Integration of Science, Technology and Society (STS) approach in teaching chemistry at higher secondary level

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


There has been a continuous debate in shifting emphasis of science education for attaining the goal of scientific literacy (Hodson, 2003). Over the past 30-40 years, science educators felt a need for having a more context-based approach of science education in order to make it relevant, significant, and interesting for students. Science-Technology-Society (STS) is one of those context-based approaches, getting high acceptance and popularity due to its nature and outcomes. Many scholars have argued for the inclusion of STS issues in science curriculum (Aikenhead, 1994b; Hodson, 2003; Wei & Thomas, 2005; Yager, 1995b). This study aimed to see the possibilities and challenges of STS integration in chemistry curriculum at the higher secondary level. To meet this need, an action research method was adopted to understand STS implementation in the context. During a seven- week study, two action cycles based on Dass's (2005) inquiry model were carried out with a class of grade XI pre-engineering students. Data were collected through observation, reflective journals, students' informal talk, focus group interviews and document analysis, students' reflections, textbook, and students' work sample. Through this study, I have tried to point out that innovation in classroom practices can be done with the existing science education through STS integration. The study partly supports the intention and reveals that my positive attitude and STS features like practical nature of tasks acted as catalysts for this integration, as these influenced the students' willingness to learn through this approach. However, the study also shows that the successful application of STS approach in chemistry classroom needs support in terms of teacher's skill, resource availability, assessment reform, and having a flexible chemistry curriculum. This study implies that STS is not a slogan but carries substantial meanings for science education. Significance of this study lays in its findings, which reflect the possibilities and acceptance of STS science approach in terms of teachers' and students' attitude, availability of resources, and management support. The study raises the need of changes in different areas including curriculum, assessment and teacher education programs, and also opens the door for future research in these areas within the context of STS approach.

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