Supporting Secondary Students’ Morality Development in Science Education

Tore van der Leij*, Lucy Avraamidou, Arjen Wals, Martin Goedhart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This review study synthesises 28 empirical research articles emphasising the learning of morality aspects in the context of addressing socioscientific issues (SSI) in secondary science education. The key interrelated questions we seek to address in this study are how morality is conceptualised in the science classroom in the light of emerging sustainability issues and how it can be developed. We used the Four Component Model of Morality to create a knowledge base for how morality has been conceptualised in the literature on secondary science education and how it can be developed. The findings of this review study show that not all studies have used concrete, explicit conceptualisations of morality and that the role of sense of place and the situatedness of morality have often been neglected. It also emerged that studies focusing on students’ moral character and action-taking were underrepresented. We recommend that further research be carried out on the interrelationships between moral character and enacted moral reasoning. The review also reveals a gap between morality research and teaching. Based on the outcomes of this review, we propose a set of recommendations aimed at guiding and encouraging students’ morality within secondary science education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-181
JournalStudies in Science Education
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2022


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