Risk and school science education
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In this paper I consider a role for risk understanding in school science education. Grounds for this role are described in terms of current sociological analyses of the contemporary world as a 'risk society' and recent public understanding of science studies where science and risk are concerns commonly linked within the wider community. These concerns connect with support amongst many science educators for the goal of science education for citizenship. From this perspective scientific literacy for decision making on contemporary socioscientific issues is central. I argue that in such decision making, risk understanding has an important role to play. I examine some of the challenges its inclusion in school science presents to science teachers, review previous writing about risk in the science education literature and consider how knowledge about risk might be addressed in school science. I also outline the varying conceptions of risk and suggest some future research directions that would support the inclusion of risk in classroom discussions of socioscientific issues.
Studies in Science Education
Copyright 2009 Routledge. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.
Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy