STEM Discussion Group

11th November 2021 : 11:00 - 12:00

Category: Workshop

Speaker: Kyla Smith (3rd Year DPhil), Lara Karassellos (2nd Year DPhil)

Location: room K/L

Convener: Karen Skilling

Audience: Department Staff and Students

Please find below the presentations for the next STEM Discussion Group – on November 11th 11-2 in room K/L (this is on the right hand side of the Bruner building across the road from the department). Please email to join the group and receive the Teams invitation.


Kyla Smith (3rd Year DPhil)


The home-field advantage: what teaching out-of-field means for high school science and mathematics teachers


Out-of-field teaching occurs when there is a mis-match between a teacher’s expertise and what they are teaching. Within the sciences, biology, chemistry, and physics each have their own specialised knowledge, solution methods, experimental techniques, jargon, and symbols. Therefore, teachers trained in one science specialty may feel out-of-field when teaching another science specialty. This study investigates teachers’ self-efficacy in the different science specialties and compares the teacher self-efficacy of in- versus out-of-field teachers. The study adopts social cognitive theory as a theoretical framework in an effort to centre and value the voices, experiences, and knowledge of teachers. This presentation will discuss some of the issues faced by of those teaching out-of-field.


Lara Karassellos  (2nd Year DPhil)

Presentation title: Social justice and technology: Reflections on the use of online and hybrid education to support equitable and inclusive higher education practices in South African universities

Abstract: The context of my DPhil study is widening participation in South African higher education, where online education has been presented as one of the possible strategies for supporting an increase in formal access on a mass scale. It is important to balance this formal access with epistemological access to the university, an aspect with which most students from disadvantaged home and schooling backgrounds struggle, evident in the high attrition and low graduation rates in the country. These inequalities have been further exacerbated by the recent lockdowns and hurried shift to emergency remote teaching and learning, illuminating severe digital and other inequalities, as well as significant gaps in digital literacies for many students. In this presentation I will share some initial reflections from my study on equitable and inclusive online pedagogic strategies, including considerations of low-tech, data-light, and asynchronous methods, and universal design for learning (UDL) principles.