Developing Character and Values for Global Citizens: Analysis of pre-service science teachers' moral reasoning on socioscientific issues

Hyunju Lee, Hyunsook Chang, Kyunghee Choi, Sung Won Kim, Dana L. Zeidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Character and values are the essential driving forces that serve as general guides or points of reference for individuals to support decision-making and to act responsibly about global socioscientific issues (SSIs). Based on this assumption, we investigated to what extent pre-service science teachers (PSTs) of South Korea possess character and values as global citizens; these values include ecological worldview, socioscientific accountability, and social and moral compassion. Eighteen PSTs participated in the SSI programs focusing on developing character and values through dialogical and reflective processes. SSIs were centered on the use of nuclear power generation, climate change, and embryonic stem cell research. The results indicated that PSTs showed three key elements of character and values, but failed to apply consistent moral principles on the issues and demonstrated limited global perspectives. While they tended to approach the issues with emotion and sympathy, they nonetheless failed to perceive themselves as major moral agents who are able to actively resolve large-scale societal issues. This study also suggests that the SSI programs can facilitate socioscientific reasoning to include abilities such as recognition of the complexity of SSIs, examine issues from multiple perspectives, and exhibit skepticism about information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-953
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by WCU (World Class University) program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R32-20109). The authors thank the Research Group of the Global Institute for Science, Technology & Society Education at Ewha Womans University, South Korea.


  • Character and values
  • Citizenship education
  • Informal reasoning
  • Moral reasoning
  • Scientific literacy
  • Socioscientific issues


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