Young people's perspectives on genetics, identity and society using film and discussion
Murphy, Padraig (2005) Young people's perspectives on genetics, identity and society using film and discussion. In: Fischer , Hans E., (ed.) Developing Standards in Research on Science Education. Taylor and Francis, London, pp. 165-170. ISBN 9780415383394
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Since Darwin, knowledge about biology has, for many, had a diminishing effect on ideas of identity and humanity's place in the world. In recent years biotechnology has raised further public concerns about 'playing God' and 'interfering with life.' School biology curricula however rarely open up the socio-scientific debate to allow students to explore such philosophical issues. This
study aimed to identify connections biology students make between current accepted genetic knowledge, biotechnology and philosophical issues of society and identity. One major element of popular culture - film - was used in classrooms to engage students to explore the interfaces of
biological knowledge, technology, society and identity. Ninety-seven students across eight schools watched a film about genetic disease exploring pre- implantation genetic diagnosis(PGD), eugenics, individual identity and science in society. Structured classroom debates and discussion were recorded and coded for three categories modified from Driver et al's (1996) youth representations of science - content, process and social enterprise. Following discussions,the social enterprise category was broadened further to include cultural perceptions of biology as
part of identity and society and coded for five themes.
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