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Research in science education in the UK: Past, present, and future. John K. Gilbert King’s College London The University of Reading. Structure. Landmarks in the history of SER in the UK; Achievements to date Current challenges in doing SER Critique of educational research

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research in science education in the uk past present and future

Research in science education in the UK: Past, present, and future

John K. Gilbert

King’s College London

The University of Reading

structure
Structure
  • Landmarks in the history of SER in the UK;
  • Achievements to date
  • Current challenges in doing SER
  • Critique of educational research
  • The future: Types of research
  • The future: Themes for research
  • The future: Conditions for success in SER
  • References
landmarks in the history of ser in uk
Landmarks in the history of SER in UK
  • Nuffield Science Teaching Trust: 1962-mid 1970s
  • SER in Specialist Centres and Education Departments
  • SSRC Studentships and overseas research students
  • ‘Studies in Science Education’ (1974)

‘European Journal of Science Education (1979)

  • Assessment of Performance Unit (1974-88),

Secondary Science Curriculum Review(1983-1989)

  • The National Curriculum for England and Wales 1988
achievements in ser 1
Achievements in SER (1)
  • Common commitments:

- School system, especially 11-16 age range

-Improvement in teaching, hence in learning

- Qualitative enquiry, hence explanation

- Constructivism: Piaget, Kelly, Vygotsky

achievements in ser 2
Achievements in SER(2)
  • Alternative conceptions / misconceptions
  • Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education
  • Teacher development
  • Language use in the classroom
  • Attitudes
  • Laboratory work
  • Argumentation
  • Policy document : ‘Beyond 2000: Science Education for the future’
current challenges in doing ser
Current challenges in doing SER
  • Staff profile and education
  • Isolation
  • The fate of good researchers
  • Availability of high-quality time
  • Administrative and teaching load
  • Research design possibilities
factors affecting educational decisions
Factors affecting educational decisions
  • Local political issues
  • Public, especially parental, sentiment
  • Potential legal pitfalls
  • Issues of resource availability
  • Media pressure
  • The welfare of individual pupils

------

  • and ‘research evidence’

(Nelson et al{2009})

critique of educational research 1
Critique of educational research(1)
  • Funding based on peer review;
  • Low involvement by major stakeholders;
  • Insufficient basis in existing published research;
  • Too small scale to produce ‘valid and reliable’ results;
  • Published in specialist language;
  • Published in inaccessible media;
  • Lack of interpretation for teachers or policy-makers;
  • Lack of recognition of existing norms of practice.

(Hillage, Pearson, Anderson, Tamkin {1998})

critique of educational research 2
Critique of educational research (2)
  • Lack of relevance to issues of local importance
  • Lack of timeliness
  • Unstated assumptions
  • Uneven quality
  • Lack of clear implications

(Nelson et al {2009})

the future types of research
The future: Types of research
  • Inform new policy or practice in a specific area
  • Evaluation of existing policies or practices
  • Action research in specific context
  • Identification of effective practices
  • ‘Blue skies’ research
  • Enquiry from particular psychology-of-learning perspective

( McIntyre{1998})

the future themes for research 1
The future: Themes for research(1)
  • Relation between aims and content
  • Relation between aims and assessment methods
  • Links with other subjects, especially English, Mathematics, and Technology
  • Increasing students’ engagement with science
  • Use of out-of-school activities
  • Influence of gender and cultural background on learning
  • Linking research, policy formation, classroom practice, teacher education

(Gilbert(Ed){2006})

the future themes for research 2
The future: Themes for Research (2)
  • Students

- attainment of ‘scientific literacy’

- cross-curricular integration of learning

- learning from ‘contexts’

- continuity/differentiation/progression

- adult and multi-generational learning

  • Teachers

- use of informal resources

- subject and pedagogic content knowledge

  • Policy makers

- procedures for decision-making

- use of research output

the future conditions for success resources
The future: conditions for success: resources
  • ESRC

- 55 studentships in Education (2009-2010)

- TLRP, 1998-2009, £3.6m

-epiSTEMe, 2008-2012

  • Charities

- Nuffield Foundation

- Wellcome

- AstraZenaca Science Teaching Trust

- Gatsby Foundation

  • European Union
  • Schools
references
References
  • Gilbert,J.K.(ed.)(2006). Science Education in Schools: Issues, evidence and proposals. London: TLRP
  • Hillage,G.,Pearson,A.,Anderson,A., Tamkin,P.(1998). Excellence in research in schools. London: DES.
  • Jenkins,E.(2000). Research in science education: Time for a health check?. Studies in Science Education, 35,1-26
  • McIntyre,D.(1998). The usefulness of educational research. In: J.Rudduck, D.McIntyre(eds.), Challenges for Educational Research. London: Paul Chapman
  • Nelson,S.,Leffler,J.,Hanseb,B.(2009). Towards a research agenda for understanding and improving the use of educational research. Portland,Oregon: Northwestern Regional Educational Laboratory. (http://www.nwrel.org/researchuse/report.pdf)
  • Waring,M.(1979). Social Pressures and Curriculum Innovation.London: Methuen
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