Profiling teachers based on their professional attitudes towards teaching responsible research and innovation

In order to facilitate policy-driven reforms in science education, it is important to understand how teaching innovations diffuse among teachers and how that adoption process can be catalysed. Little is known about the set of attitudes that makes teachers early or late adopters. In this study, the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (C-BAM) was employed as a framework for analysing teachers’ interests, concerns, worries and enthusiasm. We argue that the questionnaire typically used with C-BAM suffers from a ceiling effect and has unbalanced variables. An improved version of the questionnaire was developed and implemented in the project IRRESISTIBLE with 180 science teachers in ten countries at all school levels. The case of educational innovation in this project was Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), a concept offered by the EU for science education to orient towards socially and ethically sensitive and inclusive processes of science and technology. Using cluster analysis we found four concern profile types: the Carefree, the Pragmatic, the Uncertain and the Worried. With their relatively high positive interests, the Carefree and the Pragmatic profile types are most likely to be early adopters. The high number of Uncertain teachers calls for better conceptualization of RRI in the school context. Furthermore, teacher professional development and additional resources are needed if this innovation is to be diffused widely across European schools. The improved questionnaire provided elaborate information on teachers’ concerns and interests, and could help in understanding and facilitating other top-down educational reforms as well.