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Currents in STSE education: Mapping a complex field, 40 years on



It has been 40 years since science, technology, society, and environment (STSE) education first appeared in science education research and practice. Although supported among many educators worldwide, there is much confusion surrounding the STSE slogan. Widely differing discourses on STSE education and diverse ways of practicing, have led to an array of distinct pedagogical approaches, programs, and methods. We are left wondering how we might orient ourselves amid such a diversity of propositions. What does STSE look like in practice? What ideological orientations underpin its practice? In this paper, we review the research literature and educational practices in STSE education to (1) map out a typology of STSE education in the form of currents and (2) provide a heuristic that educators can use for critical analysis of discourses and practices in the field. We identify, explore, and critique six currents in STSE education: application/design, historical, logical reasoning, value-centered, sociocultural, and socio-ecojustice currents. We suggest that these currents may serve as a didactic tool for others, a framework that will assist educators in informing their own theoretical understandings, choices, and practices in the context of STSE education. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed95:601–626, 2011