HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 21 no. 1 (2012)

Locality-Based Science Education in Sociocultural Approach: ‘Scientific Exploration in Culture’ in the Context of Korea

Sungmin Im | Sung-jae Pak

Discipline: Education, Sociology



Numerous recent studies have attempted to highlight sociocultural aspects of science and education in research and educational practice. Despite widespread awareness that sociocultural aspects should be reflected in teaching science, it is still difficult to implement appropriately in everyday school situations. This perhaps highlights the issues of putting theoretical exploration into practice, where students are expected to learn science through a sociocultural lens. In this study, the authors introduce and discuss a practical approach in teaching science, focused on a Korean sociocultural context called ‘Scientific Exploration in Culture (SEC)’. This concept is similar to the practical notion of a field trip where students get to learn through interactivity with the subject matter. In this case, SEC deliberately focuses on sociocultural aspects of science, in addition to focusing on scientific inquiry enacted at places that have historical heritage. For a decade this program has been employed by Korean teachers as an alternative activity to field trips, special curriculum of school science, and informal science education program. Although there are numerous studies and feedback from practitioners on the topic of inquiry-based teaching and its effectiveness, there is relatively little academic discussion on connections to sociocultural theory. In this paper the authors provide more details of this program and discuss their work in terms of a locality-based science education with a sociocultural perspective.