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Moral reasoning of pre-service science teachers toward local and non-local environmental problems

Tuncay, Büşra
Based on the importance of environmental ethics in both causing and solving many of the environmental problems, the present study aimed to (1) Examine moral reasoning patterns (i.e. ecocentric, anthropocentric, non-environmental) of pre-service science teachers toward local and non-local environmental problems, (2) Investigate the effects of gender and grade level on moral reasoning patterns, and (3) Explain the factors that may have led to the observed differences in participants’ moral reasoning patterns. Throughout 2008-2009 Fall and Spring semesters, environmental cases regarding local and non-local environmental problems were distributed to a convenience sample of 120 pre-service science teachers who were enrolled in Middle East Technical University and moral decision-making interviews (MDMIs) were carried out with a sub-sample of 16 pre-service science teachers. In accordance with the purpose of the study, descriptive statistics, paired-samples t-tests, and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) tests as well as qualitative analysis of the interviews were utilized. Analyses demonstrated that participants of the study mostly exhibited ecocentric moral reasoning for both local and non-local environmental problems, and their ecocentric and anthropocentric concerns showed statistically significant difference with regard to problems’ locality. Moreover, while gender did not have a statistically significant effect on participants’ moral reasoning patterns, grade level did have a statistically significant effect. Finally, analysis of the interviews revealed sixteen factors effective in participants’ environmental concerns and their moral reasoning regarding environmental issues.