Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 40 credits / 60 HE credits
Teaching Socio-scientific issues (SSI) has been identified as an important factor for improving students’ scientific literacy, argumentation, critical thinking, students learning interests and achievement. However, to what extent SSI is included in science teaching, how it is taught (by which methods) and if it is perceived important by teachers is unknown in an Afghan context. Hence, the general aim of this study was to investigate what methods of teaching SSI upper secondary school science teachers’ use, and if there are any methods they perceive as appropriate to use. A second aim was to investigate how teachers relate SSI to students’ real life and if they consider the teaching of SSI as relevant, and what possible barriers teachers have for teaching SSI.
The design of the study is quantitative and consists of a survey. A questionnaire instrument was developed that consist of 15 items. The questionnaire was distributed to 100 upper secondary science teachers in the Takhar province of Afghanistan. The sample was selected based on considering factors such as gender, teaching in urban and rural areas, in order to extract a representative sample from the province.
The findings show that the lecturing method was commonly used by the teachers while teaching SSI. Also group work and discussions were frequently used teaching methods, but most often the teachers did not use debate, dialogue and peer work while teaching SSI. In addition all teachers said that they relate SSI to students’ real life, but considering the teachers’ limited knowledge about students’ lives outside school this claim could be questioned. Furthermore this study revealed that a lack of appropriate teaching materials was considered the most important barrier for teaching SSI in Afghan upper secondary schools.
Based on the results Afghanistan government and international organizations should pay particular attention to improve teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and provide suitable teaching material for enabling teachers to implement other methods when teaching SSI in the classroom in order to improve students’ learning achievements and interests.