Values & beliefs in science & technology education
The motivation for this thesis arose from personal dissatisfaction with the way I was
tutoring in-service courses on biotechnology for teachers. Biotechnology is a area of
science and technology which raises many controversial issues and I felt unable to
discuss in a meaningful way such issues. I therefore began to research into the
inclusion of value issues in science and technology education.
The literature indicated that values are fundamental in decision-making and that values
are a consequence of the beliefs, constructs or frameworks of meaning people hold.
A study of the literature about the nature of technology and science was followed by
a brief review of the inclusion of values in education. The area for the research was
identified as educators' beliefs and perceptions about science and technology and the
influence of these on the inclusion of awareness of values in teaching.
Adopting an interpretive methodology, in-depth interviews were the main research
technique but the interview questions were derived from the quantitative analysis of a
The main research findings indicate that educators believe that science is socially
constructed knowledge and that all aspects of technology are value-laden, yet the same
educators present a positivistic, impersonal view of science and the only values
addressed in technology are relate to economics and marketability. It is postulated that
an impersonal, deterministic image of science and technology is not conducive to the
inclusion of a wide range of values. In the concluding chapters the need for educators
to reflect on their beliefs is emphasised and possible ways to do this explored.