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This study explored environmental worldviews of selected undergraduate students in Taiwan and located the associations of these worldviews with science. The “environment” is represented as nature or the natural world, as opposed to the social and spiritual world. The participants were undergraduate students (14 science and 15 nonscience majors) enrolled in a general science course at a southern Taiwanese university. A questionnaire and individual interviews were conducted in parallel to elicit in depth the students’ ideas/beliefs about nature, such as, to what construes nature, how it works, and how humans relate to nature. The responses were analyzed using a phenomenographic approach to emphasize the qualitative variation of the students’ views. The key findings based on their relations to science and science education were the following: (1) Most students seemed to immediately relate the topic of nature to science and thus sought to explain nature from a scientific perspective, yet their understanding of scientific concepts or metaphors, such as the balance of nature, was problematic; (2) a value-free perspective is evident among some students in viewing human-induced natural crises: What we should do is merely look at facts and let science tell us what we should and should not do. (3) The students generally expressed trust in science and technology and believed it to be the key to improving the condition of nature as well as human life.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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