University of Cambridge > > Science & Technology Education Research Group ( S &TERG) > Values and aesthetics and scientific work: students’ responses to some scientific career options

Values and aesthetics and scientific work: students’ responses to some scientific career options

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This seminar considers responses of a sample of secondary school students when asked about some areas of scientific work. Students were presented with short vignettes of seven science career areas (medical doctor, cosmologist, medical researcher, palaeontologist, conservationist, anthropologist, genetic engineer) and asked about how they would feel about that area of work. There was a recognition of the potential value of scientific work, and a view that scientific work was often interesting. There was also some squeamishness which made some occupations seem unattractive to some students. The student comments also linked to epistemological values or commitments (which in some cases suggested alternative conceptions (‘misconceptions’) of the nature of science); their perceptions of there being a natural order; to moral questions about killing, and questions about the relative value of different species. The student responses give some insight into how young people view some areas of scientific work, and of factors that may influence their thinking about educational and vocational choices.

(This work was part of the LASAR project, and was undertaken with Prof. Berry Billingsley, Canterbury Christ Church University)

Prof. Keith Taber is the Professor of Science Education at the University of Cambridge. Dr Fran Riga is a Research Associate in the Faculty of Education, and was researcher on the LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion) project.

This talk is part of the Science & Technology Education Research Group ( S &TERG) series.

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