ERG SES D 13, Science and Education
Social issues that are related to science and technology have been increasingly appealing public interest, thereby the idea of incorporating science-related social issues in school curricula has been considered as a vital need for science education. To this end, socioscientific issues (SSI) movement has emerged as a new framework which seeks to enable students to discuss moral ethical issues including scientific and social point of views which may sometimes conflict students’ own beliefs in early 90s (Sadler & Zeidler, 2005). SSI are those that are ‘based on scientific concepts or problems, controversial in nature, discussed in public outlets and frequently subject to political and social influences (Sadler & Zeidler, 2005, p. 113). These science-related social issues have been considered to be beneficial and necessary to incorporate into science programs due to several reasons such as; to make science education more relevant to students’ lives, to increase students’ interest and motivation to science learning, to enhance students understanding of NOS, to promote the development of sophisticated scientific ideas, and to support students to develop argumentation skills as they discuss complexity of an issue from multiple perspectives, and generate claims and ideas. SSI advocates proposed that all these potential gaining of SSI-based science education improve future generations’ informed decision making skills, which, in turn, develop their scientific literacy. However, although science teachers embrace the idea of incorporating SSI into science education, implementing controversial issues is still rare in science classrooms. It has been argued that successful implementation of reform efforts such as the integration of SSI in science education depends largely on teacher beliefs and intentions (Lumpe, Haney, & Czerniak, 2000). Among teacher beliefs, teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs have been considered as one of the most influential factors for the implementation of effective teaching and it was apparent from several studies that teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs to teach science influence the way they teach (e.g. Ramey-Gassert & Shroyer, 1992). Given the fact that SSI teaching should be enhanced in science classrooms and teacher self-efficacy beliefs play a major role to accomplish this goal, in the present study the nature of preservice science teachers’ (PSTs) SSI teaching self-efficacy beliefs was investigated. In light of an extensive literature review, it was assumed that personal epistemological beliefs, knowledge and risk-benefit perceptions might be related to SSI teaching self-efficacy beliefs. It was also assumed that personal epistemological beliefs, knowledge and risk-benefit perceptions could be related to each other in that personal epistemological beliefs might be related to risk-benefit perceptions and content knowledge; and knowledge might be related to risk-benefit perceptions. Based on all these assumed relationships a model was proposed to be tested. As SSI, the issue of GM foods was chosen. The research questions are: (1) What are the direct relationships among PSTs’ GM foods teaching self efficacy beliefs, and their personal epistemological beliefs, GM foods risk-benefit perception, and GM foods knowledge respectively? (2) What are the direct relationships between PSTs’ personal epistemological beliefs, GM foods risk-benefit perceptions, and GM foods knowledge?
The study utilized correlational research design and convenient sampling. A total of 1077 junior and senior PSTs in nine public universities located in Central Anatolia region in Turkey constituted the sample of the study. The data were collected mainly through four instruments over two semesters (2014-2015 Fall, 2014-2015 Spring): GM foods Teaching Self-efficacy Beliefs Instrument, GM foods Knowledge Scale, GM foods Risk and Benefit Perceptions Scale, and Epistemic Beliefs Inventory. GM Foods Teaching Self-efficacy Beliefs Instrument was developed by the researcher of the present study. Most of the items in the instrument were selected from Science Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument for preservice teachers developed by Enochs and Riggs (1990). The remaining items were selected from Kilinc et al. (2013) and Baltaci and Kilinc (2014) and some of the items in the instrument were originally written by the researcher of the study. GM foods Knowledge Scale was developed by the researcher of this study. Some of the items in the scale were originally written by the researcher of the study and the remaining items were selected from an item pool, which was created by utilizing three different research studies (European Comission, 2006; Frewer, Howard, & Shepherd, 1997; Verdurme & Viaene, 2003). GM foods Risk and Benefit Perceptions Scale was developed by the researcher of the present study. Most of the risk and benefit items that constitute the scale were selected from different research studies (Bredahl, 2001; Frewer et al., 1997; Sjöberg, 2008) and some of the items were researcher-written items. Epistemic Beliefs Inventory (EBI) was first developed by as a 32-item inventory (Schraw, Dunkle, & Bendixen, 1995) basing on Schommer’s epistemological beliefs model. In this study, Turkish version of EBI was used. The 32 items were translated into Turkish by Tuncay-Yuksel, Yilmaz-Tuzun, and Zeidler (2015). The translated items were decided to be used after taking permission from the researchers however, the researcher of the present study changed the wording of some of the translated items. Higher scores obtained from EBI indicate more naïve epistemological beliefs. The four instruments were undergone reliability and validity process and the researcher ensured that the instruments were reliable and valid. Data analyses were carried out by using IBM SPSS Statistics 22 for preliminary analysis, reliability analysis, and EFA and CFA analysis. In addition, in order to carry out the path analysis, IBM AMOS 21 was utilized. Participation to the study was based on voluntariness.
In the proposed model, the exogenous variables (independent variables) were the three personal epistemological belief dimensions (quick learning and certain knowledge (QLCK), innate ability (IA), and simple knowledge (SK)), GM foods risk perception (RISK), GM foods benefit perception (BEN), and GM foods knowledge (KNOW). The endogenous variables (dependent variable) were the dimensions of GM foods teaching self-efficacy beliefs; (Fostering argumentation and decision making on GM foods (ARG), General instructional strategies of GM foods teaching (GIS), and GM foods teaching outcome expectancy (OE). It was hypothesized in the model that the dimensions QLCK, IA, and SK; RISK, BEN; and KNOW were directly related to ARG, GIS, and OE dimensions. Moreover, in the model, the dimensions QLCK, IA, and SK and KNOW were directly related to RISK and BEN dimensions. Finally, it was hypothesized in the model that, personal epistemological beliefs dimensions (QLCK, IA, and SK) were directly related to KNOW. After the modifications, the fit indices were computed as; chi square = 68.96, df = 2, chi square/df = 34.48, GFI = .99, AGFI = .70, CFI = .95, RMSEA = .17, SRMR = .07. Then, the nonsignificant paths were removed from the model step by step and the revised model was obtained. The resulted fit indices indicated that the model fits the data well (chi square = 81.97, df = 15, chi square/df = 5.06, GFI = .98, AGFI = .95, CFI = .95, RMSEA = .06, SRMR = .03). ARG was found significantly correlated to QLCK (Beta=-.25), IA (.06), RISK (.10) and KNOW (.16); GIS was found significantly correlated to QLCK (-.30), IA (-.08), and KNOW (.22); OE was found significantly correlated to IA (.09), SK (.10), and, RISK (.12). Moreover, BEN was found significantly correlated to QLCK (.24) and KNOW (.16); RISK was found significantly correlated to QLCK(-.13), SK(.11), and KNOW(-.08); KNOW was found significantly correlated to QLCK(-.29).
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