Can Classroom Learning Transform into Socioscientific Knowledge Generation

By Shanah Mompoloki Suping.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Despite science being perceived by many to be a difficult subject, it is still at the centre of human development and progression in both economic and technological matters. Science and national progress are causally linked. Science education therefore should be assigned the social role of bringing progress to society. The need for science education to equip individuals with skills necessary to make better scientifically informed decisions in matters both personal and national cannot be overemphasized. The central question science educators are grappling with is; how should science education help us in decisions that are at the interplay between science and society – socioscientific issues as these issues have come to be called? International bodies like WHO are taking interest on what effects these socioscientific issues have on the general livelihood of citizens of the world. WHO’s assessment of the global disease burden attributable to UV radiation is one such an example. The increased incidence of these issues in modern society dictates that something must be done about it.
This paper looked into Botswana student’s ability to reason through and make sense of a ‘science brief’ based on a socioscientific issue, namely ultraviolet radiation and its effect on the human skin. A stratified random sample of students across the educational landscape in Botswana was taken. Results show that students’ knowledge on UVR is limited, at least to the expectations of the researcher. It is recommended that science education curriculum be reformed, with particular emphasis on teaching approaches, to target these issues, thus allowing individual learners to benefit from the social development of science.

Keywords: Science Education, Socioscientific Issues, Classroom Learning, Sciene Education Reform

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp.257-262. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 545.341KB).

Dr. Shanah Mompoloki Suping

Lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

Lecturer in science education specializing in chemistry education since 1997. I was Ph.D. student at The Ohio State University from 2000 to 2004 in Ohio in th United States of America. Upon my return, I continued with my lecture position in the same department. My work entails teaching methods courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as supervising teaching practice during the third semester of the University. I also do research in science education.

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