Our distinguished panel of Keynote Speakers will share their expertise and opinions on a diverse but highly-relevant range of topics in science education.

19 Jun, 1400-1500 hrs

Confronting Prevailing Narratives of Student Engagement and Participation in Science Classrooms from Different Lenses

Dr Sonya Martin

Seoul National University, Korea

In this presentation, I use a sociocultural lens to examine how societal structures shape expectations about engagement and participation practices in schools and science classrooms. Using quantitative measures (surveys measuring students’ perceptions of classroom participation) and qualitative methods (classroom observation, video analysis, interviews with teachers and students), I offer cross-cultural comparisons to raise questions about the need to re-consider supposed connections that exist between student interest, classroom participation, and achievement in science. I offer examples from research in Korea and Taiwan that differ from the prevailing narrative that students’ enjoyment and interest in science are key factors for promoting cognitive engagement and high achievement in science. Specifically, I introduce what is known as the East Asian Achievement Paradox or Achievement Disparity, which refers to the phenomenon seen in many East Asian countries where researchers have identified a disparity between students’ high achievement in math and science and students’ reported lack of enjoyment and interest for learning math and science. Building from my discussion of this phenomenon, I argue the need for science education researchers to critically question some of the hegemonic assumptions that underpin research on student engagement and participation in science. I raise some questions for the field regarding the necessity of reconsidering Western assumptions that there are concrete, predetermined ways in which student “engagement” should be demonstrated in classrooms. In particular, I suggest that there needs to be a stronger emphasis on the contextualized ways in which participation can be demonstrated and I offer the issue of student silence as but one example of how researchers can begin to expand our perspectives about how science is learned in different contexts. Building from this example, I raise questions about the ways in which the hegemony of the generalizability of research may limit researchers from questioning how what is learned in one context may not necessarily be applicable to another. I conclude by introducing some questions to reframe how researchers examine the issues of student engagement, participation, and interest and I offer implications for how an expanded view of these issues can advance science education research.

20 Jun, 0930-1030 hrs

Pedagogical content knowledge: lessons from research and policy for improving teaching quality

Dr Vanessa Kind

Durham University, UK

The lecture discusses the expectations societies have for their teachers, introducing factors required for “quality teaching”. Current teacher preparation methodologies in many nations operate a deficit model that focuses on providing potential teachers with information deemed necessary to function as a teacher, allied to a “master-apprentice” system to develop classroom teaching strategies. The impact on student achievement is mixed: international data shows that some well-funded jurisdictions perform at or below average, and outcomes for students vary. The lecture explores research evidence illustrating “great teaching”, identifying components that seem consistently essential for high attainment. Pedagogical content knowledge is presented, and analysed from the perspective of teacher preparation policies in five contrasting jurisdictions. Empirical evidence illustrating the quality of pedagogical content knowledge teachers require will be presented. The lecture concludes with a proposal for a teacher quality framework model and recommendations for policy and practice.

20 Jun, 1330-1430 hrs

The Role of Argumentation Discourse in the Design of Knowledge-building Learning Experiences and Environments

Dr Richard Duschl

The Pennsylvania State University, USA

Arguments have three forms – analytical, dialectical, and rhetorical – each of which has a role in building scientific knowledge. Argumentation discourse is a core practice in the learning and doing of science. Doing science is fundamentally about building and refining knowledge; e.g. models, mechanisms, and explanations. Knowledge building occurs within and among communities of practice whose members engage in an array of critique and communication practices. The keynote address will examine how philosophical, psychological, and pedagogical developments in the 20th century have informed designs for argumentation frameworks that, in turn, have shaped our thinking about STEM teaching and learning and the design of STEM learning environments. The ‘Three Part Harmony’ model of infusing and balancing conceptual, epistemic, and social learning goals is introduced as a set of principles for the design of curriculum, instruction, and assessments frameworks. These frameworks are then examined to foster the development of and engagement in productive disciplinary discourse practices – argumentation chief among them.

21 Jun, 0930-1030 hrs

Students’ Learning in the Sciences

Dr Subramaniam Ramanathan

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Students’ understanding in the sciences – whether it is in physics, chemistry or biology, is often fraught with learning difficulties and alternative conceptions. Just because students can answer a question correctly does not necessarily mean that their understanding matches canonical equivalence. It is quite likely that their learning may have conceptual gaps that are worth bridging. I elaborate more on this in this presentation. Also, I argue for more linkages to be forged between schools and informal science institutions as a way to improve attitudes towards science among students as well as for students’ learning in the sciences to benefit from the designed settings that these institutions bring to bear on the learning space.