High school biology students’ use of values in their moral argumentation and decision-making in times of polarization, confusion and unsustainability

Another paper based on PhD Tore van der Leij just appeared in the Journal of Moral Education. I took the liberty to add a few words to the title… ‘in times of polarization, confusion and unsustainability’ to emphasize the importance of this work.

In this qualitative case study Tore examined the impact of a specially-designed classroom intervention for a group of 15–16-year-old Dutch biology students’ use of values in contemplating five socioscientific issues in the human-nature context. The students worked in small groups to support various aspects of their morality. An ethical matrix was used as a heuristic to explore different arguments and moral values from different perspectives. The collected data consisted of written assignments, group conversations, and individual interviews. The results show that students’ use of values differed from one issue to another. The values they used in their moral decision-making indicated that the influence of the intervention activities, aimed at enhancing a relationship between moral agent (student) and moral object (topic), was limited. The study provides evidence that the intervention positively conduced to students’ cognition of the values that are personally relevant. Recommendations for further theorization, research and practice are discussed.

Here is the link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03057240.2023.2185595

Full citaton:Leij, Tote, van der, Martin Goedhart, Lucy Avraamidou & Arjen Wals (2023) High school biology students’ use of values in their moral argumentation and decision-making, Journal of Moral Education, DOI: 10.1080/03057240.2023.2185595

Designing a module for supporting secondary biology students’ morality through socioscientific issues in the human-nature context – new research

One of my PhD’s. Tore van der Leij – jointly supervised with Prof Martin Goedhart and Prof. Lucy Avramidoo, both from Groningnen University here in The Netherlands where Tore hopes to receive his degree sometime this year – just had one of his studies published in the Journal of Biological Education.

The paper, of which Tore is the lead-author, poses that in addressing contemporary socio-ecological challenges it is imperative to engage individuals with the moral dilemmas in the human-nature context. A socioscientific-issues (SSI) approach to secondary biology education can contribute to engaging students in moral dilemmas and reflecting on their values.

Following a design research methodology, the paper aimed to: (1) develop a set of design principles of an intervention in Dutch upper secondary SSI biology education, aimed at supporting secondary biology students’ morality in the human-nature context; (2) concretise the design principles as a module.The practical output of the study is a module, which was refined and improved during the design phase, and then implemented by two biology teachers. In this paper, we present an exemplary example of a lesson from the module. As theoretical output, the paper discusses the role of the design principles: nature of the dilemmas; Four Component Model of morality; group work; and ethical matrix. Based on experiences in classrooms, recommendations are provided for further research and practice.

The paper can be found HERE: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00219266.2023.2174160

Full citation: Leij, T. van der; Goedhart, M.; Avraamidou, L. & Wals, A. (2023) Designing a module for supporting secondary biology students’ morality through socioscientific issues in the human-nature context, Journal of Biological Education, DOI: 10.1080/00219266.2023.2174160

For another paper related to this research see:

Tore Van Der Leij, Lucy Avraamidou, Arjen Wals & Martin Goedhart (2022) Supporting Secondary Students’ Morality Development in Science Education, Studies in Science Education, 58:2, 141-181, DOI: 10.1080/03057267.2021.1944716