Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 7, Issue 2, Article 9 (Dec., 2006)
Emine Selcen DARÇIN & Lütfullah TÜRKMEN
A study of prospective Turkish science teachers’ knowledge at the popular biotechnological issues
Modern biotechnology covering numerous areas such as medicine, pharmacy, food industry, agriculture and biology is of increasing interest in Turkey as well as elsewhere in the world. New biotechnological advancements are followed and carried out in new research at universities and institutes in Turkey not withstanding that the basic problem is encountered amongst the technical staff.
Students’ interest to the biotechnological knowledge as well as study areas related to biotechnology could begin in primary school and high school years. On the other hand, the knowledge level of teachers considering biotechnological concepts, processes and issues is not known clearly in Turkish context. Beyond the knowledge levels of science and biology teachers, teachers should have capacity to use and show some biotechnological equipments and materials in schools. As Harms (2002) stated, science teachers have a responsibility to inform their students of several aspects of biotechnology both scientifically and technically.
Many studies have been carried out to develop and evaluate biotechnology education programs and models for students and science teachers in worldwide. The goal of the researches on the development of biotechnology education was to raise an awareness of the importance of biotechnological processes and bioethics, especially in developed countries (Olsher & Dreyfus, 1999; Chan & Lui, 2000; EIBE, 2003; France, 2000; Dunham et al., 2002; Dibartolomeis & Moné, 2003; Lewis et al.., 2003; Rota & Izquierdo, 2003). In contrast to developed countries, the curricula of primary and high schools and faculties (colleges) of education seem to have comparatively inadequate biotechnology components in Turkey. The development of biotechnology education programs and models for science teachers and students is of importance since the concepts of biotechnology are of significance to all science and biology teachers using good curriculums and instructional strategies (Dunham et al., 2002). On the other hand, there is a question still to be answered whether undergraduate science education student teachers are to meet with satisfactory subject knowledge, and with practical and pedogogical skills to teach different aspects of biotechnology and to encourage their students to understand not only the scientific context but also the conceptual, ethical, moral and social issues of biotechnology within the framework of a wider curriculum (Marchant & Marchant, 1999; Thomas et al., 2002).
The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge level of Turkish students of the department of science education in relation to popular biotechnological items, such as stem cell technology, and genetically modified corps. Similar studies have been carried out to determine the perception and knowledge level of biotechnology processes and bioethics amongst adults’ and pupils’ in other countries (Macer et al., 2000; Dawson & Schibeci, 2003; Cavanagh et al., 2005; Eurobarometer, 2005; Biotechnology Australia, 2005). The results of the Turkish students of the department of science education’ perceptions of biotechnological issues were compared with other studies in the world.
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