Prior research revealed that having constructivist-oriented scientific epistemological views could be an important prerequisite for implementing so-called constructivist-based teaching strategies. How to help students acquire constructivist oriented epistemological views of science, then, becomes a major concern for practicing science educators. This study viewed STS (Science-Technology-Society) instruction as a promising means to help students progress toward constructivist oriented epistemological views of science. One hundred and one Taiwanese female 10th graders (16-year-olds) were assigned to either a traditional instruction group or a STS treatment group. Through an eight month research treatment it was found that STS group students, at the final stage of this study, tended to have scientific epistemological views more oriented to constructivist views of science than traditional group subjects. Further analyses revealed that, among STS group students, those originally having empiricist-aligned views of science tended to progress most in their epistemological views. Student in-depth interviews revealed that some STS group subjects, as a result of STS instruction, tended to accept the theory laden quality of scientific exploration and to perceive the importance of social negotiations in science community and cultural impacts on science. However, student interview data showed that such an epistemological progression seemed to be implicit, suggesting that students may not have the confidence to generalize what and how they learned about science in STS instruction to how scientists actually practice about science.
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