Teachers, scientists and the media have important role in shaping young people's perceptions of science and science career choices. Today, it is widely accepted that science education should equip students with the knowledge and skills to become scientifically literate citizens (Elliott, 2006). Although the meaning of scientific literacy in the context of school science has been debated (Osborne et al., 2003), it is widely agreed that the ability to analyze and interpret text including simple media reports of scientific research is an essential aspect of public engagement with science and scientific literacy (Norris & Phillips, 2003). An understanding of science, therefore, requires the ability to read and understand the essential points of media reports that involve science. Because of its potential significance for personal and professional decision-making in a democratic society as well as participation in public policy debates over societal issues (e.g. debates on socio-scientific issues), the ability to engage critically with science in the media is seen a valued outcome of a contemporary science education and a manifestation of scientific literacy (Jarman & McClune, 2007). This study investigates how student teachersevaluate popular reports of scientific research and investigates their views on the use of such reports as teaching resources in the classroom. Participants were 32 primary student teachers enrolled in a science methods course in which they were introduced to some techniques (Elliott, 2006; Jarman & McClune, 2007; Norris & Phillips, 2003) to help them critically evaluate media reports of scientific research. At the end of the course, the participants were asked to find a popular report of science and write a report on its evaluation. The media reports were chosen from recent popular science magazines, nonscience magazines and newspapers. A document analysis of 27 reports was undertaken to evaluate the quality of the reports prepared by the student teachers. The reports prepared by student teachers were examined for a range of evidence such as the newsworthiness of the story, the portrayal of science and scientists, bias in reporting, the theoretical ideas involved, the accuracy of information and association between data and claims. The preliminary results indicate that student teachers valued the opportunity to analyze media reports of scientific research and gained greater confidence in the use of similar techniques in their teaching at schools. Some implications for teaching about scientific literacy and further research are discussed.

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Developing scientific literacy among student teachers
Using media reports of scientific research in the classroom

Gultekin Cakmakci   Hacettepe University, Turkey

Teachers, scientists and the media have important role in shaping young people's perceptions of science and science career choices. Today, it is widely accepted that science education should equip students with the knowledge and skills to become scientifically literate citizens (Elliott, 2006). Although the meaning of scientific literacy in the context of school science has been debated (Osborne et al., 2003), it is widely agreed that the ability to analyze and interpret text including simple media reports of scientific research is an essential aspect of public engagement with science and scientific literacy (Norris & Phillips, 2003). An understanding of science, therefore, requires the ability to read and understand the essential points of media reports that involve science. Because of its potential significance for personal and professional decision-making in a democratic society as well as participation in public policy debates over societal issues (e.g. debates on socio-scientific issues), the ability to engage critically with science in the media is seen a valued outcome of a contemporary science education and a manifestation of scientific literacy (Jarman & McClune, 2007). This study investigates how student teachersevaluate popular reports of scientific research and investigates their views on the use of such reports as teaching resources in the classroom. Participants were 32 primary student teachers enrolled in a science methods course in which they were introduced to some techniques (Elliott, 2006; Jarman & McClune, 2007; Norris & Phillips, 2003) to help them critically evaluate media reports of scientific research. At the end of the course, the participants were asked to find a popular report of science and write a report on its evaluation. The media reports were chosen from recent popular science magazines, nonscience magazines and newspapers. A document analysis of 27 reports was undertaken to evaluate the quality of the reports prepared by the student teachers. The reports prepared by student teachers were examined for a range of evidence such as the newsworthiness of the story, the portrayal of science and scientists, bias in reporting, the theoretical ideas involved, the accuracy of information and association between data and claims. The preliminary results indicate that student teachers valued the opportunity to analyze media reports of scientific research and gained greater confidence in the use of similar techniques in their teaching at schools. Some implications for teaching about scientific literacy and further research are discussed.

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