Eliciting Students' Understanding of a Local Socioscientific Issue Through the Use of Critical Response Pedagogies

Engin Karahan, Senenge T. Andzenge, Gillian Roehrig
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This study introduces a critical response pedagogy (CRP), an arts-based critical technique to facilitate meaningful dialogue in focus group settings, to secondary school science education students to engage them in discussion about sediment and chemical load in their local river basin community. Using a holistic single case design, twenty-two 11th and 12th graders (15 male and 7 female) from an environment ethics course participated in focus group interviews. The analysis of the data was made via case-by-case analysis individually performed by each researcher to identify themes, then across the cases using the long table (classic) method. The following themes were identified: (1) aroused curiosity, (2) human impact and responsibility, (3) triggering memories, (4) feeling connected to the Minnesota River, (5) outside of the captured area, (6) use of the image, (7) social impacts, (8) economy, and (9) ecological impacts. The findings indicated that student’s characterization and description of the rivers is mixed although they have similar observations and experiences. In addition, using a critical response protocol created a dialogical environment where students were comfortable engaging in a conversation about a local controversial issue. Thus, the conversation shifted toward critical analysis of an issue rather than an under informed debate about perspectives. This study showed that critical response pedagogy is a non-threatening way to gauge students’ knowledge and understanding of issues and identify possible misconceptions or knowledge gaps which would be useful in designing instruction.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18404/ijemst.41401


Karahan, E., Andzenge, S.T., & Roehrig, G. (2017). Eliciting students' understanding of a local socioscientific issue through the use of critical response pedagogies. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 5(2), 88-100. DOI:10.18404/ijemst.41401

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