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International Journal of Environmental and Science Education

Yıl 2009 , Cilt 4 , Sayı 1

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Using the deficit model, public debate model and co-production of knowledge models to interpret points of view of students concerning citizens participation in socioscientific issues

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Université Lava1
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In the first part of this article I propose a conceptual framework – based on the deficit, public debate and co-production of knowledge models articulated by (Callon, 1999) – with which to examine students' appropriation of de socioscientific issues (SSI). The second part of this article presents the way a group of three post-secondary/preuniversity students described the attitudes, interests and capacity for understanding of citizens concerned by the controversy surrounding the use of cellular telephones, and how they viewed the conditions under which citizens could contribute to public debates. This study was conducted on the basis of an ethnographic approach. Participant observation was performed by the researcher for three hours during each of fifteen weeks. Findings indicate that the group of three students ascribed to citizens deficits of knowledge and comprehension, and authorized a limited participation of citizens in public debates. Implications for science teaching are discussed. It is argued that the use of the conceptual framework set out in this article in a science classroom would, on the one hand, enable teachers to "problematize" SSI in a way accounting for citizen participation in sociotechnical debates and, on the other hand, provide students with a basis for developing an understanding of SSI management that breaks with an interpretation centring on the deficit model as applied to relationships between citizens and scientists.

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