Socioscientific Issues as a Vehicle for Promoting Character and Values for Global Citizens

Hyunju Lee, Jungsook Yoo, Kyunghee Choi, Sung Won Kim, Joseph Krajcik, Benjamin C. Herman, Dana L. Zeidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Our guiding presupposition in this study was that socioscientific issues (SSI) instruction, given the humanistic features that comprise this type of instruction, could play a role as a vehicle for cultivating character and values as global citizens. Our main objective was to observe how and to what extent SSI instruction might contribute to this. In order to achieve this aim, we implemented a SSI program on genetic modification technology for 132 ninth-grade students over 3-4 weeks and identified its educational effects using a mixed method approach. Data sources included student responses to questionnaire items that measure the students' character and values, records of student discussions, and semi-structured interviews with the students and their teachers. Results indicated that the students became more sensitive to moral and ethical aspects of scientific and technological development and compassionate to diverse people who are either alienated by the benefits of advanced technology or who are vulnerable to the dangers of its unintended effects. In addition, the students felt more responsible for the future resolution of the genetic SSI. However, the students struggled to demonstrate willingness and efficacy to participate within broader communities that entailed action toward SSI resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2079-2113
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 2013

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 education
  • Global citizenship
  • Science instruction
  • Scientific literacy
  • Socioscientific issues


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