Science and Religious Education Teachers’ Views of Argumentation and Its Teaching

Research in Science Education.

Sibel Erduran, Liam Guilfoyle, & Wonyong Park.


Argumentation, the justification of claims with reasons and/or evidence, has emerged as a significant educational goal in science education in recent years. It has also been noted as an important pedagogical approach in numerous school subjects. Yet, there is limited understanding of how teachers’ views of argumentation and its teaching compare in
different school subjects. In order to ensure coherence in the implementation of the school curriculum, it is important to understand such views particularly in the context of subjects that are often positioned to be in conflict with each other, for example in the context of science versus religious education. In this paper, we present an empirical study on how science and religious education teachers view argumentation and its teaching. The data are drawn from a survey of secondary school teachers of 11–16-year-old students in England. Twenty-nine teachers were presented with an online survey in order to collect data on various aspects of their views including pedagogical strategies that support argumentation. Qualitative and quantitative results suggest that teachers of both subjects
consider argumentation to be a significant aspect of their subject although particular nuances exist in how the teachers interpret argumentation. Furthermore, the data suggest that there are statistically significant differences in terms of the perceived frequency of pedagogical strategies used to support argumentation in lessons.

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