Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 29 (3) Sep. 2021 / JSSH-8131-2021


Understanding COVID-19 Pandemic through Science, Technology and Society (STS) Education: A Textual Analysis of Student Reflection Papers

Jerome V. Cleofas

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 29, Issue 3, September 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.3.27

Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, reflection papers, STS, STS education, textual analysis

Published on: 27 September 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic calls for educators to deliver learning experiences that are relevant in order to empower students to adapt to these unprecedented times. Science, Technology and Society (STS) is an interdisciplinary social science course included in the undergraduate general education curriculum in the Philippines that can potentially be designed to help students make sense of the coronavirus crisis. This study aims to describe the insights on the COVID-19 pandemic among undergraduate students enrolled in STS classes through the textual analysis of their reflection papers. A total of 74 reflection papers were qualitatively textually analysed using thematic analysis. Four themes emerged from the data: (1) appreciation of the science and medical community; (2) sensitivity to the barriers of scientific progress during the COVID-19 pandemic; (3) gaining social consciousness about the impacts of the pandemic, and; (4) enrichment of critical thinking and social engagement. Educators are encouraged to incorporate STS approaches in their lessons to foster students’ critical understanding of current socio-scientific issues.

  • Akcay, B., & Akcay H. (2015). Effectiveness of science-technology-society (STS) instruction on student understanding of the nature of science and attitudes toward science. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 3(1), 37-45. https://www.ijemst.net/index.php/ijemst/article/view/51

  • Alcantara, A. J. (2000). Assessment of science, technology and society (STS) as a general education course at UP Los Baños. https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=PH2001101343

  • Beltran, M. (2020, May 26). The Philippines’ PANDEMIC response: A tragedy of errors. The Diplomat. https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/the-philippines-pandemic-response-a-tragedy-of-errors.

  • Bettencourt, C., Velho, J. L., & Almeida, P. A. (2011). Biology teachers’ perceptions about Science-Technology-Society (STS) education. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 3148-3152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.262

  • Boonprasert, L., Tupsai, J., & Yuenyong, C. (2018). Grade 8 students’ capability of analytical thinking and attitude toward science through teaching and learning about soil and its’ pollution based on science technology and society (STS) approach. AIP Conference Proceedings, 1923(1), 030070. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5019561

  • Çalik, M., & Karatas, F. Ö. (2019). Does a “Science, Technology and Social Change” course improve scientific habits of mind and attitudes towards socioscientific issues? Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 44(6), 35-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2018v44n6.3

  • Chowdhury, M. A. (2016). The integration of science-technology-society/science-technology-society-environment and socio-scientific-issues for effective science education and science teaching. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 20(5), 19-38. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1188220

  • Chowdhury, T. B. M., Holbrook, J., & Rannikmäe, M. (2020). Socioscientific issues within science education and their role in promoting the desired Citizenry. Science Education International, 31(2), 203-208. https://doi.org/10.33828/sei.v31.i2.10

  • Cigdemoglu, C. (2020). Flipping the use of science-technology and society issues as triggering students’ motivation and chemical literacy. Science Education International, 31(1), 74-83. https://doi.org/10.33828/sei.v31.i1.8

  • Cleofas, J. V. (2021). Life interruptions, learnings and hopes among Filipino college students during COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 26(6), 552-560. https://doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2020.1846443

  • Commission on Higher Education(2013).General education curriculum: Holistic understandings, intellectual and civic competencies.https: //ched.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/CMO-No.20-s2013.pdf

  • Devi, M. G., & Aznam, N. (2019). The effect of science-technology-society (STS) model on scientific literacy and scientific attitude of students on the subject of buffer. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1156(1), 012027.

  • Fitsch, H., Jordan-Young, R., Trujillo, A. K., Kraus, C., Roy, D., & Schmitz, S. (2020). Coalition-making and the practice of feminist STS in the time of COVID-19. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 6(2), 1-33. https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v6i2.34640

  • Hodson, D. (2020). Going beyond STS education: Building a curriculum for sociopolitical activism. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 20(4), 592-622. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42330-020-00114-6

  • Khishfe, R., Alshaya, F. S., BouJaoude, S., Mansour, N., & Alrudiyan, K. I. (2017). Students’ understandings of nature of science and their arguments in the context of four socio-scientific issues. International Journal of Science Education, 39(3), 299-334. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2017.1280741

  • Knopes, J. (2019). Science, technology, and human health: The value of STS in medical and health humanities pedagogy. Journal of Medical Humanities, 40(4), 461-471. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-019-09551-3

  • Lasco, G. (2020). Medical populism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Global Public Health, 15(10), 1417-1429. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2020.1807581

  • Mulyanti, S., Halim, A., Ilyas, S., & Syukri, M. (2020, October 20-22). The impact of the science technology society (STS) approach on critical thinking ability and student learning outcomes. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1882, 012026.

  • Ngaewkoodrua, N., & Yuenyong, C. (2017, June 6-8). Teachers’ learning on the workshop of STS approach as a way of enhancing inventive thinking skills. AIP Conference Proceedings, 1923(1), 030030). https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5019521

  • Olukotun, O., Mkandawire-Vahlmu, L., Kreuziger, S. B., Dressel, A., Wesp, L., Sima, C., Scheer, V., Weitzel, J., Washington, R., Hess, A., Kako, P., & Stevens, P. (2018). Preparing culturally safe student nurses: An analysis of undergraduate cultural diversity course reflections. Journal of Professional Nursing, 34(4), 245-252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2017.11.011

  • Raveendran, A. (2021). Invoking the political in socioscientific issues: A study of Indian students’ discussions on commercial surrogacy. Science Education, 105(1), 62-98. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21601

  • Roswita, F., Sulastri, S., & Khaldun, I. (2021). Application of the Science Technology Society (STS) model to craft and entrepreneurship materials to develop soft skills of students. Jurnal Penelitian Pendidikan IPA, 7(1), 67-73. https://doi.org/10.29303/jppipa.v7i1.525

  • Smith, J. A. (2017). Textual analysis. The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118901731.iecrm0248

  • Terry, G., Hayfield, N., Clarke, V. & Braun, V. (2017). Thematic analysis. In Willig, C. & Stainton-Rogers (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research in psychology (2nd ed., pp. 17-37). Sage.

  • Talidong, K. J. B., & Toquero, C. M. D. (2020). Philippine teachers’ practices to deal with anxiety amid COVID-19. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 25(6-7), 573-579. https://doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2020.1759225

  • Toquero, C. M. (2020). Challenges and opportunities for higher education amid the COVID-19 pandemic: The Philippine context. Pedagogical Research, 5(4), em0063. https://doi.org/10.29333/pr/7947

  • World Health Organization. (2021). Weekly epidemiological update - 16 February 2021. https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update---16-february-2021

  • Yapıcıoğlu, A. E., & Kaptan, F. (2017). A mixed method research study on the effectiveness of socioscientific issue-based instruction. Education and Science, 42(192), 113-137. https://doi.org/10.15390/EB.2017.6600

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

Article ID


Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Related Articles