Students’ conceptions about animal ethics: the benefit of moral metaphors for fostering decision-making competence

Faculty/Professorship: Natural Sciences Didactics  
Author(s): Tramowsky, Nadine; Messig, Denis  ; Groß, Jorge 
Title of the Journal: International Journal of Science Education
ISSN: 1464-5289, 0950-0693
Publisher Information: London [u.a.] : Taylor and Francis
Year of publication: 2022
Volume: 44
Issue: 3
Pages: 355-378
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2022.2028924
The analysis of students’ conceptions is a crucial element in modern science education research. Based on a large number of studies, we know that learning environments should build upon students’ existing knowledge to initiate conceptual change towards an adequate scientific understanding. This also holds true when it comes to moral reasoning. In this case, the implementation of educational standards, such as decision-making competence, strongly relies on students’ conceptions about ethical issues. In this study the Conceptual Metaphor Theory is used empirically in order to analyse students’ language in regard to conceptual metaphors. To date, little educational research exists on the effects of moral metaphors in science education. For this reason, we conducted a two-part qualitative interview study (n = 9 + 6 and 6) in order to identify German high-school students’ moral conceptions about animal ethics. The conceptions were identified and analysed by means of qualitative content analysis. A key finding can be seen in the underlying embodied conceptions and image schemas that are in particular linked to human well-being. Apparently, students use these metaphorical thinking patterns and are therefore capable of conceiving abstract conceptions about animal ethics. As a consequence, we propose an alternative approach in order to foster decision-making competence.
GND Keywords: Biologieunterricht; Tierethik
Keywords: Animal ethics, decision-making competence, students’ moral conceptions, socio-scientific issues (SSIs), Conceptual Metaphor Theory
DDC Classification: 590 Animals (Zoology)  
RVK Classification: WB 4049   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Release Date: 27. October 2022