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Developing high quality decision-making discussions about biological conservation in a normal classroom setting

Grace, Marcus (2009) Developing high quality decision-making discussions about biological conservation in a normal classroom setting International Journal of Science Education, 31, (4), pp. 551-570. (doi:10.1080/09500690701744595).

Record type: Article


The conservation of biodiversity is an important socio-scientific issue, often regarded as a precondition to sustainable development, and the foundation for citizens’ understanding of conservation issues can be laid down in formal school education.
This research focuses on decision-making discussions about biological conservation issues among 131 15-16 year old students, to address two main research questions:
1. Can peer-group decision-making discussions, in a normal science lesson setting, help develop students’ personal reasoning in relation to conservation issues? 2. Are there features common to high-quality discussions about conservation which might be readily identified by classroom teachers?
Findings indicate the positive value of students taking part in these short decision-making discussions, guided by a structured framework, as part of their normal science classroom activities. Students increase their quality of personal reasoning, and modify their solutions to the issues. The study begins to uncover features about students, as individuals and as members of discussion groups, which can be associated with high quality decision-making about conservation issues, and which teachers might realistically identify. The work calls for the need to cultivate these features, and integrate them appropriately with learning about the scientific concepts that underpin the theory and practice of conservation management. Such integration will facilitate the development of teaching strategies for dealing effectively with the complex topic of biological conservation; not just in terms of science content, but also in terms of how students are expected to engage with the issues.

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Published date: 1 March 2009
Keywords: conservation, decision-making, school, biology
Organisations: Mathematics and Science Education


Local EPrints ID: 71911
ISSN: 0950-0693
PURE UUID: bf5f8f5a-11f2-4f26-a0d8-cb66723cae26

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Jan 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:57

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