles as descriptive tools; however, because this participant expressed ideas so disparate from everyone else in the study, the researchers felt justified in creating a profile for only one individual. In the researchers judgment, it would have been more inappropriate to
15 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 367 inaccurately represent data offered by this participant by forcing him into a non-representative profile than to create a separate profile for only one individual. The Profile D teacher assumed a positivist account of science. Consistent with this perspective, D11 saw no place for the discussion of values and ethics in science classrooms. He stressed that if SSI happened to arise in a classroom, then teachers should only focus on the science to the exclusion of any social or ethical implications: I think that especially at the high school level...it s [SSI] not something you really get to that much, but I wouldn t have a problem talking about it as long as you know it s based on here s what s going on, here is the facts and not whether we should or shouldn t do something. I don t think there s any room for that. There is plenty of other stuff to talk about. You are teaching the class based on just science...you know touching on the ethics of it, I don t think that that s not appropriate to raise. (D11) This position was at least similar to views offered by Profile C teachers; these individuals generally felt that dealing with the ethics of science was beyond their professional responsibilities. D11 went further to say that discussions of ethics in science were not only beyond his professional responsibilities, they were inappropriate. He believed that science is solely about learning facts. Therefore, he argued that any discussions of SSI that may arise occasionally in science classrooms should only deal with the scientific and factual aspects of these topics and not their ethical dimensions. According to this participant, conversations about such topics in a science classroom need to focus on scientific concepts and certainly not on normative ethical questions. He suggested that teachers in other disciplines (e.g., history, humanities, or philosophy) may choose to approach these topics but science teachers should steer clear altogether. The Profile D participant also challenged the premise that SSI curricula could even be useful in a high school context. He suggested that without expert knowledge, people should not make judgments on complex SSI. He questioned whether members of the general public, let alone high school students, understood enough science to even make SSI decisions. You bring up the cloning thing, that s biochemistry you know. You have to go through your junior year of college really to learn the specifics on that. I don t think you can really understand or have enough of an appreciation on that topic until you understand it at the molecular level. I don t know that just normal people [can make those decisions]...you really have to get very specific before you can make judgments on that sort of thing and I don t know if that s I just don t see my kids anywhere near. (D11) This participant completely dichotomized science and ethics and challenged the notion of scientific literacy for citizenship as offered by Profiles A and B teachers. Profile E Most participants in this study framed their discussions of ethics in science education in a manner consistent with ideas that guided the design of this study. They focused primarily on the ethics and values associated with scientific research and products. For example, many participants discussed encouraging their students to consider normative questions like whether science should pursue stem cell research and how genetic engineering should be regulated. However, the two participants forming Profile E framed their discussions in a unique manner. They thought about values in education in a much broader sense than their colleagues. Whereas most participants thought of values in science education primarily in terms of controversial SSI, Profile E teachers
16 368 SADLER ET AL. talked about values in terms of their own perceived roles in promoting the ethical development of students. The question of whether values should be an explicit focus of SSI instruction was less important to them than whether values should be an explicit focus of education in general. They believed that values should be important aspects of education regardless of discipline (e.g., science, math, literature, etc.). The interview exchange below exemplifies the defining character of Profile E. E2: I think we should actually be talking about ethics even detached from science I think it is something people shy away from because they are afraid they re going to be charged with putting forward their own opinions and their own values, but I think it is something that with the decreasing amount of time that nuclear families spend together that increasingly schools are a place for not only educating children but raising them. Part of raising children is to introduce a sense of fairness and a sense of ethical behavior toward each other, toward teachers, toward people in the community and most of all, expecting it to be shown toward them at all times. I actually support I see that as more important I see that as the beginning place and I see it as an extension into science. Interviewer: Would it be correct for me to interpret that in a science classroom as well as any other classroom, regardless of content, we have a responsibility to teach kids values and ethics? E2: I certainly feel that way. I ve said many times to people that I teach students; I do not teach science. If I get to some science along the way, so much the better. This participant went on to suggest that teachers have an ethical obligation to promote character development among the young people with whom they work. The other Profile E participant echoed these sentiments as he discussed his personal motivations for teaching: I try to teach values...how to go through their [students ] daily lives and how they should act and how they should treat other people...that is one of the reasons that I wanted to become a teacher. (E5) Neither of these participants disagreed with the ideas expressed by Profiles A and B participants: science education should provide opportunities for students to explore ethical complexities of controversial science issues. When specifically asked by an interviewer, Profile E teachers could discuss some examples of using SSI in their classrooms as well as many of the external constraints raised by their colleagues, but their foci with respect to ethics in education were clearly broader. Patterns across Profiles While presenting frequency of qualitative categories was deemed unnecessary to some (Eisner, 1991), we explored these data as a means of identifying important trends (see Table 3). The comparisons of these data were not interpreted as generalizable conclusions, but they did highlight patterns from within the present sample. Five of the six middle school teachers supported the idea of infusing science curricula with SSI including their ethical implications (Profiles A and B), and four reported having followed up on this proposal (Profile A). The high school teachers were less consistent in their support of the proposal. Five of the 14 high school participants had chosen not to focus instruction on controversial science issues (Profiles C and D). Even among those high school teachers who supported the idea of SSI curricula, most reported that they failed to incorporate these themes in their own classrooms because of constraints imposed upon them. In
17 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 369 Table 3 Participant background information by profile Profiles A B C D E n Average years of experience 12.6 (11.5) 9 (5.1) 21.4 (12.1) (3.5) (standard deviation) Highest degree Batchelor s Master s School level High school Middle school Sex Female Male Subjects taught a Earth Space Science Integrated Science b Life Science c Physical Science d a Most participants reported teaching more than one subject. b Integrated science included high school integrated and general science as well as middle school science not otherwise identified. c Life science included biology, anatomy, and 7th grade life science. d Physical science included chemistry, physics, and 8th grade physical science. comparing the interview responses of middle and high school participants, the most consistent difference was the perceived consequences of standards and measures of accountability. As a group, the middle school teachers expressed awareness of state standards and standardized testing but felt relatively uninhibited by them. In contrast, the high school teachers suggested that standards and associated plans for assessment and accountability were the driving forces for most curricular decisions being made in their schools and classrooms. They described the climate as very high-pressured and stifling toward their own input in terms of the kinds of topics explored in their classes. In one of the states from which the sample was drawn, the use of statewide end-ofcourse exams for determining successful completion of science courses was being debated. Many of the high school teachers felt that the breadth of science standards was too broad, and therefore, they needed to spend as much time as possible covering the kinds of content, which would likely appear on the exams to the exclusion of all other material including SSI. Differences between female and male participants emerged as another clear pattern in the data. Eleven of 12 females supported SSI curricula and 6 implemented these curricula with ethical foci. In contrast, five of eight males were ambivalent toward the proposal or opposed to it. As the transcripts were reanalyzed to explore possible differences in female and male responses, interesting distinctions emerged. The female participants tended to conceptualize science as a discipline or area of inquiry, which necessarily involved ethics and other social considerations. In other words, they did not view ethics as different from science but rather a part of it. In contrast, male participants tended to draw sharp distinctions between what they perceived as independent disciplines: science and ethics. From this perspective, ethics can inform the selection of scientific questions or the use of scientific products, but ultimately science can be separated from ethics. Reflective of these trends, the females frequently discussed contextualized examples of socioscientific issues which interweaved questions of science and ethics; whereas, the males
18 370 SADLER ET AL. more frequently discussed ethics in more abstract terms. In the first excerpt below, A17 discusses how her class deals with the ethics of genetic engineering in a manner that represents the kind of approach offered by several women in the study. The quote from C1 presents the more abstracted view of science exhibited by several of the men. A17: We are finishing the year with genetics and the kids are looking at genetically inherited diseases, so in the area of genetics engineering, you know, is it okay to pick your baby s sex? Is it okay to select against if you can, with in vitro fertilization, fertilized zygote that are carrying unfavorable traits? And at what point do you say that s unfavorable enough to allow to selection?... C1: We re constantly finding new things and I make a big deal talking about what a scientific model is and how it can change and does not break down science. What it does show is that science is constantly trying to find out the truth... Interviewer: Is there room in that model for the influence of personal values? C1: There probably should not be, not if you re going to stay strictly science. The approach common among the female participants presented an integrated picture of science and ethics, and the approach common among male participants suggested the application of ethics into science, a strategy, which preserves disciplinary boundaries. The final trend related to subject matter taught. The vast majority (9 of 11) of teachers who taught life science courses supported the idea of SSI curricula, and four of these individuals reported using SSI in their classrooms. For most participants, including those who did not teach life science, the connections between ethics and science were easiest to see in the area of biology. Whereas most life science teachers were able to discuss a variety of SSI pertinent to their classes, physical, earth and integrated science teachers often struggled to describe value-laden issues in their fields. The emergence of biotechnology, advances in genetics, and prevalence of ecological issues over the last decade created numerous opportunities for teachers to integrate SSI into their life science curricula, but the links between science and society were less pronounced in other disciplines. Expressing Teachers Own Values Participant perspectives on the expression of their own values in the classroom varied within and among profiles; therefore, the profiles did not serve as useful analytic tools for this research focus. The questions of whether and how participants shared their own values with students when controversial issues arose in their classrooms were explored independent of the profiles. The participants unanimously agreed that teachers should not attempt to impose their values on students, and that the primary goal of dealing with ethics in science was to promote critical thinking and student exploration of their own values. A majority of the participants asserted the belief that it was important to present both sides of an issue when dealing with controversial topics, but they differed with respect to how they dealt with the expression of their own values. A large number of participants reported that they avoided sharing their personal beliefs. They felt it inappropriate to share personal ideas and did not want to be perceived as trying to advance a personal agenda. At least two individuals were concerned about the legal ramifications of a teacher sharing ideas that potentially related to their religious beliefs. Another group of participants held the same general beliefs, but acknowledged that if students really pressed them on an issue, they would present their opinions and necessarily reveal their values relevant to the issue. These two positions characterized three quarters of the sample so the prevailing notion was that teachers
19 SOCIOSCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS 371 should keep their beliefs to themselves under most circumstances. However, one participant directly challenged that position: she suggested that teacher values necessarily emerge in their classrooms. She did not advocate actively promoting a certain ethical position, but recognized that teaching involved the transmission of implicit values. A final group of participants felt that it was their responsibility to share personal beliefs. Like all of their colleagues, these teachers strongly objected to explicitly promoting their values, but argued that they served as models for responsible behavior and decision-making. They reasoned that excluding their values from discussions of controversial issues would imply that values had no role in responsible citizenship. When pressed to justify their positions in response to criticism that this approach could unduly influence students, these teachers countered with the belief that their values represented mainstream, American values. They felt that the promotion of mainstream values was less problematic than the implicit message of value exclusion. Interview excerpts are presented in Table 4 substantiate the four major themes (i.e., exclude values, express values when asked, values necessarily emerge, and present values). Implications From the perspective that posits negotiating SSI as an element central to scientific literacy, the fact that several teachers expressed views consistent with Profile A was encouraging. Teachers, from both middle and high schools, who taught courses within all of the major science disciplines embraced the idea of focusing instruction on SSI and their ethical implications. Furthermore, the Profile A teachers reported having actually enacted these recommendations in their classrooms. While the findings challenged the assumption that science teachers are unwilling or unable to transform their curricula to initiate more relevant and meaningful learning experiences, this particular result was certainly not consistent across all participants. Teachers in Profile B perceived impediments too significant to overcome for the systematic inclusion of SSI in science curricula, and Profile C and D participants did not embrace the proposal. Cross and Price (1996) framed the issue of the balance between teachers of different perspectives in the following excerpt. Until a critical mass of science teachers ideology of teaching changes, committed science teachers and teacher educators will face an uphill battle against dominant traditional practices, which we define as a schooling of science that presents science to learners as unproblematic, and is characterized by content and certainty. The extent to which teachers may be reconceptualizing the nature of their task is an important indicator of possible progress toward a breakdown of the traditional value-free notion of teaching science. (p. 320) Data presented as a part of the current study did not indicate a critical mass, but they do provide evidence that some may be reconceptualizing the nature of their teaching. In addition to the more general results, three interesting themes emerged from the data. Middle school, life science, and female teachers from this sample were more likely to embrace the exploration of ethics in the context of SSI. Given the small sample size due to the qualitative methods, these were not presented as conclusions generalizable to the population of all secondary science teachers. However, the data signaled trends, which may be worth exploring with larger, randomized samples. To accomplish this work, a methodological shift would also be necessary. Survey research, building off the results presented herein and focusing on teacher intentions and experiences with SSI and ethics in science instruction would be appropriate.
20 372 SADLER ET AL. Table 4 Interview excerpts which reveal how teachers dealt with the expression of their own values Theme Excerpt Exclude values I try to not give them my own specific opinion because I don t want to cloud someone else s opinion, and the kids will ask me, well what do you think about this, and I go well its not my job right now to influence you in that way. I want you to think for yourself, so lets look at the options, and they usually get to where they stop asking you what you think. (A13) I wouldn t want to convey my personal beliefs onto kids when I am teaching them science b/c they re at a very formidable age in high school and I don t want them Express values when asked Values necessarily emerge a Present values to be at all turned off by science no matter what their beliefs are. (D11) I try not to let my own personal beliefs in, but I have had students ask me what do you believe, and I answered them honestly, and I will say this is what I see as the most evidence and that is how I present it. (B6) I really kind of just say that this [a value-laden issue] is out there and there are some people for it and against it. If they ask me whether I m for it or against it or if they really pin me down, then I may say I m for it or against it, but for the most part, I just leave it at that. (C8) I present things in a way that I think is ethical and you know I realize that not everybody has the same belief system that I do...i think that a lot of my values come through maybe a little more indirectly sort of through the interaction with the class so maybe I try to lead by example and try not to set up situations where I tell people what to think. (B12) I m very careful to make sure that the students know what I do personally believe. I tell them up front that it does not mean that I m necessarily right, but this is my belief system and if you see me leaning in that direction that is because I am human and that is because my belief lies over here. One of my favorite things to tell students is that if you always agree with someone then there s only one of you doing any thinking about what is going on...i encourage students to explore their own knowledge and their own beliefs not just to rely on me. (E2) I do want them to know that I m a person and I live in the real life and hoping that my values are correct and so I m teaching them what I think is right...i feel like I represent a well-rounded person that hopefully represents the American ideal and values. I feel safe if it is an extreme thing, I will hold that back if I m going off on some extreme [view] but usually I go ahead and tell them how I feel. (E5) a Only one participant expressed this perspective, but its uniqueness warranted its inclusion as a separate theme. Another important theme of this research related to how teachers expressed their own values. The majority of participants including those who favored addressing ethics in the context of SSI tried to avoid the expression of their own values and ethics. They justified this approach by suggesting that they did not want to unduly influence students with their own views or be perceived as attempting to promote a personal agenda. However, as Hodson (2003) described, values play a significant role in all aspects of education including curricula, pedagogies and assessments, and avoiding values mistakes the very purpose of the science component of education for citizenship (p.654). Teachers cannot avoid expressing their values: the question is whether they choose to have their values revealed explicitly or implicitly. Regardless of teachers orientations or intents, classrooms can never be value-free environments; however, it is certainly important to strive for value-fair environments (Loving, Lowy, & Martin, 2003). Just as advocating value-free instruction was naïve, conceptualizing SSI as curricula which required sharing both sides equally was also an oversimplification. The tendency for participants to stress the importance of covering both sides of a SSI indicated an under-representation of the
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