Socioscientific issues are ill-structured problems that involve moral, ethical, and financial aspects, and lack clear-cut solutions. Teaching socioscientific issues necessarily puts a demand on teachers to draw on knowledge stemming from other domains, and to also appreciate, and present to the students the societal aspects of science. For new teachers, and those who have not tried integrating complex social issues into their instruction, SSI-based teaching may seem too great a hurdle to overcome. The afforementioned ought to call for teacher educators to focus on the pedagogical challenges of teaching socioscientific issues. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore whether, and how engaging elementary pre-service teachers in critical discussions of socioscientific issues, can change their views of science, and science teaching, and help them design lessons which include the social aspects of science. A sequence of activities to engage pre-service teachers with modeling a socioscientific issue was implemented with 20 participants, over seven weeks. Findings show that elementary pre-service teachers do not include social aspects of science in their initial reflections, but engaging with a socioscientific issue helps change their views of science, and science teaching. However, when they are asked to design lesson plans that include social aspects of science, most of the pre-service teachers are not able to do so. Implications include designing teacher training programs that support teachers in their transition from understanding the social aspects of science, to designers of learning activities that promote social aspects of science through the use of socioscientific issues.
Evagorou, M. & Puig Mauriz, B. (2017). Engaging elementary school pre-service teachers in modeling a socioscientific issue as a way to help them appreciate the social aspects of science. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 5(2), 113-123. DOI: 10.18404/ijemst.99074