Negotiating ethical issues in Biology: three case studies



This paper attempts to answer the questions as to what are the chief transactional strategies for negotiating ethical issues in high school biology classroom. One of the major aims of the paper is to highlight the components of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) reflected in their transaction of ethical issues. Using the ethical matrix and Toulmin’s model of scientific argumentation the paper dissects three case studies. It was found that teachers’ knowledge of argumentation (KArg) and knowledge about ethics (KET) are the components of PCK that can significantly affect teachers’ arguments related to ethical issues. The quality of teachers’ arguments varies and is contingent upon their beliefs about a technology, knowledge about argumentation, and notions about ethics.  Implications are broadly drawn for science teacher education at high school level; mode of presentation of ethical issues in the classroom, textbook writers and curriculum designers.


Ethical issues, Biological Sciences, PCK, Scientific Argumentation

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