Science and technology related global problems: An international survey of science educators

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Abstract

This survey evaluated one aspect of the Science-Technology-Society theme, namely, the teaching of global problems related to science and technology. The survey was conducted during spring 1984. Two hundred sixty-two science educators representing 41 countries completed the survey. Response was 80%. Findings included a ranking of twelve global problems (the top six were: World Hunger and Food Resources, Population Growth, Air Quality and Atmosphere, Water Resources, War Technology, and Human Health and Disease). Science educators generally indicated the following: the science and technology related global problems would be worse by the year 2000; they were slightly or moderately knowledgeable about the problems; print, audio-visual media, and personal experiences were their primary sources of information; it is important to study global problems in schools; emphasis on global problems should increase with age/grade level; an integrated approach should be used to teach about global problems; courses including global problems should be required of all students; most countries are in the early stages of developing programs including global problems; there is a clear trend toward S-T-S; there is public support for including global problems; and, the most significant limitations to implementation of the S-T-S theme (in order of significance) are political, personnel, social, psychological, economic, pedagogical, and physical. Implications for research and development in science education are discussed.

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