Harris, Richard and Ratcliffe, Mary
Socio-scientific issues and the quality of exploratory talk - what can be learned from schools involved in a 'collapsed day' project?
The Curriculum Journal, 16, (4), . (doi:10.1080/09585170500384396).
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This project was designed to examine the feasibility of using a ‘collapsed day’ to explore socio-scientific issues relating to genes and genetic engineering in secondary schools by enabling science and humanities staff to collaborate. It was believed that science staff would have expertise in promoting understanding of genetics and humanities staff would have expertise in managing the ethical debates that emerged. The study took place in eight secondary schools with pupils aged 14-16. A surprising result of the project was the lack of high quality ‘public discourse’ or ‘exploratory talk’ around the ethical dilemmas raised by the topic. An examination of the data suggests that clarity about the nature of the day, teacher expertise in motivating and managing discussion, and pupil experience of discussion might be related to the level of discourse seen.
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