A landscape of values - a study of non-epistemic values in Swedish upper secondary science education
This thesis sets out to investigate the role of non-epistemic values in science education from three actors’ perspectives – the science student, the science teacher, and the science teacher educator. More specifically, the focus is on exploring the variation of values among these three key actors in science education, and what characterizes these values. Also, to use the empirical findings to discuss how these values (may) affect and inform science education research. Previous work on values in science education has failed to address the role of different actors in one specific educational context, which this thesis aims to achieve by studying the upper secondary school science education. In addition, values held by university scientists teaching science student teachers seem to be missing in previous research in the domain. In order to tackle the research questions, empirics were collected from all three actors targeted, in one specified science education context, and then use viable analytical methods and tools to describe the variation, character, and nuances of values held by the actors. To empirically investigate the variation and character of these values, an analysis was performed by a systematic literature review of the research domain. This was followed by surveying and statistically analyzing responses from representative samples of Swedish upper secondary school biology students and teachers respectively, and finally thematically analyzing interviews with university biology scientists in education of science teachers. Results showed that values held by science students and science teachers affect science education in schools. For example, teachers’ non-epistemic values affect the content and methods selected and implemented in their science teaching. Further, it was found that the interviewed science teacher educators considered their teaching offered to science student teachers as largely value-free, while they acknowledged that values-inclusion in school science is something important. The key impact of the research presented, is that continued development of the growing research domain of the importance of values in science education is crucial, as there are many aspects in the domain not yet or thoroughly explored. Examples include the role of scientists in science teacher education, and how values held by science teachers affect their classroom practice. By incorporating findings from this study into the larger research discourse on values in science education, there is promise that research is one small step closer to suggest changes in curriculum and classroom practice. This could in turn change the current negative trend in student interest and motivation to study school science.
Parts of work
Paper I: It is time for a new direction in biotechnology education research Nordqvist, O., & Aronsson, H. (2019). Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 47(2), 189-200. https://doi.org/10.1002/bmb.21214Paper II: Secondary school biology students’ attitudes towards modern biotechnology characterised using structural equation modeling Nordqvist, O., & Johansson, S. (2020). Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 16(2), em1822. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejmste/115016Paper III: What decides what is taught? Science teachers' values in upper secondary school in Sweden Nordqvist, O., & Jidesjö, A. (2022). ManuscriptPaper IV: What do university scientists value in science education? – interviews with scientists involved in biology teacher education Nordqvist, O. (2022). Manuscript
Doctor of Philosophy
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Science.
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences ; Institutionen för biologi och miljövetenskap
Fredagen den 27 maj, 2022, kl. 10:00, Hörsalen, Botanhuset, Carl Skottsbergs gata 22b, Göteborg
Date of defence