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This paper describes a German project that developed students' capabilities for understanding and valuing biotechnology and genetic engineering, focusing on practical fieldwork with schools by an interdisciplinary team. The paper identifies the characteristics of individual and structural preconditions and their development during active project work within the schools. Project work was organized into five phases that involved contacting the schools, building confidence, initiating project work, integrating researchers as participant observers, and terminating the project. Researchers developed surveys for students and teachers, taking into account recent research on school culture. The surveys examined formation of concepts in natural sciences; views on science, technology, and society; and school culture. Results indicated that in all types of secondary schools, formation of concepts was not sufficiently clear or in-depth. The knowledge base on modern technologies was almost totally dependent upon secondhand information from the media for both teachers and students. There was very little inservice training for teachers of biology and related subjects. The gap between present preconceptions and attainment targets was evident when examining questions on school culture. There was general contentment with school life, though students tended to be critical of preparation for responsible citizenship. (Contains 9 tables, 8 figures, and 19 references.) (SM)

Descriptors: Biotechnology, Child Development, Educational Research, Ethics, Foreign Countries, Genetic Engineering, School Culture, Science Education, Science Projects, Secondary Education, Secondary School Science, Secondary School Students, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes

Autor: Schallies, Michael; Wellensiek, Anneliese; Lembens, Anja


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