Lyon, 2014 |
Urgelli is associate professor in Socioscientific Communication
and Science Education at the University of Lyon (East France).
Following undergraduate studies in Earth sciences (volcanoes,
tectonics, and riks), he conducted a master of research in the
area of Mount Etna (Sicily, 1996 ; supervision: Geoffroy L. and
Pr. Le Pichon X.).
he was engaged in this work, his interests shifted to K-12 science
teaching and communication about socioscientific issues. He spent
several years teaching high school science before earning a Ph.D.
on Science Communication at the University of Lyon (2009 ; supervision:
Pr. Le Marec J. and Simonneaux L.).
2011, he currently works with pre-service science teachers for
the elementary and secondary levels (K-12). His research explores
why and how teachers and scientists are involved in socioscientific
communication and controversial issues. He discusses
the implications for professional postures in
classroom and other public media contexts, implications
for teachers' personal development related to science
citizenship and critical education (Hess, 2005 ; Sadler,
TALK - Feb 2014 - LYON (FRANCE)
Online November 1999; Earth science education and scientific ressources
for secondary teachers
Online November 2001; Scientific and educational ressources on Mount
Online November 2004 ; Educational ressources on climate change issues
and sustainable development.
secondaire; Online November 2007 ; Scientific ressources for
secondary students and teachers
primaire; Online November 2011 ; Scientific and didactic ressources
for primary teachers training.
which Ethical and responsible communication is
facing socioscientific issues
Some case studies around climate change, health and evolution controversies
results of research...
shows three different postures that teachers assume when they are
involved in SocioScientific
(1) an exclusive neutrality focused only on scientific
and disciplinary contents in order to avoid promoting their own
opinions and to discuss controversial media discourses Teachers
then develop a positivist approach;
(2) committed education to make students aware
of "environmental emergencies" and/or to promote science.
They adopt an exclusive partiality, especially
when they are facing some controversial media discourses;
(3) critical education which does not avoid controversies
about socio-scientific issues and promotes responsible decision-making
in the students. In this case, with committed impartiality,
teachers develop a balanced treatment of media coverage.
This position is more frequently adopted when an interdisciplinary
team of teachers collaborate in a project with declared social epistemological
and citizenship aims.
The last group of teachers' commitment is controversial, related
to the fact that teachers are supposed to be politically neutral
and impartial in their communication with students and the public.
If science education aims to promote students’ empowerment,
this posture must be discussed using the teachers' expertise. In
other words, the question is : which democratic values and attitudes
could teachers adopt to encourage students facing socioscientific
important result is that teachers adopt an approach
in relation with three personal representations of :
1. their educational mission,
2. the social epistemology of the issue they have to teach ;
3. their representation of the lay public and its capacity to understand
science and engage socialy themselves.
for critical review : Benoit URGELLI
few words about my research activities
2004 to 2010, I worked with Laurence Simonneaux for the socioscientific
issue movement related to science education and citizenship. My research
question was why and how secondary school teachers are involved in Education
for Sustainable Development, especially around the question of global
take-home message of our movement is well expressed in the article of
Gray and Bryce (2006) (refering also to : van Driel et al., 2001 and Sadler
et al., 2006) :
because beliefs play a central role in organizing knowledge
and defining behaviour [...] because beliefs and knowledge
are closely interwoven [...] because they provide a
filter through which knowledge are interpreted and subsequently integrated
into the conceptual frame-works [...] We can no longer accept
that science education is treated as if it is only a body of facts or
formulae to be delivered, or even artificially discovered through laboratory-based
practical experiments and experiences. This awareness […] requires
greater emphasis on discussion and appreciation of values, risks
and uncertainties in relation to those aspects of science which
have the greatest potential impact on society, culture and environment.
School science must reflect modern thinking about nature of science
and it should give young people confidence to engage
in political debate about SSI and related ethical reasoning.
(Gray and Bryce, 2006, p. 186).
framework proposed by Zeidler and al. (2005, p. 361) using
the exploration of researches on socioscientific education.
Four entry points have been identified by authors to promote
students empowerment and personal cognitive and moral development.
This framework is related to a constructivist-learning
political horizon of my research...
we hope to stimulate and develop students’ moral reasoning
abilities, then we must provide students with rich and varied opportunities
to gain and hone such skills. The present argument rests on the
assumption that using controversial
SSI as a foundation for individual consideration
and group interaction provides an environment where students can
and will increase their science knowledge
while simultaneously developing their critical thinking and moral
M. L., & Zeidler, D. L. (2003). Beliefs in the nature of science
and responses to socioscientific issues. In D. L. Zeidler (Ed.),
The role of moral reasoning on socioscientific issues and discourse
in science education. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, p.
who are able to carefully consider SSI and make reflective decisions
regarding those issues may be said to have acquired a degree of
functional scientific literacy. Accordingly, these individuals may
cultivate a positive skepticism concerning
the ontological status of scientific knowledge.
Their decisions ought to be tempered by an
awareness of the cultural factors that guide and generate knowledge.
If educators structure the learning environment properly, then opportunities
for the epistemological growth of knowledge as fostered by the SSI
framework will help students recognize that the decisions we all
face involve consequences for the quality of social discourse and
interaction among human beings, and our stewardship of the physical
and biological world. Moreover, if we as science educators wish
to cultivate future citizens and leaders who care, serve the community,
and provide leadership for new generations, then we have a moral
imperative to delve into the realm of virtue, character, and moral
et al., 2005, p. 373
socioscientific issues: a controversial proposition for the French Republican
could say that our movement asks for a breakdown on professional development,
teachers’ practices and educational reforms, like a "revolution
around a dream", expressed in these terms : Education
for future citizens (also for potential specialists of science) must include
dealing with socioscientific issues. But some others could
say that is a postulate, that's why it seems important to discuss it,
especially with teachers.
I conducted during the scholastic year 2006-2007, with eight teachers,
showed the diversity of teachers' educational aims. Related to a question
about Education for Sustainable Development asked by the French governement
and UNESCO, I showed that there is a controversy related to objectives
and practices for teaching socioscientific issues.
nature of science should be taught ? Against the disciplinary structure
of teaching ?
We notice that many researchers said that in teaching socioscientific
issue, we must take in account teachers representations of the nature
of science, their personal beliefs and values about science, education
and communication. In my research, I showed that the nature of
science is interpreted in relation with the body of stabilized
knowledge described in each discipline : complexity of the socioscientific
issue is divided on different disciplinar approaches, leaving students
alone to reconstruct a interdisicplinar wiew of the issue.
Teachers' communicational postures facing socioscientific
notice also that there is a consensus between teachers (except maybe philosophy
teachers...) on the fact that personal beliefs don't have to be discussed
or exposed to students, in order to avoid indoctrination and strong influences
on students' opinions. And that is probably an
other important result of my research : the socioscientific
issue movement must also take in account teachers' representations
of the communication effects on reception across didactic and
social situations. That was highlighted in my research looking at the
teachers' practices related to media supports and the teachers' postures
facing climate change controversies.
this results are related and I propose for our future research to deal
with educational questions in relation with communication sciences. I
ask for a didactic research that integrate questions of communication
in science teaching. This are a proposition for my project to supervise
- 2014: Reviewer of oral presentations
for the 10th Conference of European
Researchers in Didactics of Biology (ERIDOB), Haifa
(Israel), June 30th - July 4th 2014
- 2014: Reviewer of oral presentations
for the 8th
Scientific Meeting of the Association for Research in STEM Education
(ARDIST), Marseille, March 12th - 14th, 2014
: Communication for
the international Colloque of the Pedagogical School of Vaud, HEP, Lausanne,
13 & 14 sept. 2012 :
de communication et d'éducation dans l'enseignement de questions
: communication for the
European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), sept.
warming: a case study of eight French teachers’ involvement in
education for sustainable development
- Conférence : communication
for Folia Primatologica, University of Grenoble, sept. 2011
“Creationist offensive” against Evolution in French schools:
What could we do to promote scientific education ?
- Chapter for collective book
et mediatisation d'une question socialement vive : le cas du réchauffement
climatique, sept. 2011
- Chapter for collective book
et enseignement de l'évolution. Quelle éducation citoyenne
et laïque ? Revue ATALA, 2014.
- Expertise for UNESCO report
(2011) : Education pour le Développement Durable (EDD) et
compétences des élèves dans l’enseignement
secondaire (avril 2011), Pierre Clément and Silvia Caravita
(dir.). Chap. Politiques
éducatives et stratégies nationales en matière
d’EDD : exemple de la France, pp. 19-21.
- Ph.D. work: Teachers'
involvements facing global warming as socioscientific issue, december
- French national newspaper
climatique : Cheval de Troie dans la modernité ? Le Monde,
Idées, August 31, 2011.
Cotton, D. R. E. (2006). Teaching controversial environmental
issues: neutrality and balance in the reality of the classroom.
Educational Research, vol.48, n°2, June 2006, p223-241.
C. (2002). Controversial environmental issues: a case study
for the professional development of science teachers. International
Journal of Science Education, vol.24, n°11, p.1191-1200.
H. (1987). Citizenship, public philosophy and the struggle
for democracy. Educational Theory, vol.37, p.103-120.
D. S. and Bryce T. (2006). Socio-scientific issues in science
education: implications for the professional development of teachers.
Cambridge Journal of Education, Vol. 36, No. 2, June 2006, pp. 171-192.
D. (2005). How do teachers' political views influence teaching
about controversial issues? Social Education, vol. 69, 47-48.
S., Lahire B. (1999). Pour une didactique sociologique.
Éducation et Sociétés, n° 4, p.29-56.
Kelly, T. (1986). Discussing controversial issues: four perspectives
on the teacher’s role. Theory and Research in Social
Education, vol.14, p.113-138.
T. D. (2009). Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic
Power of Discussion, by Diana E. Hess. Book reviews. Science
Education, 94, 760-762.
T.D., Amirshokoohi, A., Kazempour, M. and Allspaw, K.M. (2006). Socioscience
and ethics in science classrooms: Teacher perspectives and strategies.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, vol. 43, p.353-376.
Driel J. H., Beijaard D., Verloop N. (2001). Professional
development and reform in science education: The role of teachers'
practical knowledge. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,
Vol. 38, Issue 2, February 2001, pp. 137–158.
D.L., Sadler, T.D., Simmons, M.L. and Howes, E.V. (2005). Beyond
STS: A research-based framework for socioscientific issues education.
Science Education., Vol. 89, Issue 3, pp. 357-377.