Nurturing the rich learning and teaching of Science

Monday, October 6, 2014

Category: News

“Nurturing the Rich Learning and Teaching of Science” conference delegates and speakers outside the front door of the Royal Society’s Kavli Centre, Chicheley Hall.

Thirty-five leading academics, policy brokers and practitioners in science education came together in mid September to discuss how to nurture the rich learning and teaching of science in three key areas: initial teacher education, continuing professional development for teachers and engaging students with STEM through both formal educational provision and informal learning contexts.

The stimulating two day international conference was hosted by the Royal Society Ogden Trust Education Research Fellows (Dr Anne Bowker, King’s College London; Dr Wai Yi Feng, University of Cambridge; and Dr Judith Hillier, University of Oxford), and held in the beautiful setting of the  Royal Society’s Kavli Centre,  Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire.

The aims of the conference were to bring together key people engaged in research, practice and policy-making across the field of science education to explore the implications of current research for ongoing practice and future policy-making, and to build networks out of which potential collaborations, including further research, could develop.

The theme addressing initial teaching education saw a keynote talk by Professor Michael Reiss, Institute of Education, where he posed the question “What sorts of science teachers do we want in our schools?” Dr Judith Hillier, University of Oxford, presented her research on the process of learning to explain physics in the classroom, and Dr Maria Teresa Tatto, Michigan State University, examined what had been learnt about the knowledge of mathematics teachers in her international study and how this could be extended to science education.

The continuing professional development (CPD) theme had Professor Jonathan Osborne, Stanford University, as the keynote speaker talking about how to meet the subject-specific professional learning needs of science teachers. Dr Anne Bowker, King’s College London, presented her research on the issues affecting support for teachers’ physics-specific CPD, and Professor Jim Ryder, University of Leeds, explored the need to balance accountability and autonomy in developing the professionalism of science teachers.

Professor Justin Dillon, King’s College London, was the keynote speaker for the theme on engaging students with STEM through both formal educational provision and informal learning contexts, with his discussion of whether there is a convergence of science education in and out of school. Dr Wai Yi Feng, University of Cambridge, presented her research which profiles the impact of STEM enrichment programmes, and Professor Sir John Holman, University of York and Wellcome Trust, gave a policy perspective on informal learning.

Delegates enjoyed many interesting discussions over the course of the two days that are already leading to new research collaborations, as well an associated edited book… so watch this space! For more information on the research presented at the conference or subsequent developments, please email one of us.

Dr Anne Bowker
Dr Wai Yi Feng
Dr Judith Hillier

Anne Bowker, Wai Yi Feng and Judith Hillier – organisers of the conference.