Analysing Exemplary Science Teaching: Theoretical Lenses and a Spectrum of Possibilities for Practice

Analysing Exemplary Science Teaching: Theoretical Lenses and a Spectrum of Possibilities for Practice

Analysing Exemplary Science Teaching: Theoretical Lenses and a Spectrum of Possibilities for Practice

Analysing Exemplary Science Teaching: Theoretical Lenses and a Spectrum of Possibilities for Practice

Synopsis

"I read lots of books in which science education researchers tell science teachers how to teach. This book, refreshingly, is written the other way round. We read a number of accounts by outstanding science and technology teachers of how they use new approaches to teaching to motivate their students and maximise their learning. These accounts are then followed by some excellentanalyses from leading academics. I learnt a lot from reading this book."
Professor Michael Reiss, Institute of Education, University of London

"Provides an important new twist on one of the enduring problems of case-based learning... This is a book that deserves careful reading and re-reading, threading back and forwards from the immediate and practical images of excellence in the teachers' cases to the comprehensive andscholarly analyses in the researchers' thematic chapters."
Professor William Louden, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Through a celebration of teaching and research, this book explores exemplary practice in science education and fuses educational theory and classroom practice inunique ways.

Analysing Exemplary Science Teaching brings together twelve academics, ten innovativeteachers and three exceptional students in a conversation about teaching and learning. Teachers and students describe some of their most noteworthy classroom practice,whilst scholars of international standing use educational theory to discuss, define andanalyse the documented classroom practice.

Classroom experiences are directly linked with theory by a series of annotatedcomments. This distinctive web-like structure enables the reader to actively movebetween practice and theory, reading about classroom innovation and then theorizingabout the basis and potential of this teaching approach.

Providing an international perspective, the special lessons described and analysed aredrawn from middle and secondary schools in the UK, Canada and Australia. This bookis an invaluable resource for preservice and inservice teacher education, as well as forgraduate studies. It is of interest to a broad spectrum of individuals, including trainingteachers, teachers, researchers, administrators and curriculum coordinators in scienceand technology education.

Excerpt

William F. McComas

Regrettably, educational research is rarely taken as seriously as it should be by the very institutions and individuals the researchers hope to impact. This reality is debated, dissected and bemoaned every time scholars discuss their work. On reflection, however, perhaps we who are engaged in educational research are partially to blame for the lack of influence of our endeavours. We frequently focus our investigations on questions that are more interesting to the research community itself than to the schools and practitioners that represent the focus of our studies. Furthermore, many empirical investigations examine large groups of teachers or students and, as a result, report typical practices and average levels of achievement that shed light on the problems but do little to suggest solutions.

Such approaches are not wrong or misguided because occasionally useful implications for practice do arise. However, given the terse nature of scholarly writing and the limited manner in which results of such studies are disseminated, it is easy to see why many schools, teachers and other educational leaders ignore and even criticize the reports and recommendations from the research community.

Needless to say, the production of new and valid knowledge through any means should not be constrained, but at the same time we must not be seduced into thinking that pure research is always more valuable than applied. Perhaps it is time to consider the utility of the middle ground in which scholars and teachers together produce, evaluate, synthesize, comment on and make practical recommendations as a team. This is clearly the rationale inherent in Analysing Exemplary Science Teaching: Theoretical Lenses and a Spectrum of Possibilities for Practice.

This book is both unique and useful. From its focus on exemplary practices, to its organizational scheme, to the interplay of science education experts and expert science teachers, there are few texts that will appeal to each of the community of scholars, science teaching methods instructors and classroom teachers looking for ways to examine and introduce best practices. The text before us continues to extend the important line of research into exemplary practices with a compelling look into the classrooms of ten gifted science teachers.

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