Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

FP7

SED Streszczenie raportu

Project ID: 244717
Źródło dofinansowania: FP7-SIS
Kraj: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - SED (Science Education for Diversity)

Executive Summary:

The Science Education for Diversity Project has sought to improve science education in Europe in order to respond more effectively to the new cultural diversity of students. It has done this through a research programme run in collaboration with international partners chose in from both the European Union (united Kingdom and the Netherlands) and from countries where science remains a popular career choice (Turkey, Lebanon, India and Malaysia). We have sought to understand the dynamics of the relationships between culture, gender and science education in the diverse contexts offered by the partners to this project, in the hope that this will give us a good basis for designing new approaches to science education that will appeal to all students within Europe and the world.

The stimulus for this research has arisen in Europe but our collaboration has aimed at developing approaches to science education that are sensitive to diversity in a global context and so will be of global value.

We obtained a much more detailed picture of the popularity of science in schools, the reasons behind this popularity and what can be done in education to counter students’ declining interest in science. Of particular interest is that our findings do not support evidence for the popular folk-hypothesis that science is popular in developing countries because of economic reasons and the so-called potential ‘escape route’ to Europe and other developed countries via a possible scientific career. Rather, the popularity of science may be constituted by students’ ideas of the nature of science, where students in developing countries perceive science more practically applicable--as a venture for solving problems in society, which may in turn provide a more attractive career outlook than how European students envision it.

However, the counter side of this finding is that in non-European countries both teachers and students perceive science in a rather deterministic way that is at odds with contemporary understandings of the nature of science. This finding is especially relevant in view of findings that point to student-centred and inquiry-based pedagogies as ways to improve students’ attitudes to science. Arguably, the challenge in science education is to move towards such pedagogies in virtue of a teaching of science that allows children to discover its applicability and practical relevance for society while simultaneously avoiding the pitfall of introducing outdated deterministic notions of science. Findings like these opened up some potential avenues for improving science education, such as those we adopted and trialled in schools. Nevertheless, we also found that the picture of students’ declining interest in science in European countries is a highly complex one in which many different factors are involved. Rather than suggesting that the current picture allows a quick fix for improving science education, we argue for further research to complete this picture.

There is evidence from the research studies conducted in the six partner countries that the framework developed by the project, utilising design based research and a dialogic approach and used as a reference to implement the interventions was relatively successful in enhancing student interest in science and in improving teachers’ practices. This framework integrated several teaching strategies that involved students’ in their learning, such as inquiry-based science education and context-based science and attempted to give voice to the students by emphasizing dialogic approaches to teaching and learning. Moreover, there is some evidence that the continuous professional development of teachers resulted in more learner-centred teachers’ behaviours in most of the partner countries.

Project Context and Objectives:

There is concern in Europe about science education. There is a need for scientific and technological skills in these advanced economies, yet student interest in science at school is declining. In 2007 the European Commission published ‘Science Education Now: A renewed pedagogy for the Future of Europe’. This sets out the views of the EU High Level Group on Science Education. More recently a Eurydice report ‘Science Education in Europe: National policies practices and research’ published in October 2011, gives a very clear and thorough overview of the policy terrain in Europe. It tells us that many countries in Europe are striving to improve student outcomes in science. Their main reasons for doing this are centred on the need for skills and a desire for international competitiveness. The Eurydice report helpfully sets the context in which the University of Exeter bid for and secured funds from the European Commission as part of their Framework 7 Programme to run the project Science Education for Diversity (SED).

The University of Exeter was lead partner in this international collaborative project. There were six partners in all, one in each participating country. Outside the UK these were India, Lebanon, Malaysia, The Netherlands and Turkey. Science education has a different profile and different histories in each of the partner countries. In the Non-EU countries there appear to be closer links between research, policy and practice, than there are in the UK and in The Netherlands. In Turkey and Malaysia science education is still a relatively new enterprise. In Lebanon science educators come from a variety of countries (e.g., US, France and Egypt) and publish in different languages (Arabic, English, and French). This has almost eliminated the possibility of a research community because of the different language traditions . By contrast India has a research community which uses English as the language medium. Compared to the sizes of their populations the non-EU countries have a lower proportion of individuals and institutions involved in science education research than do the EU countries, where there are communities with long histories and shared traditions of research.

The six different institutions involved in the SED project represented a good range and all are well established in science education research. For example, the University of Exeter’s Graduate School of Education was ranked in the top five in the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise; the Eindhoven University of Technology holds the number-three position in its field among European universities; the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education is the premier institution in India for research and development in science, technology and mathematics education, and the American University of Beirut has extensive experience of global science education projects.

The people involved formed a strong team for this project and there was also expertise in global education, in environmental education, and in fields close to science education, i.e. mathematics education and technology education. Research on gender and science education, and on attitudes and beliefs, feature in the publications history of the partnership. Some individuals have particular expertise in, for example, culture or religion in relation to science education. The research backgrounds and publication lists of the members of the team remain impressive.

The size and structure of the project teams within each partner varied. India, Lebanon and Malaysia each had about half a dozen people involved in the project, including support from researchers or research assistants. The Netherlands and Turkey each have only two people involved, while the University of Exeter utilised a lead team of eight people. Well over half the people across the partnership have a doctorate and several are full professors.

The project subdivided its work into work packages. These should not be viewed in a linear way; work packages (WP) interrelate with one another in different ways. They are of different sizes in terms of time allocation and they are on different timescales. There is a project partner nominated leader for each work package.

WP 1 led by the University of Exeter concerns the management of the project itself and hence continues throughout the life of the project.

WP 2 is the vehicle that draws together and summarises current information on science education of direct relevance to the project. This was led by The Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in India and was completed early in the life of the project.

WP 3 was led by the Eindhoven University of Technology and also closely involved the Exeter (and Harvard) academic, Professor Helen Haste. Initially this was planned as the initial research phase of the project using questionnaires and other methods with teachers and students. However, the research needed to go into far greater depth than was initially anticipated, consequently the end date for this package was extended to allow continuous analysis of what is proving to be a crucial new dataset.

WP 4 provided the theoretical synthesis, pulling out the implications from WP 3 for teaching and learning in schools. Three reports were produced and the theoretical framework was developed and utilised by all partners in the design of their school-based interventions.

WP 5 was led by the University of Exeter and uses the (WP4) framework for school based interventions, and measures their effect using pre and post intervention research instruments. This was led by the Department of Education in the American University in Beirut. Country reports and a final synthesis report were produced.

WP 6 in common with WP 1, operated throughout the life of the project. It concerned the dissemination and valorisation and was led by Pamukkale University in Turkey.

WP 2 proved to be essential in informing the content for the major surveys which took place in WP 3. The surveys consisted of questionnaires for (Junior and High) school pupils and teachers, plus interviews with teachers and workshop groups for pupils. The design of this analysis was carried out in close cooperation among the team members. All partners subsequently commented about the richness of the data set arising from WP 3 (as cited in our external project evaluation). They find not only the data for their own country but also the comparisons between nations useful. Where the study of diversity is new, this has been a ground-breaking experience and we are confident that the results will provide a knowledge base for significant further study. The size and high quality of the dataset means that much more can be done with it by all partners beyond the life of the project.

Using design-based methodologies combined quantitative and qualitative methods, we ran a series of experiments in each partner country to test and refine the guidelines developed in WP4 including the pedagogy, curriculum materials, and teacher training approaches.

The WP 4 deliverables set the scene for the interventions within schools in WP 5. Importantly this revised Framework will form the basis for any subsequent academic papers or school based research and development activity. Specific changes that might be included, following lessons learned from testing, are the use of ICT, and a revisiting of complexity theory as some teachers involved with WP5 struggled with this idea.

The essential elements of WP 5 are pre and post intervention questionnaires, training for teachers and work in schools with students. Seventeen schools across the partnership were involved in the intervention, between two and four in each country. In each school one or two teachers were involved.

The SED project has demonstrated that issues of engagement and addressing diverse groups of students are more to do with pedagogy than with content. Within the interventions there was a focus on biodiversity in India and in Malaysia; in the UK there was a technological focus, while in Turkey, medicine and genetic modification were featured. In addition there were activities that linked science learning clearly to the world of work, for example a career fair in Lebanon and a visit to the classroom by a practicing scientist in The Netherlands.

All the SED interventions involved ‘active’ learning by the students, whether through desk-based research or practical design and make activities for example. Inquiry based science education was a significant feature, as was the use of dialogue and argumentation. All partners have used the agreed pre and post intervention questionnaires with teachers and students. Some have taken the opportunity find out more, for example in Malaysia the student questionnaire additionally measured students’ improvement in content knowledge in their interest in science and in science process skills.

It is clear (from the project’s external evaluation) that teachers were both challenged and excited to be involved in the interventions. The video and audio recordings, for example from India and Lebanon, have added usefully to the project, both for internal and external audiences. In Malaysia a particularly interesting aspect of the training for teachers was a session on experiential and contextualised learning that was delivered by an experienced teacher. At one of the schools, the project was so successful that the pedagogical approaches used (inquiry-based and dialogic) are spilling over into the mathematics department and the school principal intends to continue the professional development beyond the end of the project.

There are some deep issues for reflection about a real or perceived lack of match between the intervention and examination syllabuses. This was mentioned by several team members. The scientific content of the interventions had to match existing national curricular, and in Malaysia and the UK it is straightforward to point out which part of the national curriculum supports the intervention. However, there was still some resistance from teachers; examinations do not address well the more investigative and inquiry based aspects of the curriculum, and teachers are more inclined to take note of what is in examinations, rather than in government exhortations what should be taught. The influences on teachers were discussed at the Malaysian partner meeting and partners now have a clearer idea now of both what inhibits, and what could encourage, interventions like those for WP 5. The set of case studies written to contribute to the final WP5 report are helping to get messages across to a wider audience.

Project Results:

RESULTS

The three year Science Education for Diversity project is funded by a grant from the European Commission. A key driver was to understand how countries in both Europe and further afield are addressing the issue of cultural and gender diversity in science education in regard to engaging young people in science education. In addition, the Project aims to provide guidelines and programs for effective interventions to improve the take-up of science education where there is a problem through a process of intervention, evaluation, and refinement.

The project was implemented in six countries: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Turkey, Lebanon, India and Malaysia. Selection of the countries was based on the assumption that one way to improve science education in Europe in order to respond more effectively to the new cultural diversity of students is to learn in collaboration with international partner countries where science remains a popular career choice. The SED project was organized in six work packages (WP), the first one of which focused on Project management.

This report focuses on the project’s results and presents these by work package (WP) and with further reflection on a country by country basis. WP 1 was concerned entirely with management and project processes – so it will be excluded from this report and WP6 was concerned with dissemination and its activities are set out elsewhere in the FP7 reporting documentation.

WP2 required that each country conduct a literature review and analysis of existing educational policies and projects with the aim of understanding the educational terrain in every country, benefit from and build on what already exists, and share important information about educational systems in each country with project partners. The selection of projects to include in country reports was based on agreed criteria:

1) That there is evidence of significant change in the roles of teachers and students, the curriculum goals, the assessment practices, and/or the educational materials and infrastructure that resulted from the project;
2) That there is evidence of measurable positive student outcomes, and;
3) The practices used in the project are sustainable and transferable.

In addition, these reports included detailed investigations of the available evidence regarding the relationship between cultural and gender diversity and the enrolment in science within schools and universities. The WP2 report provided the necessary background for the development and implementation of the subsequent work packages. More specifically, it aimed to delineate and discuss the educational policies in place in each of the partner countries to address diversity issues in science education, the status of these policies, the ways teacher education programs address the policies, the extent to which teachers implement these policies, and the obstacles that teachers perceive to the implementation of these policies.

Activities in the subsequent WP3 included designing a questionnaire that addressed a variety of areas related to culture, gender, attitude toward science and science teaching, the nature of science, among many other topics. In addition to the questionnaire, WP3 included conducting interviews, focus groups and classroom and school observations to explore the range of issues and responses that arise for teachers and students whose cultural background and personal beliefs impact on the teaching and learning of science. Data for this work package came from ten schools in each partner country selected on the basis of information collected in WP2.

WP4 focused on developing a theoretical framework for understanding the relationship between culture, gender, and personal religious beliefs and science education. WP4 presented a framework for the design of coherent classroom activities for science education that address the issue of cultural diversity. In addition, the framework offers suggestions on how to conduct continuous professional development activities for teachers. The theoretical approaches presented in the WP4 framework, included inquiry- and context-based science education, nature of science (NOS), and dialogic teaching to give significance to students’ voice and to raise awareness about gender issues in relation to science careers. Finally, the professional development activities advocated by WP4 were continuous in nature, emphasized teachers’ voice, and provided teachers with continuous support. The theoretical framework presented in WP4 was used to design the intervention studies that took place in each country as required by WP5.

WP 5 included exploring and developing the theoretical understanding through implementing a range of interventions based upon the framework developed in WP4 and iteratively reforming the framework and the interventions in the light of feedback from these studies.

WP 6 focused on valorisation and dissemination of results and includes publications, conferences, engaging with formal and informal educational institutions and networks of policy makers and practitioners. It also prioritised engaging with expert panels of users in each country in the project from the start, and using their reflective evidence to help shape the project.

WP 2 Literature and Research Review

WP 2 was aimed at documentary analysis of science education policy literature and the science curricula in each of the partner countries. Following a uniform framework all partners undertook a review and analysis of literature, educational policies and science curricula to assess the evidence relevant to diversity and science education was undertaken. Five markers of diversity (ethnicity, religion, language (of instruction), habitat (e.g. urban-rural), and gender), were considered by each country in relation to its education policies in general and science education policies in particular. India co-ordinated the WP2 activities by initiating the development of the framework for the individual country reports and also generating the final synthesis report based on the country reports.

Diversity exists in all the six partner countries on different dimensions and to varying degrees. In the UK, the population consists of several ethnic communities (such as White, Asian or Asian British, Black or Black British, Mixed, and Chinese). On the other hand, the Dutch population comprises of 80% native and 20% immigrants from Western Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australia, who often inhabit low socio-economic status neighborhoods. Regarding religion, close to 70% of the UK and 43% of the Dutch population considered themselves Christian. The remaining population in the UK are Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and Sikh, while in the Netherlands they are, more typically, followers of no religion. In Turkey and Lebanon, the majority follow Islam with a few followers of Christianity. There is limited ethnic diversity in the latter countries with 95% of the population in Lebanon being Arab.

The Malaysian population, on the other hand, is ethnically diverse with people representing Malay, Chinese, Indian and several indigenous groups many of whom are concentrated in a few rural pockets. All Malays are deemed Muslim by birth and almost all Malaysians are able to speak and write the Malay language, the national language of the country, along with at least one other language (mother-tongue of the ethnic group).

India’s diversity is more in terms of caste, region(al), linguistic, religious, and habitat differences rather than ethnicity. Being the second most populous country in the world, India harbours followers of Hinduism (80%), Islam (~12%), and Christianity, as well as Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism etc. There are 22 official languages and over 100 non-scheduled languages, as listed in the Indian Constitution.

Ministries or Departments of Education oversee the education system in all six countries, usually with a bifurcation in responsibility for primary and secondary education. Duration of compulsory school education ranges between 8 years (India and Turkey) and 14 years (the Netherlands and Malaysia). Schooling in the Netherlands and UK begins at age 4 and 5 respectively, which is a year or two earlier than the other four countries. Students are placed in different tracks or choose them, based on their abilities at the age of 12 in the Netherlands, and in the other partner countries at the age of 15-16 years. In all six countries, children attending government run schools up to the primary/elementary level receive free education. However in India, universal provision of elementary education (grades 1-8) is yet to be achieved.

Secondary education is free in Turkey, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and UK; and compulsory as well in the latter three. India enacted a law in 2009 making free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years a fundamental right. In most of the countries, the University/Higher education begins at the age of 18 years; in Turkey, it begins at 19 years of age. The courses offered may be vocational, technical, engineering, scientific or professional. They may also include diploma and degree programmes. The kinds of higher education institutions (colleges, polytechnics, universities) vary from country to country.

The education of disadvantaged, ethnic and minority groups is plagued by issues of social discrimination and under-achievement among the student population. Various government policies and schemes aimed at affirmative action are aimed at tackling these issues. Country responses to diversity often allow ethnic/minority populations to maintain their unique identity, sometimes with a concurrent emphasis on their assimilation with the majority society. All the six partner countries have made efforts to address diversity in their respective countries.

There is a perceived decrease in the reservoir of science and technology personnel in the European countries, coming in the wake of the recent demographic changes there that have increased their cultural diversity. While the last few decades have seen many economic and political changes in the countries of Europe, Asia and Middle-East, an increasing economic demand has highlighted the significance of science and changed the perception of its nature and role in education and school curricula.

At present, in all the six partner countries science has the status of being a “core” or compulsory subject in schooling at least up to age 14 years. At the primary level, science in most countries is offered as an integrated course and its teaching is organised around themes drawn from the natural and social environments. In the Netherlands, every secondary school has special classrooms for doing experimental work.

Funds and grants have been awarded to schools or to students directly to encourage their engagement in science. The Department of Science and Technology in India launched INSPIRE a few years ago, a programme to attract talented students to the excitement and study of science at an early age. UK’s STEMNET offered STEM Access Grants, designed to provide funding for secondary schools in England and Wales over the period 2006-9 to raise engagement among Black and Minority Ethnic communities, in particular Afro-Caribbean boys and Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls who are underrepresented in the study of these subjects at higher levels of schooling. All the partner countries encourage interactive science learning opportunities, science museums, and science exhibitions, to stimulate the teaching and learning of science outside the confines of school.

ICT in education is promoted in all the countries. In India, ICT@Schools, a centrally sponsored scheme was launched in 2004, which provided opportunities to secondary stage students to build their capacity in ICT skills. The scheme serves as a major catalyst to bridge the digital divide between students across socio-economic and geographical barriers. Malaysia launched the Smart School project in 1997, a partnership between the Government of Malaysia and the private sector to use ICT as an enabler to Smart School practices in teaching-learning, management, and communication with external constituencies. In England, ICT is an independent subject in the primary as well as secondary school curriculum, offering greater scope for developing ICT competency for use in science.

Government policies have been aimed at tackling issues of diversity. India’s National Policy on Education NPE 1968 and other policies that followed, addressed regional imbalances in the provision of educational facilities and emphasized education of girls for social justice. The policy also aimed to promote educational interests of minority groups while developing integrated programmes to enable inclusive education for the physically and mentally challenged. The National Policy on Education 1986 also gave special attention to women’s education, and its revised plan of action (POA 1992) gave importance to the education of the educationally backward minorities, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes. India has a 3-language formula, emphasizing the mother tongue, the regional language and English. In about 90% schools at the elementary stage (primary and upper primary), students' instruction is in their mother tongue, while these schools also teach two or more languages. Teaching of English is compulsory in almost all the States. English as medium of instruction is used in a little over 10% schools at the primary stage, and increases to over 30% schools at the higher secondary stage.

Malaysia has seen several transitions between Malay and English as the medium of instruction for science and mathematics, following its priority of considering national integration issues and student learning. The Government of Malaysia reconsidered its education policies to strengthen racial integration, when rioting among different ethnic groups due to socioeconomic differences became widespread in 1969. The different media of instruction in schools were seen as a threat to national integration. In 1970, all English ‘medium schools’ were converted to Malay medium of instruction (Kalantzis & Pandian, 2001). By the end of the 1970s, all schools used Malay language as the medium of instruction, with the exception of vernacular primary schools (as provided in the Education Act 1961). Towards achieving unity, Malay also became the medium of instruction in National schools and public universities. In 2003, the policy changed, bringing English back as the medium of instruction in science and mathematics at Standard 1, Form 1 and lower Form 6. However, this policy too has been reversed in favour of Malay in 2009.

In Turkey, the Netherlands and the UK, the medium of instruction for science in a majority of the schools is in their respective first or national language. In Lebanon, medium of instruction is in the second language adopted by the schools, which may be French or English. In India, science is taught in the medium of instruction. At higher levels of schooling and beyond, the role of English as the medium for teaching science increases.

All the six countries advocate the right to found religious schools and this has led to creation of several religious schools in these countries. In the Netherlands, there are Islamic schools which cater exclusively to ethnic minority students with a Turkish or Moroccan background. In the UK, a third of all primary schools are religious or faith schools. Even in Malaysia, the National Religious Secondary Schools which were set up around late 1970s emphasize mastery of Arabic, Jawi and Quranic skills and expertise in Islamic knowledge. It seems a concern for many countries that when religious communities exercise their constitutional right to set up their own schools, there will be a tendency for isolation of groups from one another. This may lead to religious and religious-sect identities taking precedence over the national identity.

Understanding the strategies in different countries for addressing diversity can potentially help design more flexible approaches to school science education for attracting more students towards science. Recent research on the affective dimension of science education - positive attitude towards science- has indicated that this is one of the most important determinants for future educational choices. Factors such as a country’s level of development, gender, and stage of schooling have a significant effect on students' attitudes towards science. Policy and research have focused on general educational deprivation experienced by ethnic, and other cultural groups. Issues arising distinctly from students' cultural identities, and those shaped by their religious beliefs, in the context of science education in particular, have received less attention among researchers and policy makers.

Country policies towards diversity swing from multiculturalism to integration/ assimilation. Besides, some science textbooks as in the Malaysian context appear to circumvent diversity issues totally in an attempt to be unbiased. The decline of interest towards science among youth at school and decline in willingness to opt for careers in science and technology is one of the biggest concerns of many of the developed countries in Europe. Interestingly, in countries like Lebanon, India and Malaysia there is perceived to be an opposite trend (based on TIMSS 2007). Here, science remains an attractive career choice among students relative to Europe.

Efforts have been made in the partner countries to acknowledge and address some of the diversity issues in science education through curriculum and teacher education programmes. Based on recent research and changing public opinion, policies have been implemented by the various governments that address diversity in school science education. These efforts, however, need to be researched and evaluated systematically to draw further insights on how to address the problem on a long-term basis.

The International Science Education Survey of Pupils and Teachers

The goals of WP3 were first, to identify cultural, national, age and gender patterns of student interest in science, science-related activities and science careers, and, in order to understand how science fitted into students’ worldviews, to establish how beliefs about the nature of science, the relationship between science and society, and personal interests, related to degree of interest in science. A second goal was to explore how science teachers saw science as a field, how they constructed their approach to science teaching and how they addressed diversity. In total, 9,171 students in both primary and secondary education completed the student questionnaire, 310 students were interviewed and 48 student focus groups were conducted in which an average of 4 students took part. A total of 331 teachers completed the teacher questionnaire and 75 teachers were interviewed.

National differences

The findings confirmed large differences between the countries in interest in science. Students in the countries outside Western Europe displayed a greater interest in school science than the Dutch and British students. India was the country with the highest interest in science and the Netherlands the country with the lowest interest. In the UK and Netherlands respectively, 29.6% and 22.5% gave a STEM subject as their favourite; in the other nations this exceeded 48% and in India the figure was 60.5%. Only 15.4% of Dutch students said they ‘liked all science lessons in school’, compared to 50.5% of Indian students. However around half in all nations ‘liked some science lessons but not all’. Less than 20% of students in the UK and Netherlands would like a job related to science and technology, compared to at least half in Turkey and India. We also explored interest in extracurricular activities related to science and extracurricular activities related to technology. We found different patterns here; there was no difference between the Western European countries and the non-Western European countries in interest in extracurricular technology activities such as using new machines and fixing broken things but there were dramatic country differences in activities such as going to science museums and watching TV programmes about science with these activities being less popular in the Netherlands and the UK than in the other countries.

Gender and Science

We found a gap in interest in science between boys and girls all six countries with a greater interest in science among boys than among girls. However, this gender difference is very large in some respects while being almost nonexistent in other respects. There is a small gender gap in interest in school science and in extracurricular activities related to science and a large gap in wanting science jobs and enjoying activities related to technology. There are also national differences in the gap; 4.8% of Dutch girls and 15.2% of British girls would like a job related to science and technology ‘a lot’, compared to 43% of Turkish girls and 50% of Indian girls; for boys, the figures are Netherlands: 23.4%, UK: 23.5%, Turkey 56.5% and India 57.8%.

There is a marked difference between primary and secondary schools. There is much less difference between boys and girls in primary school than in secondary school, and a higher level of interest in science and science-related activities in general; gender differences become more pronounced in secondary education where interest drops more among girls than among boys.

Our findings confirm other work that shows different patterns of interest in science between girls and boys. Girls have a greater preference for biological subjects and boys are more interested than girls in physics. Girls also show greater ethical concerns around science than boys. We found these differences in all nations. Even the most science-oriented girls are more interested in biology and ethics than a comparably interested group of boys. We asked their views of the future (2030); would things be similar, would science and technology have solved most problems, or would there be more social problems and war? While more than 50% saw the future in positive terms, girls who liked science and technology were more likely than boys to foresee a worse future scenario. In terms of what they want from future careers, there is a gap of between 6% and 15% in each country between girls and boys in wanting a career where they can help people, and a gender gap averaging 12% around wanting a job ‘where I can discover or invent new things’. However there are significant national differences both in the degree of interest and in the gender gap.

The context of science

To explore the larger picture within which preferences around school science and future science-related careers can be elaborated, we looked at beliefs about the nature of science, and at what students liked about methods of science teaching. Almost all students said in interviews that they liked experiments and their preferred way of improving their science classes would be by increasing the number of experiments done in class. Their main reasons for liking science classes are learning about how things work and learning about things that are useful in life. Those students who dislike science do so because they find it boring or uninteresting. While students generally find science as a domain important for the future, they do not always see the significance of the courses they receive in school.

Our research has looked extensively into how students, and teachers, look at science and believe how science works and how this shapes their attitudes towards science. We asked whether science can solve most problems in life or only some, whether science is just the best guess that scientists can make or tell us what is completely true, and whether the best scientists use their imagination or stick to facts. We also asked whether scientific discoveries are made by a team or one very intelligent person. Generally, students outside Western Europe have a more empiricist and instrumentalist view of science. In the UK and Netherlands less than 17% believe that science can solve most problems and less than 14% that science offers absolute truths, whereas more than 40% of Turkish, Malaysian and Indian students consider that science can solve most problems, and 28% of Malaysian and 43% of Indian students believe that science is completely true. However, the nations where students believe that best scientists use their imagination rather than sticking to the facts were those associated with a more positivistic view of science; Turkey, Malaysia and India.

Multilevel analysis showed that these different views of the nature of science impacted students’ interest in science. Most significantly, believing that science is able to offer solutions leads to a higher interest in school science and in extracurricular activities related to science. Believing that the best scientists use their imagination and believing that scientists work in groups leads to a higher interest in working as a scientist.

The student interviews however showed that students had often incomplete knowledge about how science works and what it is that scientists do. When asked if they could give the name of a scientist, most students could not come up with a name or could only come up with one or two names of very famous scientists such as Einstein. Very few students could come up with names of female scientists or non-Western scientists. The number of scientists students could come up with increased as students aged. Students could often not explain what the scientists whose names they named discovered or invented. Further questions on what they daily work of a scientist entailed or whether they themselves wanted to be a scientist or to be married to one, revealed that many students had naïve or incomplete ideas of what scientists do. Students told us that scientists did research and experiments but could not give more elaborate descriptions of their jobs. The questions about becoming or marrying a scientist showed that many students had stereotypical views of scientists, thinking of scientists as occupied with work and relating everything with science.

Religion and Science

The vast majority of students we interviewed saw no or little conflict between science and religion. When asked how they would deal with a friend who for religious reasons would not believe in something that was taught in science class, the majority of students in all countries responded that they themselves believed in the scientific explanation. The six countries differed greatly in terms of religion. In the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, nearly half of students do not adhere to any religion. In other countries almost all students were religious. In some respects, religious students turned out to be more interested in science. In England and the Netherlands, ‘no religion’ adherents were least interested in science, and in England minority religious groups were most interested in science. Those students who were actively religious were not less interested in science than non-religious students. We asked students which religion they adhered to but also how often they prayed and attended religious service. The most devout students were most concerned with ethical aspects of science such as global warming and animal testing and had a preference for activities that involved caring and learning about the human body.

Job incentives

We found no correlation whatsoever between wanting a job in science and wanting a job that pays a lot of money or is in any other way prestigious. This contradicts a popular belief that in countries such as India, studying science is seen as a way of obtaining a well paid job or a job abroad. While the economic prospects of science jobs could still be a reason to choose or not choose science subjects for older students, this does not seem to be the case for the age group of 10 to 14 year olds that we investigated. However, students in this age group still have little concept of which jobs are well paid or not. In interviews, research scientists were often described as well paid.

Teachers’ worldviews and science

Our study of teachers was predicated on the assumption that teachers both reflect and purvey the dominant cultural view of science and its relation to society and other forms of knowledge, and that their practices will impact both students’ interest in science and their conception of what science is. Teachers in all six participating countries have very similar ideas about what good and bad teaching is. They believe good teaching involves interaction and engaging the students. Bad teaching is teacher centred and lacks interaction with students.

With regard to the nature of science, the same pattern of national difference was found as with students. In the countries outside Western Europe empiricist perspectives on the nature of science were more prevalent. This means that teachers in those countries are more likely to believe that science phenomena are the same everywhere and that evidence will convince us which theory is correct. Dutch and British teachers are more likely to believe that society has an impact on science through for instance the available technology and the different questions scientists and funding agencies ask. Nonetheless, teachers from India, Turkey, Malaysia and to a lesser degree Lebanon were more likely than Dutch and British teachers to consider that students should appreciate such nature of science tenets as that scientific knowledge is tentative, that there is no single scientific method, that science involves creativity and imagination and that students should appreciate the cultural and historical background of science’s development.

Around a quarter of all teachers have had the experience that a student mentioned a conflict between religion and science. The chance that a teacher has had such an experience depends on their teaching style. When teachers discuss ethics and the history of science in class and are less focused on teaching a close body of scientific knowledge, students are more likely to ask their teachers questions about alternative explanations. In turn, teachers’ views of the nature of science impacts how they respond to their students in such a situation. The more empiricist teachers (in countries outside Western Europe and in secondary education) are more likely to affirm the validity of scientific explanations.

Dealing with Diversity

Both the teacher questionnaire and interviews showed that, overwhelmingly, teachers do not perceive large differences between students and they generally do not make adjustments in their classes to adjust for possible differences. Teachers disagree with statements that some students, whether they be girls or students from ethnic or religious minorities, would be less interested in science classes. However Malaysia was an exception as a number of Malaysian teachers indicated that girls and ethnic minority students are less motivated. Similar remarks were made in interviews where teachers said that they did not perceive large differences between different ethnicities within their classes and that they believe that the best way to deal with ethnic diversity is to treat all students in the same way in order to provide equal opportunities. Teachers see more differences between boys and girls but often do not adjust their teaching to account for these differences. Lebanese and Turkish teachers were most likely to use different examples to manage diversity issues. Teaching materials are almost always considered to be suitable for all groups of students. The vast majority of teachers only mention female or non-Western scientists when these are relevant for the topic.

Major Conclusions from WP 3

To conclude, we obtained a much more detailed picture of the popularity of science in schools, the reasons behind this popularity and what can be done in education to counter students’ declining interest in science. Of particular interest is that our findings do not support evidence for the popular folk-hypothesis that science is popular in developing countries because of economic reasons and the so-called potential ‘escape route’ to Europe and other developed countries via a possible scientific career. Rather, the popularity of science may be constituted by students’ ideas of the nature of science, where students in developing countries perceive science more practically applicable--as a venture for solving problems in society, which may in turn provide a more attractive career outlook than how European students envision it.

However, the counter side of this finding is that in non-European countries both teachers and students perceive science in a rather deterministic way that is at odds with contemporary understandings of the nature of science. This finding is especially relevant in view of findings that point to student-centred and inquiry-based pedagogies as ways to improve students’ attitudes to science. Arguably, the challenge in science education is to move towards such pedagogies in virtue of a teaching of science that allows children to discover its applicability and practical relevance for society while simultaneously avoiding the pitfall of introducing outdated deterministic notions of science.

Findings like these opened up some potential avenues for improving science education, which we adopted and evaluated in Work Packages 4 and 5. Nevertheless, we also found that the picture of students’ declining interest in science in European countries is a highly complex one in which many different factors are involved. Rather than suggesting that the current picture allows a quick fix for improving science education, we argue for further research to complete this picture.

The Framework for subsequent School Interventions

WP4 was designed as a bridge between the research activities of WPs 2 and 3, and the school interventions of WP5. The aim of the framework was to produce guidelines for developing pedagogical strategies, curriculum materials and teacher training materials which could attract young people to science in a variety of cultural contexts. Leading on from the frameworks, the plan was for partners to develop teaching units (using the curriculum framework), teacher guides (using the pedagogy framework) and materials to support teacher training events (using the teacher development framework). These products from partners formed, for each partner, an integrated set of materials for use in a school-based intervention.

Early in 2011, to support the initial stages of WP4, partners shared materials and information, including through presentations made in the meeting in India in January 2011. A range of types of document was shared, for example, India and Lebanon showed examples of teaching units, both on environmental education. Lebanon provided a theoretical framework for some pedagogies that might be included. The Netherlands wrote a mini-report as requested and shared lists of academic references. Turkey selected some relevant academic references and presented an overview of each one. England shared a major literature review, a chart showing the wide range of reports and initiatives in science education in the UK and posted material about global issues in science on the shared website. This was supplemented by further Indian and UK resources. Finally, Turkey presented information on other EU projects that they had been involved in: the Promotion of Migrants in Science Education project which involved the Yildiz Technical University Istanbul, and the Interests and Recruitment in Science project which involved the Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Education, Ankara.

Early thinking on WP4 was presented to the UK Expert Panel in March 2011. This was turned into a draft discussion document which was sent to partners prior to the meeting in Turkey in June 2011. Partners were also sent a list of key questions. The Turkey meeting provided further opportunity for WP3 to inform WP4.

Essentially there was a two-stage process for WP4, the first stage being the development of shared theoretical frameworks, and the second being work by individual partners to use these frameworks in their own contexts for the production of materials. WP4 had the lion’s share of the time in the Turkey partner meeting in 2011.

Using the draft document as a launch pad, there was extensive discussion, deliberation and consensus building. An agreed set of inter-related areas for WP4 were co-constructed by the partners during this time. Teacher development is now explicitly included in the form of Guided Collaborative Critical Reflection on Action. There are areas that could be classified as curricular and others that could be described as pedagogic. The overall structure for interventions was included in the WP4 framework; the WP4 framework formed the basis for choosing a focus for school-based collaborative work. Once these aspects of WP4 were agreed in Turkey, the work moved on to consider how the frameworks might be actualised in the partner countries.

The three framework reports emerging from WP 4 are discussed in sequence:

Principles for the design of educational activities that engage young people in science and address the issue of diversity

Cultural diversity can impact on access to science education. Our initial research findings combined with literature review enable the abstraction of a number of principles for the design of science education that addresses the issue of cultural diversity.

1) The pedagogical approach should be dialogic: this means teaching ‘for dialogue’ as well as through dialogue and implies:

a. being responsive to and engaging with multiple voices and perspectives;
b. teaching argumentation in science including the use of evidence and effective ways of ‘talking science’;

2) STEM education needs to be relevant to students in some or all of the following ways:

a. Using science content that is related to events in the media (after finding out if this is of interest to students and, if so, why it is of interest to students)
b. Using science content from the everyday world of students
c. Addressing controversial issues of interest to students (either global or local) through debate or through critical exploration of the alternative positions
d. Involving real life work in STEM

3) To engage with diversity the pedagogy will incorporate reflection on knowledge and different ways of knowing, including:

a. reflection on one’s own thinking and assumptions
b. reflection and discussion on the nature of science

4) 4. We recommend the use of two approaches to pedagogy that are responsive to the diverse interests and diverse knowledge backgrounds of students: guided collaborative inquiry based science education and dialogic mastery learning. Guided collaborative inquiry based learning implies a combination of student led inquiry with guidance towards scientific concepts but where such concepts are taught only when they make sense for the students in relation to issues that arose for them in the course of their inquiry. Dialogic mastery learning implies directed teaching but conducted in a way that is responsive to student’s interests and understandings and involves a cyclical checking of the level of those interests and understandings.

5) Design-Based Research in the form of guided collaborative critical reflection on action is proposed as a key part of effective STEM teaching for diversity, this implies that any framework of principles is not static but should be continuously tested and revised by teachers working collaboratively to test, refine and revise it.

Researching the process of change

This report was concerned with researching the process of change in the curriculum. To this end it reviewed the main theories of curriculum development and concluded with the idea of the complex curriculum. The idea of the complex curriculum was specified further and a series of questions are posed to help teams in each partner country to research the process of curriculum change.

The science curriculum for school students across the age range and in many different countries has been subject to much revision in recent years. Our discussion began by comparing the ‘objectives-led’ model of curriculum development which has dominated curriculum planning in most countries with a ‘process model’ of planning. It is our conclusion that the latter has the potential to take more account of the context of the learners and may thus be more appropriate to the diverse nature of learners. This was followed by discussion of two recent curricula proposals designed to promote engagement and attainment in science and the insights about these that can be gained through analysing their impact using an approach informed by complexity theory.

We were concerned that the list of questions established within a Framework could be a daunting agenda for interrogation of the planning and actions that constitute the intervention that is designed to improved science teaching for diversity. If the list was seen as a checklist of questions that must each be addressed in detail, it would stifle, rather than promote, useful enquiry. However, if it was read through from time to time and used holistically to shape discussion about the intervention, the questions can, we feel, be a stimulus to deep (complex) understanding of the work of the project teams.

Guidance for preparing and training teachers

This deliverable focuses on the question of how to organise Continuing Professional Development in a way that works to apply the framework. It offered practical guidance on how to translate the Framework developed in the previous WP 4 deliverables into classroom change through working with teachers. This highlighted a number of key points:

1) The importance of ensuring that students perceive the science curriculum to be relevant. We will address this through an appropriate focus on: controversial issues (global or local); science-related events in the media; scientific insights into the everyday world of students; careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine
2) The value of a pedagogical approach that highlights Guided Collaborative Inquiry Based Science Education: exploring questions that can be answered with evidence
3) The value of a pedagogical approach which highlights dialogue: teaching ‘for dialogue’ as well as through dialogue through argumentation (talking science, use of evidence) and responsiveness to multiple voices, and multiple perspectives
4) The importance of adopting a critical epistemology: reflecting on ‘ways of knowing’; reflecting on one’s own thinking and assumptions; reflecting on the Nature of Science

The project team also proposed converting the framework into practice might be the practice through Guided Collaborative Critical Reflection on Action which assumes that any framework of principles is not static but should be continuously revised by teachers working collaboratively to test, refine and revise it.

The in-School Interventions

There is evidence from the research studies conducted in the six partner countries that the framework presented in WP4 that was used as a reference to implement the interventions was relatively successful in enhancing student interest in science and in improving teachers’ practices. This framework integrated several teaching strategies that involved students’ in their learning, such as inquiry-based science education and context-based science and attempted to give voice to the students by emphasizing dialogic approaches to teaching and learning. Moreover, there is some evidence that the continuous professional development of teachers resulted in more learner-centred teachers’ behaviours in most of the partner countries. Each countries findings are summarized below:

India findings from WP5

As evident from the responses of the teachers, all the teachers were teaching in classes where diversity existed in various forms. As seen from the responses, all the teachers did make attempts via their classroom teaching of science to address diversity. As already discussed in WP2 the Indian education system has to go a long way as still it ignores the issues of diversity. The uniform curriculum and the central development and dissemination of the textbooks do not focus on the diversity in the country. The idea advocated by a number of researchers that math and science subjects are not compatible with cultural diversity is inaccurate. According to the researchers textbooks either inaccurately portray cultural and ethnic diversity or altogether neglect them. What is needed is that curriculum has to address differences while not showing any bias and instructional processes are devised in a manner to meet the needs of all the learners.

All Indian students had positive attitudes toward the school interventions but were somewhat afraid to give answers of which they were unsure about and that in general, many students never argued with their teachers in case of disagreement in science class. The results also showed that after the intervention there was a slight increase in the number of students who reported that they were not afraid to give answers of which they were unsure as compared to in the pre-intervention and a slight decrease in number of students that will never argue with their teacher in case of disagreement during science class. This could be due to the encouraging environment during the intervention program. Moreover, the majority of students said that talking about their ideas to other students and to their teachers about class activities or homework helped them learn. Thus dialogue seems to be having a positive influence on student learning.

Lebanon findings from WP5

Direct evidence from analysing the videotapes of classroom teaching and indirect evidence from students’ responses in the focus groups allow us to draw the following conclusions regarding changes in teachers’ classroom practices and students’ participation in class activities:

• Results showed that the teaching practices of the teacher whose classes were videotaped prior to and at the end of the intervention were characterized by the following:

o The class became more dialogic as evidenced by the increase in the number of utterances by the teacher and the students. However, the majority of the talk was still by the teacher.
o There was a significant decrease in the teachers’ talk that was labelled “generic” indicating that the teacher was more focused on developing content and cognitive skills rather than on managerial type utterances.
o There was a significant decrease in the teachers’ factual type utterances and an increase in the conceptual type utterances. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the students’ analysis type cognitive skills and a decrease in the application type cognitive skills.
o There was an increase in the number of questions and a similar increase in the number of higher cognitive level questions at the end of the intervention. Moreover, even though the number of questions asked by the students was relatively low, the majority of these questions were at higher cognitive levels.

Results of analysing data from the focus groups shows that students started relating what they did in science classes to everyday activities, were involved in hands-on/mind-on activities and discussions, and started working in groups and implementing projects. Since the students who participated in the focus groups were randomly selected from the classes of the three participating teachers, there is some evidence to suggest that the classroom practices of the three teachers became more learner centred.

Students’ reasons for liking science became more varied at the end of the intervention. In addition to saying that they liked science because they acquired new information, many students’ said that they liked science because it is related to everyday life, were more involved in the classroom activities, shared ideas in class, and were given the opportunity to work together on projects.

Results of the questionnaire indicate that students were less confident in the ability of science to solve all problems, were less convinced that science uses imagination, and were less likely to consider astrology and alternative medicine as scientific in nature.

There was no significant change in gender role stereotypes. Both male and female students still held on to gender stereotypes. One interesting find from the focus group data was that female students emphasized the importance of being involved in activities that involved helping others.

Malaysia findings from WP 5

There was an overall improvement regarding students’ understanding of science and science process skills. The results seem to imply that the teaching strategy was effective in improving students’ understanding of science, as well as, learning of science.

The four cases seem to imply the importance of teacher ‘awareness’ (a translation which can be defined as a skill that teachers have that allows them to know what is going on in the classroom at all times) when applying the Model of Reflective Practice. With the exception of one teacher, the other three teachers do not seem to have developed the ‘awareness’ that will allow them to effectively implement the Model of Reflective Approach.

From the analysis of results of the pre-test to post-test 1 and 2 for the SED Survey, it would seem that students’ interest in science increased for the secondary schools but not for the primary schools. It seemed that the dialogic/IBSE strategies were more effective for secondary students than primary students. This could be a result of the manner in which the strategy was implemented. The secondary teachers had more ‘awareness’ compared to the primary teachers being they were science graduates and were more knowledgeable in the subject.

From the reflective journals of the teachers and classroom observations, it would seem that the boys were more enthusiastic than the girls to participate in the science experiments. Although both genders were seen to be enthusiastic in class when the activities and experiments were carried out, the boys seem to be more active and participative than the girls.

Based on data analysis of the four schools, the boys seemed to be more interested in learning science than the girls. After the first intervention, the post-test showed that the girls had an increase in liking science lessons more than the boys. Students’ interest in science specifically physics increased significantly after the new strategy was introduced and this improvement was more significant for the girls. It would seem that this strategy may be more effective for the girls.

In conclusions, the data analysis of four schools involved with SED project in Malaysia showed that the boys seemed to be more interested in learning science than the girls. One of the four schools had a significant improvement in student’s interest towards science after the intervention periods. After the first intervention, data analysis revealed that the girls had an increase in liking science lessons more than the boys, particularly in physics after the new strategy was introduced. It would seem that this strategy may be more effective for the girls. Overall, there is an increase in the ISPS scores for girls from the Pre-test until Post-test 2 based on the data available.

Netherlands findings from WP 5

Regarding the stance of the teachers the team concludes that the teachers in both primary and secondary education endorsed all the design principles used in the study. In primary education, the teachers were particularly positive about the design principles that concerned the relevance of science to students, inquiry-based science education and dialogic education since these principles matched very well with their existing teaching practice.

The execution of the innovative curriculum appeared to be challenging in both primary and secondary education. In primary education, teachers had difficulty with the initial phase of the innovative curriculum, which aimed at empowering students scientifically by means of doing prior research on the topic of investigation. In secondary education, the teacher failed to implement critical parts of the dynamic innovative curriculum because of the static nature of the school context. That is, the school’s context appeared to be insufficiently flexible to allow the students to go for some excursions required to sustain the authenticity of curriculum in particular.

Both in primary and secondary education students, much evidence could be shown from which the team inferred that they developed scientific content knowledge and inquiry skills related to the topics they studied. In addition, in both levels of education, students were highly motivated by these forms of education.

In conclusion, the implementation of the intervention in the SED project structured as dialectic faced two different limitations which impeded implementing the innovative curriculum. In the case of primary education, the school and classroom culture was sufficiently adapted to the specific demands of the curriculum but the teachers had limited science background which prohibited the innovative curriculum to reach its aims. In the case of secondary education the situation was precisely the opposite. In this case the teacher had developed sufficient science background for designing and implementing the innovative curriculum. However, the classroom and school culture were less well developed with respect to the demands of the innovative inquiry‐based science curriculum, as a result of which the wider aims of this curriculum were not met.

Turkey findings from WP 5

As a basic principle of the framework for the design of science education to address the issue of cultural diversity was considered as STEM education needs to be relevant to students. Work Package 3 pertained SED project that many young people who expressed disengagement with science narrow image of what science is. The framework of STEM teaching for diversity proposes two responses to this problem of a limited image of science. In the Turkey case studies, these design principles were practiced by providing students with opportunities to meet real scientists. As proposed, interviews with students indicated that they enjoyed these activities much more and it impacted upon the extent to which they decided to become doctors or science students. They had a much more positive image of science and scientists by explicitly reflecting on and teaching the ‘nature of science’ in these activities. As an implication students should expose to processes to practice like a real scientist in which more opportunities to be provided for responsible for their learning and organising content.

The other key design element of the SED project is dialogic pedagogy. In fact, teachers in Turkish context faced challenges in including the pedagogy through school curriculums to facilitate students for working in small groups, discussing the evidence and the ideas, justifying their arguments, and criticizing counter arguments. In facilitating such dialogic talk, students and teachers were supported by a variety of scaffolding structures. In particular teachers in this study had challenges to include “controversial” issues in their science teaching. It was recommended that any repeat of this in Turkey should involve teacher guidance on how to deal with these issues and develop a new pedagogy for teaching in their classroom.

Teachers indicated a development in their understanding and skill in teaching through focusing mainly on curriculum relevance through using science content from the everyday world of students and related events in the media, addressing controversial issues, and involving real life work in STEM to address diversity in their classes. Teachers mainly had challenges/ difficulties/problems in-group discussions to provide dialogic communication due to the dichotomy between good students and struggling students.

United Kingdom findings from WP 5

Generally, the Secondary teachers felt that the framework was comprehensive and did not appear to have any major omissions. However, they felt that certain aspects were more challenging to implement, notably ‘reflection’ and ‘dialogue’. Indeed, these were aspects of the framework that the teachers did not attempt to implement in an explicit fashion.

SED WP4 Framework was considered a comprehensive planning tool to design appropriate schemes of work capable of delivering quality science learning in a manner which is suitable and engaging for the diversity of student ‘voices’. Teachers evaluated the framework positively and felt that it provided a good major planning tool. However, the specific principles related to ‘dialogue’ and ‘reflection’ were not explicitly addressed in either context. This suggests that these principles may represent the most challenging issues for practicing teachers to take on board in their training.

As for students, they favoured the learning approach represented in the WP4 framework. However; part of this positive position might have been only a consequence of the novelty of the approach. Should the whole of their science learning be turned over to this way of working, perhaps the novelty would wear off. However, the prevailing culture of schooling, in the UK at least, suggests that such an approach will always be complementary to the more traditional approaches associated with a more didactic, transmissive model of teaching.

Generally, the framework served the needs of the whole range of learners and ‘voices’ reasonably well. However, the relatively homogenous nature of the school contexts means that it is difficult to make firm statements as to the potential to cater for diverse ‘voices’ in relation to religion and culture, for example. Generally, the framework seemed to work exceedingly well as an approach to include the range of ‘voices’ including gender, ability and behavioural attributes. Learners were particularly engaged in practical activities in the primary school and appreciated the opportunity to engage in inquiry work relatively autonomously. At the secondary level, students particularly liked inquiring into a topic of direct relevance to their own lives. The ‘place-based’ aspect of the topic didn’t seem to have resonance with most, although a few did express their pride in the fact that their region had contribute to globally relevant technological developments.

OVERALL NATIONAL FINDINGS

The following section incorporates findings for the overall project, from each partner countries perspective.

LEBANON Results Summary

The research conducted through the surveys, workshops and interviews provided data about Lebanese students’ conceptions about a variety of science education issues. Consequently, they prepared a proposal which was accepted for presentation at the annual conference of NARST entitled “Examining relationships among Lebanese students’ conceptions of and attitudes toward science, career choices, religious affiliations and gender” in which the following conclusions were drawn:

1. Attitudes, Career Choices, and Gender. Unlike students in developed countries, Lebanese male and female upper elementary and middle school students seem to have positive attitudes toward science and a significant number of them plan to pursue science-related careers. These attitudes might have come from parents’ perceptions of the importance of science as a vehicle for upward mobility for their children, perceptions that are translated into implicit – and sometimes explicit- pressure by parents on their children to excel in scientific subjects. However, there are gender differences in the way students conceptualize science in everyday life and in their preferences for science-related careers and activities. It is evident from the results of this study that female students prefer human and caring-type activities while male students prefer activities that are purely scientific in nature or involve work with mechanical and technical overtones. These gender differences might be the result of different conceptualizations of the role of science by males and females. It seems that females see science in the service of humans while male students see it as an attempt to understand and control nature.
2. Conceptions and Religious Affiliations. A surprising result of this study relates to the high percentage of students who have what look like creationist or theistic conceptions of the origin of the earth. Previous research on evolution education in Lebanon indicates that there are significant differences between Christian and Muslim high school students’ views of evolution and the origin of the earth, with Christian students being more accepting of evolutionary ideas (see BouJaoude and Kamel, 2009). There are two possible explanations for these results. First, it is possible that students’ age is an important determining factor in the development of these beliefs. Since these students have not been exposed to evolution and the age of the earth as part of their school curriculum; they might have developed “everyday” and “common sense” understandings of these concepts acquired from parents and other significant people in their lives. Second, it is possible that in the current political/social environment in Lebanon and the Arab world where religion and religion-related issues are constantly in the news, students are being influenced by this environment and are developing more conservative ideas about science and its relation to religious beliefs.

Results from the school interventions showed that the teaching practices of the teacher whose classes were videotaped prior to and at the end of the intervention were characterized by the following:

• The class became more dialogic as evidenced by the increase in the number of utterances by the teacher and the students. However, the majority of the talk was still by the teacher.
• There was a significant decrease in the teachers’ talk that was labeled “generic” indicating that the teacher was more focused on developing content and cognitive skills rather than on managerial type utterances.
• There was a significant decrease in the teachers’ factual type utterances and an increase in the conceptual type utterances. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the students’ analysis type cognitive skills and a decrease in the application type cognitive skills.
• There was an increase in the number of questions and a similar increase in the number of higher cognitive level questions at the end of the intervention. Moreover, even though the number of questions asked by the students was relatively low, the majority of these questions were at higher cognitive levels.

Results of analyzing data from the focus groups shows that students started relating what they did in science classes to everyday activities, were involved in hands-on/mind-on activities and discussions, and started working in groups and implementing projects. Since the students who participated in the focus groups were randomly selected from the classes of the three participating teachers, there is some evidence to suggest that the classroom practices of the three teachers became more learner centered.

Students’ reasons for liking science became more varied at the end of the intervention. In addition to saying that they liked science because they acquired new information, many students’ said that they liked science because it is related to everyday life, were more involved in the classroom activities, shared ideas in class, and were given the opportunity to work together on projects.

Results of the questionnaire indicate that students were less confident in the ability of science to solve all problems, were less convinced that science uses imagination, and were less likely to consider astrology and alternative medicine as scientific in nature.

There was no significant change in gender role stereotypes. Both male and female students still held on to gender stereotypes. One interesting find from the focus group data was that female students emphasized the importance of being involved in activities that involved helping others.

INDIA Results Summary

Various studies have shown that Indian students are very positive towards science as a subject. Middle school students hold a stereotypical yet highly positive image of science and scientists (Chunawala & Ladage, 1998). There is no stated decline in interest in the proportion of students who wish to study science. In the WP3 a questionnaire survey with 1522 students and 48 teachers, and interviews with 108 students and 11 teachers, it was found that:

• More than half the students opted for careers connected to science, applied science or technology.
• For most students the USA was the most developed country in terms of science (45%), though they believed that India would be the leading nation of the world by 2030 in terms of science and technological advancements (65%).
• Students like science because it answers problems of daily life, and had the potential to provide clear and right answers.
• Students felt that those who liked science were intelligent (39%), could talk about many things, and were interesting to talk to.
• Students are however confused about what is covered under science: Half the students mistakenly believed that science always or sometimes includes predicting whether one would be lucky in the future. Clearly students are confused both about the content and nature of science.

The pre and post intervention observations and questionnaires following the interventions in schools showed that science learning was not seen to be about critical reasoning, argumentation, and dialogue. It is a matter of concern, that student may be facing various conflicts with the teachings of science but do not argue or raise questions if they are unsure. More students (62%) reported that they never argued with their teacher in case of any disagreement during science class in the pre-intervention questionnaire than in the post-intervention phase (56%).

The larger surveys and interviews in WP 3 showed that parents and teachers play a significant role in the selection of courses by students, as well as in deciding students' career choices. Teachers also affect students' attitudes to a subject. While over a fourth of the students rated Mathematics as a favourite subject, it was also one of the least favourite of subjects. Science related disciplines were popular choices among a third of the students. Students were concerned about environmental issues like global warming, were against using animals for testing and experiments, and worried about future inventions that could be detrimental and disastrous.

The relationship between God and science can at best be described as a confusing one for students, but often favouring god or religion. Proportion of students agreeing (60%) that the universe has been created by God reduced post intervention.

For most teachers, the mandatory components of scientific literacy of students was basic understanding about general topics in science related to everyday life, health, etc., but gave mixed responses about teaching human reproduction as part of science literacy. Teachers felt that discoveries, exploration, experimentation, etc. could be emphasized more for students who aspire to specialize in science in their future. Teachers stated that they regarded linkages with outside world as crucial in science teaching and that they gave students the liberty for discussion and collaboration when seeking problem solutions and also encouraged peer tutoring and peer learning. They also stated that their goals in teaching science were motivating students to search on their own, and inculcate in students the idea that everything has logic and develop a scientific temper and attitude. However this was not necessarily reflected in their practice through classroom observations in WP5.

Teachers mainly used prescribed school textbooks, followed by their own educational expertise, and performed experiments where students passively observed and were not involved in framing and testing hypothesis. While most teachers considered academic abilities of students as contributing “a lot” to limiting the teaching of science, they did not include not ethnic, religious and social background of students. Though most teachers said they attempted to incorporate examples suiting both genders, they also said that they disregarded any interference of gender, ethnicity or religion in science learning.

It is heartening that dialogues - teacher-student, student-student and student-group - occurred more often during the intervention phase. Though the participating teachers reported that they perceived diversities of all types in classes and adopted a sensitive stance when dealing with them, they did not comprehend diversity nor pedagogical strategies to address them. During the classroom observations and through interactions with teachers, it was gathered that teachers hardly reflected on cultural diversity among their students and the crucial role it could play in planning for the teaching learning process. Even after the intervention, teachers focussed on evaluating the performance of the students in terms of their content knowledge on the basis of an examination or assignments. They failed to recognise that the intervention went beyond teaching the contents of the chapter. It suggests immense opportunity to sensitise teachers about addressing diversity issues in science education.

TURKEY Results Summary

The WP 3 student questionnaires were administered to 1,198 students and 49 of them interviewed from 4 primary and 3 secondary schools in the ages between 10 and 14 to represent diversity as regard to location (e.g rural, urban), socio-economic status, religion and ethnicity. As regard to religion, the sample from Turkey is characterized by a great majority as Muslim, a few Christian, Hindu, no religion or no answer. As regard to ethnicity, the sample is represented by a great majority as Turkish (92.9 %), Kurdish (5.7 %), Bosnian (0.2 %), Circassian (0.4 %), Arabian (0.3 %), Laz (0.1), Rum (0.1) or other (0.2 %).

The preliminary results of the student questionnaire indicated that Turkish students had positive attitudes toward science courses and science learning. They often stated at least a STEM course as one of their favourites because of the fact that it has clear and right answer. Therefore, Turkish students usually perceived science as rational and positivist. Students’ conceptual understanding of science seems to be widespread to include natural, social and practical science. In the same line with the positive attitude toward science, they had images of their fellow students who enjoy science as interesting to talk and intelligent rather than cool and they were keen on using new machines and technology out of extracurricular activities. On the other hand, they stated that they like usually finding out about new inventions and discoveries and all activities related to watching TV programs to learn science while they do not prefer making or using things by hand as extracurricular activities.

Overall, additional finding from questionnaire data indicated that Turkish students enjoyed science as a school subject as well as an extracurricular activity even they tend to have positivist view of science. As regard to science and religion, even in Turkey more than half of the students believed a mixture between creationism and evaluation, there were no clear evidences indicated that students’ religious faith set obstacles for their interest about science.

The majority of Turkish students wanted to have a job where they could help people and look up to them and respect them while students were less interested in a job that will take them well known. Girls wanted a job more where they can help people more while there is no gender gap when it comes to having a job where one can work with other people. On the other hand, when it comes to having a job related to science and technology, boys were more eager. The gender gaps increases when it comes to really wanting a job where they can discover and invent new things. In terms of ethnicity in preference a job related to science and technology in the future, Kurdish students expressed a lower interest in science than the Turkish students. Turkish students seemed to environmentalist but they have a bit less interest in ethical issues in science. Furthermore, there was a gender gap that girls seem to be more sensitive about environment while there were no clear gender differences for ethical issues. Additional findings from interviews indicated that students were strange to deliberate controversial issues from different perspectives of social, political and ethical.

The teacher questionnaire was administered to 94 science teachers and 16 of them were interviewed. Turkish science teacher considered practical knowledge goals for all students among the most important goals such as the relationship between disease and hygiene. On the other hand, they considered key figures and events in the development of science among the most important goals as knowledge required only for specialist future science students. They usually perceived science as universal, neutral and factual for all students. Although the teachers indicated that in their interviews they can adapt their teaching according to the needs of students or their individual differences, they usually refused the source of differences emerged from the word of “cultural diversity”. Also teachers do not make any sense to ethical issues in their teaching during interviews. Even the current science curriculum has basic principles of nature of science and some individual differences among students, especially teachers did not make any sense in their teaching about cultural differences.

It was clear that that many young people who expressed disengagement with science narrow image of what science is. As basic principles of the framework for the design of science education to address the issue of cultural diversity was considered as STEM education needs to be relevant to students. The framework of STEM teaching for diversity proposes two responses to this problem of a limited image of science. In Turkey case, these design principles practiced by providing students meet real working scientists as an emerging need of students. As proposed, interview with students indicated that they much more enjoyed these activities the extent to which they decided to become doctors or a scientist students. They had a much more positive image of science and scientists by explicitly reflecting on and teaching the ‘nature of science’ in these activities. As a striking result, students were much interested in science when they were exposed to processes to practice like a real scientist in which more opportunities to be provided for responsible for their learning and organizing content.

As regards the key design element of the SED-related intervention of dialogic pedagogy, teachers in Turkey had challenges with the pedagogy demanded by the school curriculum to facilitate students for working in small groups, discussing the evidence and the ideas, justifying their arguments and criticizing counter arguments. In facilitating such dialogic talk, students and teachers were supported by a variety of scaffolding structures. In particular, teachers in this study had challenges to include controversial and ethical issues in their science teaching.

Netherlands Results Summary

The findings from research of WP3 confirmed several previous anecdotic observations about science education in the Netherlands. The project found that interest in science courses and science activities was lower than in other countries even lower than in the United Kingdom which is of the six partner countries, the country which is in most respects the most comparable to the Netherlands. The project also found a decrease for all forms of interest as Dutch students get older. This decrease already occurs when students move from the second last year of primary school to the last year and accelerates in high school.

The project also confirmed that there is a particularly large gender gap between boys and girls in the Netherlands. While the gender gap in interest in school science is comparable to other countries and girls like science activities only slightly less than boys in the Netherlands, there is a wide gap in interest in technology activities and in having a job related to science. Compared to their counterparts in other countries, Dutch boys and girls answered the questionnaire in more gender stereotypical ways on a number of specific items. Items about using new technology, watching TV shows about space, making clothes and cooking showed very gender specific answering patterns. On the other hand, many items such as the ones about learning about the human body, going to science museums and discussing the environment had no or small differences in scores between the genders. This shows that the low levels of women working in science and technology in the Netherlands are not caused by a general disinterest of girls in science courses but by a stronger presence of gender stereotyping within the country.

The project found considerable differences between primary school teachers. In the Netherlands, technology has recently been introduced as a primary school subject and is slowly being implemented. Several teachers took the opportunity to specialise in teaching technology and these teachers spend much time doing science and technology in their classes. There were also a great number of primary school teachers for which science and technology was a novel requirement for which they lacked the experience to teach it and to which they paid relatively little attention. Our analysis showed that in such classes taught by an enthusiastic science teacher, students display a higher interest in science. This means that the current policy of increasing time spent on science and technology in primary education could improve the generally low interest in science in the Netherlands. It could also mean that a separation between students will be created with some attending more science-oriented schools than others.

Teachers told the project that time constraints and bureaucratic restraints prevented them from doing more experiments and projects in their class. National and school curriculums describe in detail what material should be covered in which school week, leaving little time for doing activities outside the prescribed curriculum. An increasingly rigid time schedule due to demands for more education in mathematics and languages will even make teaching science and technology attractively more difficult.

In case studies executed in WP 5, the project found that the design principles developed in WP 4 for countering issues related to diversity in the classroom were endorsed by the Dutch teachers. The project also found that both in primary and secondary education, much evidence could be shown from which we inferred that students developed scientific content knowledge and inquiry skills related to the topics they studied. As well, students were highly motivated by these forms of education. Nevertheless, when comparing students’ statements before and after the innovative curriculum, hardly any achievement could be monitored with respect to the deeper aims of this curriculum in regard to the research project. That is, following the curriculum hardly altered students’ attitude to science, their ideas of the nature of science and their scientific career outlooks in a positive way. The project explained these outcomes by focusing on two very different limitations as a result of which particular demands of designing and implementing the innovative curriculum could not be met. In the case of primary education, the school and classroom culture was sufficiently adapted to the specific demands of the curriculum.

Nevertheless, the limited science agency of the teachers implied several limitations as a result of which the wider aims of the curriculum could not be met. In the case of secondary education the situation was precisely the opposite. In this case the teacher had a science agency sufficiently developed for designing and implementing the innovative curriculum. However, the classroom and school culture were less well developed with respect to the demands of the innovative inquiry-based science curriculum.

United Kingdom Results Summary

The principle question the UK team sought to address through the school based interventions was: “Is the SED WP4 Framework for Design a coherent, comprehensive planning tool which is ‘fit for purpose’ in the UK context in terms of designing suitable science learning episodes (or Schemes of Work) capable of delivering quality science learning in a manner which is suitable and engaging for the diversity of student ‘voices’”? This can be answered in the affirmative for the two schools involved in WP5. In terms of the subsidiary questions

1. How do practitioners engage with the framework? e.g. Do they evaluate it positively? Are they able to understand it? What are the possible areas of misunderstanding? What are, from their perspective, possible areas of omission and/or extraneous elements?

Generally, it is possible to conclude that practitioners did, indeed, evaluate the framework positively. There were no serious omissions from, nor tensions between, the principles as outlined. Indeed, teachers generally felt that it provided a good overarching planning tool. However, it is probably true to say that, whilst all areas of the framework were implicitly addressed, the specific principles related to ‘dialogue’ and ‘reflection’ were not explicitly addressed in either context. This suggests that these principles represent perhaps the most challenging ones for plasticising teachers to take on board in their practice. It would seem, therefore, that these represent fruitful lines for further research in terms of the development of appropriate support mechanisms and appropriate strategies for Professional Development whether Pre- or In-service.

It is not enough to simply provide teachers with limited CPD input but rather interventions demand the development of an associated programme of guided support. However, the challenge remains how to create the time and space to enable such CPD to take place given the prevailing structural constraints. It must be borne in mind that the two Case Study schools represent ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’ and contexts which are open to collaboration between academic research institutions. Yet even they found it very difficult to engage in ongoing CPD and reflection given the structural demands within which they operate (notably associated with the so called ‘Accountability Agenda’). It seems that no less than a structural shift in the culture of teaching and professional development in the UK will be necessary to facilitate such activity. Unfortunately, the prevailing trajectory appears to be away from such developments.

2. How do practitioners ‘enact’ the framework i.e. presented with the received generic Framework – the ‘planned’ framework – how to they: interpret, apply, modify, evaluate it in the light of their experiences of it.

The ‘communities of practice’ of ‘practitioner-researchers in both Case Study contexts managed to develop two quite distinct interpretations of, and practical enactments, of the framework which were, to the greater extent, successful. That the framework is flexible enough to successfully support two such divergent trajectories is welcome.

Both contexts, but the secondary school in particular, undertook a significant revision of the enacted framework between iterations. The principle development being in terms of a much greater focus on guidance and frameworks for learning for the second iteration group. Both contexts ultimately evaluated the framework very favourably. Indeed, the process of enacting the framework appears to have had a significant effect on transforming practice in the secondary context. However, both sets of practitioners recognise that they are subject to the prevailing educational culture and structure which places considerable restrictions, due largely to the ‘accountability’ agenda, upon what kinds of innovations to practice they are able to enact.

3. How, if at all, do practitioners evolve the framework and/or their enaction of it?

Equally, the evolution of the framework has been considered at some length in the foregoing discussion. Suffice to say that the teacher creatively interpreted and productively extended the framework with regard to:

• Voice through Choice
• Place-Based Science Education
• Management of the collaborative inquiry work and levels of guidance
• Creativity

These innovations have had a major influence on the thinking of the UK SED Team based at the UoE and demonstrate the value of having driven the WP5 through the school interventions.

4. How is the enacted Framework ‘experienced’ by learners? Positively, negatively, neutrally?

The students evaluated this approach to learning science very favourably. There was only one – questionable – negative response encountered in the whole of the qualitative data collection process. Learners in both contexts clearly demonstrated a preference for the approach to learning driven by the WP4 framework. However, the prevailing culture of schooling, in the UK at least, suggests that such an approach will always be complementary to the more traditional approaches associated with a more didactic, transmissive model of teaching.

5. Do they find the learning activities engaging (relative to other forms of science learning)?

Learners in both contexts certainly did express a preference for the approach to learning they experienced during the WP5 Intervention vis-à-vis their usual experience of learning in science.

6. Do students achieve an appropriate level of science learning?

This issue is more problematic. Particularly in terms of the Year8/First iteration group in the Secondary school, it is apparent that there was too much open-endedness to the inquiry tasks which allowed learners to become distracted away from the scientific dimensions of the inquiry. This shortcoming was addressed by the teachers through the provision of much greater levels of guidance (and control) in the second iteration which resulted in a much more satisfactory level of science learning being in evidence.

7. Does the experienced Framework cater to the diversity of ‘voices’ present in the learning community? Are there any ‘excluded’ voices? Does the experienced framework do a ‘disservice’ to any ‘voices’?

Generally, the framework served the needs of the whole range of learners and ‘voices’ reasonably well. However, the relatively homogenous nature of the two Case Study contexts means that it is difficult to make firm statements as to the potential to cater for diverse ‘voices’ in relation to religion and culture, for example. Generally, the framework seemed to work exceedingly well as an approach to include the range of ‘voices’ including gender, ability and behavioural attributes. Rather than providing a ‘one size fits all’ approach, the framework implies providing a range of potential learning opportunities with ‘choice’. What has been innovative consequence of the DBR has been the manner in which the ‘choice’ dimension has been foregrounded as a powerful strategy for addressing ‘voice’, particularly but not exclusively in the secondary Case Study school.

The one possible exception to this generally positive evaluation of the ‘voice through choice’ approach – and example of an ‘excluded’ voice – is that of the single male Year 8 student. However, this student has identifiable challenges with all forms of social interaction and the emphasis on collaborative group work in the Framework was bound to challenge him profoundly. His personal preference is, of course, to work in isolation and without interaction with any one apart from the teachers.

8. Are there particular dimensions or elements of the framework that can be identified as being either particularly popular or unpopular with learners (e.g. focus on relevance, collaboration, ‘talk’)?

Learners were particularly engaged by practical activity in the Primary school and the opportunity to engage in inquiry work relatively autonomously. At the secondary level, students particularly liked inquiring into a topic of direct relevance to their own lives. The ‘place-based’ aspect of this topic choice didn’t seem to have resonance with most, although a few did express their pride in the fact that Cornwall had contribute to globally relevant technological developments. Perhaps the greatest level of engagement resulted from their being to exercise their ‘voice’ in terms of ‘choice’ of topic. For the majority of students there were no obvious aspects of the Scheme of Work that they found problematic or disengaging and, indeed, the impression given was that the overall approach to science learning experienced was preferable to their ‘traditional’ work. Of course, the one exception to this was the single male student for whom this approach to working was uncomfortable in the extreme given the general social learning challenges they are presented with.

Malaysia Results

SED project was carried out in systematic, organised, smooth and conscientious manner even though the project involved partners from 6 countries across different continents with very diverse cultural background and preconception on most of the concepts and terminologies. The way of planning out the research, communicating to members of the research and organising of the whole project is obviously the very first and important points learned and benefited us as part of the research team in this project. This important experience may not seems to be relevant to the National setting as it is now, but it will benefit other researchers in the country when the experiences are shared.

As this project is not only collecting data and researching on Malaysian students and schools alone, it involved studies in Schools of 5 other countries. Therefore, findings gathered from one’s own country give an understanding of certain phenomenon of the country’s Science Education, while findings deduced through cross country using comparative analysis provides better insights of science education in relation to many other factors. Therefore, the findings gathered in every stage of the project (Work package 2 to 6) are useful and relevant not only to the people who are directly involved in the project, namely, the researchers of this project, teachers who participated in this project and policy recommender or policy makers who acted as Expert panel members of this project; but also relevant to Science Education effort of the country. The findings collected from this project can served as good stimuli for reflection to Malaysian teachers, educators, researchers and policy makers.

The findings gathered from WP2 (country report on demographic, Education Policy and science education of each country), WP3 (data collection on students’ interest towards science and their conceptual understanding of science) and WP5 (intervention) are relevant to our National setting. It was noted from WP2 and WP3 data that Science Education in Countries like UK and the Netherland focus more on the process of acquire new knowledge and the scientific method, while in Malaysia and other Asia countries, the focus was more on the theory, fact or results written in literature or book and how it was used in various application. Learning of science in these country, particularly in Malaysia, has becoming not interest and difficult. Although this relationship was not tested directly using correlation test, it was shown in many test data categorised in WP3 synthesis report.

The re-iteration process adopted in the intervention help us as the researcher to see clues as to why good science education methodology and pedagogy like inquiry based science education (ISBE) and scientific process skills (SPS) that were highly promoted by the Ministry was not implemented, for the very least, in the participating schools. Our experience in working collaboratively with the teachers to overcome the constraints in the system/ educational culture and the teachers’ own limitations is definitely a useful reference for researchers, educators and policy makers who wanted to see how the new strategy and pedagogy can be implemented in Malaysia Science Education.

Potential Impact:

A description of the potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far) and the main dissemination activities and the exploitation of results

Impact on partners of engaging in SED

It is clear that over the life of the project there has been significant impact from the SED collaboration within teams and partner institutions. The original intentions of the European Commission may have been to learn from non-EU countries about their science education in order to improve engagement in science among young people within the EU, this intention being based on the generalised assumption that young people in developing countries are better disposed towards science education, and perhaps education in general, that are their counterparts in the developed world. There is another concealed assumption here that students’ dispositions are caused by what occurs within science education. From the outset, the project has rejected these false assumptions and set out to explore diversity in order to enhance science education. The cultural identities of students, and teachers, are acknowledged in the synthesis report of work package two as influences on the teaching and learning of science. Learning within the project has consisted of all partners learning from one another and through project activity.

The external evaluation recognised that “there is a high degree of enthusiasm in project teams about the collaboration and the resulting learning, particularly about cultures other than one’s own, that has taken place. Individuals appear permanently changed by encounters and information that they found illuminating.”

Partners’ Views on Impact

Almost all respondents to the project’s evaluation (18 out of 21) took a view on impact within their own country. Only one of these thought that the impact would be high. The majority thought it would be moderate.

There is a high degree of confidence concerning academic dissemination of WP3 findings among the partnership teams in The Netherlands and in the UK. Evidence for this is twofold. Firstly, this is a strong and significant data set with an innovative yet sound methodology, which produced interesting outcomes. As one respondent put it “The data has thrown up some quite surprising findings and countered some stereotypes about science and diversity, and about national cultures and science education.” Secondly the individuals working on the WP3 dataset have continued to do so long after the synthesis report on this work package was delivered to the EU Commission, and they are clearly driven to develop this work further still.

The expert advisory panels in most SED partner countries include a representative of the Education Ministry of the country. This provides a clear opportunity to influence on national policy. Some countries will keep in touch with their panels beyond the life of the EU project and this further enhances the potential for impact.

Several SED team members spoke or wrote about how their current national context might support, or in most cases inhibit, impact on science education policy. Both in England and in Malaysia at least some form of scientific inquiry is included in the national curriculum. However, in both these countries teachers’ lack of experience and confidence mean that these aspects of the curriculum are not delivered as intended. This is compounded by the relative absence of scientific inquiry from assessment regimes. Furthermore some assessment regimes do not support group work or dialogue in science learning. It is felt that structural changes would be needed in order to enable the necessary professional development and curriculum flexibility that adoption of the SED framework would require.

The political context was also cited as an inhibitor to influencing national policy in three of the six countries involved. Clearly there are strategic issues beyond the specifics of current curriculum, assessment or teacher knowledge, for example the purpose of education generally and about scientific and technological education in particular. A respondent made the point that one purpose of education is stratification and selection and this tends to prolong the status quo within the societies. Those making the decisions about education tend to be those who have benefitted from the stratification and this brings about an inbuilt resistor to change within the system, particularly change that is focused on diversity. To paraphrase one respondent: “Wanting to transform science education so that it genuinely serves the full diversity of students, providing them with techno-scientific societal empowerment and awareness, is considered a form of radicalism.”

IMPACT 2013 and beyond

The SED project has the potential to impact in three different ways. Firstly, there is the possibility of direct impact on practice. This has begun with the teachers directly involved, particularly in WP 5. There is scope to extend this to others teachers and other schools. Secondly there is the contribution that the SED project can make to science education knowledge. The strongest contributions here are from WP’s 3 and 4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is the possibility of influencing national or EU policy. The best chance of doing this will be to draw on new and significant findings from WP 3.

The way of working of the project itself has the potential to impact in all spheres. The international aspect of developed and developing countries working together with distributed leadership is one of SED’s unique and interesting features. The potentially important impact on thinking about diversity of WP 3 is recognised. Furthermore, the principles and the framework for pedagogical design from work package four could be used by teachers beyond the project as a basis for planned lessons in science education. One team member wrote, ‘I am confident that the theoretical framework developed in WP4 will be very influential in the future because it is grounded in work in the field and the collected wisdom of a large number of experts from several cultural contexts.’ Furthermore the professional development materials and teaching resources from work package five could be used by others if made publicly available in a way that is easily accessible to practitioners.

The partnership, during the life of the project has drawn on a number of methods of dissemination and hence of potential impact. These include presentations and papers at conferences, peer-reviewed articles in journals and training for teachers. Books and news media were discussed at the partnership meeting in Malaysia and it is anticipated that these will be used.

A significant group of individuals in each country comprising the project team and their Expert Panel are now equipped with understandings resulting from the SED project and these, to varying degrees, are part of the national discourse around science education. So what is already in place could continue to have a ripple effect in 2013 and beyond even if SED partner teams do not undertake any deliberate impact activity.

Some individuals have identified writing published papers and regular internal conferences, for example, as having potential impact into next year and beyond. Planning next and final steps for the project was the main feature of the partnership meeting in Kuala Lumpur in late September 2012 where partners agreed to a number of new papers, books and reports.

Impact within Academia

This is where SED’s communication and impact has been strongest to date. A list of twenty ideas for papers and books was drawn up at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur. This covers a very impressive range of findings and implications arising from the SED project. Of course aspects of diversity feature in this list, like religion and gender, with some interesting headlines, for example gender differences emerge as students get older; Hindus in the UK appear to like science.

There are suggestions for papers about the WP4 Framework and the pedagogies that it deals with, namely inquiry based science education, questioning and dialogue. There are also many more profound and subtle outputs, concerning the nature of science, ‘voice’, ethics, self-efficacy and democratic decision making. And finally, although not in the list, partners are aware that some papers should be written focussing specifically on the research methods used within the SED project.

Following Kuala Lumpur there is also a valuable list of suggestions for follow on research, but of course these are dependent on funding. Many of these suggestions would involve both academic research, and teaching and learning in schools. It may be more straightforward to conduct such research in countries where there is already a strong relationship between educational research and practice. Some suggestions which seem particularly suitable to strengthening impact in the global academic community. These relate to three areas: the language issue, which has been exposed and elaborated well by SED; challenging the prevailing neo-liberal model of education and discourse; repeating the research aspects elements of work package five. Any and all of these, if enacted could add significantly to the knowledge base, over above what has already been added by SED.

Impact on practitioners

There are some ambitious ideas for impact on groups of teachers beyond those directly involved in the project up to this point. These range from a simple dissemination of the WP4 principles and WP5 classroom work, to a widespread transformation through initial and in-service training and professional development for teachers. The Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in India has already worked with teachers beyond the project on SED ideas. While in Malaysia, the project team in TARC is in discussion with teacher trainers on their expert panel to see if initial training can be influenced.

In Lebanon almost 50% of students go to private schools managed by a variety of religious and independent groups. Influencing teachers’’ practices in these schools would require a sustained and large scale effort. However, there is a large scale project with public schools in which the ideas derived from SED will be used in professional developing activities. The project with public school teachers is a three-year project and its results will appear at a later stage.

Making the outcomes of WP 4 available to teachers could potentially have significant impact. Of particular value here are the principles that underpin the design of WP5 interventions. These could support teachers in designing their own classroom activities. The Executive Summary of the paper ‘Principles for the design of educational activities that engage young people in science and address the issue of diversity ‘ which was presented in Kuala Lumpur is very useful in that regard.

As with the suggestions for impact within academia, there is no shortage of ideas in the partnership on how to use SED outcomes to impact on teaching. These include creating networks for teacher professional and producing a book aimed at practitioners and non-academics on teaching science in a post-positivist world.

There has been discussion among partners about involving teachers in development activities. The desired nature and content of possible professional development, in its widest sense, was explored. This includes any activity that leads to or promotes a change in practice. The important roles of teachers’ current views and confidences and of senior management in schools are recognised.

The idea of using Lesson Study, which combines teacher development and research was put forward, integrating the use of videoed lessons and discussions, perhaps making these more widely available. The notion of accreditation was raised and linking with teachers who are already committed to research through enrolment in a masters programme for instance. These research projects in turn could support any impact on policy arising from the SED project by providing a stronger evidence base for any proposed or implied changes in policy.

Any deep impact from SED would involve a change to national curricular, assessment regimes and government guidance. This leads us into the next section where we look specifically at impact on national policy.

Influencing Policy

Influencing policy is a more complex, unpredictable and less transparent process than either writing papers to influence academics or working with teachers to influence practice. Nonetheless it is something that partners have considered and they now have outcomes that are worthy of note by those in positions of influence. Of course, all along via influential team members and expert panels there is a potential for SED to go in the mix with other new outputs and have its share of influence on policy.

Impact on policy has become more prevalent in partnership discussions as the project draws to a close. It is recognised that policy makers are influenced by high profile research findings that make it into national media. Work was started in Kuala Lumpur to think about this and to prepare for press releases. These hook into popular ideas like the need for citizens to be scientifically literate, the potential clashes between science and religion, and the popularity of science among children in countries where the teaching is traditional.

National conferences, reports and publications about SED and continuing contact with expert panels, policymakers and regional educational organizations will increase the potential impact and sustainability of SED on science education policies. The team at University Exeter generated a report describing the science education policy landscape in England. This gives information about government department, agencies and bodies as well as other key influencers in science education.

Socio-Economic Impact in Partner Countries

In this section we summarise the perceived socio-economic benefits in each of the partner countries.

India

For the way Science Education is taught

Thanks to SED, teachers have become aware of the diversity in their classrooms and have learned to be reflective about teaching-learning processes. The teachers engaged through SED have used the diversity in classrooms as a resource for planning better teaching-learning ideas and strategies. Importantly teachers have addressed the needs of different students through suitable examples, sensitive handling of topics through dialogues and discussions, making room for critical debates in the classroom, connecting classroom learning with daily life, local contexts and current events.

Fort the development of the curriculum

The Homi Bhabha Centre at TIFR are in the process of generating a concept paper to inform future educational policies, and inputs for curricular frameworks.

For teacher training

The Homi Bhabha Centre at TIFR are seeking to generate a model that can be used for sensitising Indian school teachers about diversity issues in science teaching-learning - workshop/ sessions. This will be supplemented with suitable print and multimedia materials for pre-service and in-service teacher professional development.

For developing innovative new pedagogies

The Homi Bhabha Centre at TIFR are now experienced in the production of more student centred and inquiry based lesson plans and will seek to expand lessons that involve student autonomy and peer communication through teacher initiated dialogues.

Encouraging young people to engage with science

Science is a mandatory subject at the school level, and yet an attractive subject. However, in India science is seen to be useful for applied fields such as careers in engineering, computers, medicine, etc. rather than for fundamental R&D.

SED has generated ideas for making R&D in fundamental science and science education attractive career choices for diverse groups: e.g. current issues are discussed (disease prevention and cure, concept of overall health and preservation, sustainable ways of making essential goods like textile colouring, sustainable agriculture, strategies for feeding larger number of people, access to food, and food preservation, etc.) where science yet has no answers.

For engaging diverse groups in science

The project has emphasised that dialogues and discussions in classrooms can engage different groups to think about science and its connections in their contexts and for their priorities. Initiating communication channels between the teacher and each student and allowing communication among students has positive implications for students' understanding of scientific concepts and processes through better engagement.

Turkey

The SED project should help to call attention to the need for more effective pedagogies to address the issue of cultural diversity for training teachers based on the notion of critical epistemology through reflection on knowledge and different ways of knowing. Given the data of this study may prove useful in understanding the teachers’ nature and depth reflection on thoughts and actions during their dialogic teaching experiences. Teacher educators can use these results to examine teachers’ experiences for preparing teacher education programs as well as continuing education of teachers. The findings that emerge from this study, therefore, have important implications for educational researchers, teachers, and teacher educators.

Overall, the SED project can contribute as a mean of insight to insufficient literature about dialogic pedagogy in response to cultural diversity in educational settings in Turkey by providing a thick and deep investigation of reflection on teaching practice. Within this study, the personal and professional development of the teachers will be dealt with or valued in the matter of their feelings, opinions, views, attitudes and beliefs about cultural diversity while reflecting upon experience in the process of learning to teach. The teacher educators should model the process of helping teachers to learn knowledge throughout reflection on one’s own thinking and nature of science for Turkish science teachers.

The research area about diversity is quite a new for science education in Turkey; therefore, SED Project would provide a large scale research to construct a knowledge base for diversity issues emerged from the real context in science education. The findings of SED project applications in the context of Turkey would provide a rich learning environment shaped by its unique diversity structure. In particular, SED project can have a great potential to explore Turkish students and teachers’ conception of science and acquiring scientific knowledge in reaction to their “cultural voice”. Furthermore, it would be delineated how students develop scientific knowledge; experience and interests further what is the relation between their science education and future occupations. For example, one of the striking results of Work Package 3 pertained SED project that many young people who expressed disengagement with science has narrow image of what science is. It was evident that involving students in real life work as a design principle of STEM education needs to be relevant to students engage them in scientific process and orient them science as a future career. As an implication, students should expose to processes to practice like a real scientist in which more opportunities to be provided for responsible for their learning and organizing content.

Although the current Science and Technology Curriculum implies a vision of “science and technology literacy for all” regardless individual differences the extent to which it might be emerged from according to their gender, socio economic status, culture, learning disabilities, special skills, language using skills and some disabilities of mental, emotional, and physical, there are no explicit amendments to scrutinize religious, ethnical, regional, and linguistic diversities to improve science education. This discrepancy between the intended outcomes and implications of science curriculum would have a great potential to inform the research in the SED Project by eliciting how reciprocally students and teachers perceive science and acquire scientific knowledge in the process of teaching and learning. Therefore, aspects of the SED project would provide a cultural awareness about the science curricula among students and teachers. For this reason, the current programs would be revised as regard to aspect of SED projects to include the development process of cultural differences and its reflections to learning environments. In this learning teaching process, teachers’ science teaching philosophies would inform the construction of knowledge base for developing innovative new pedagogies for teachers.

As regard to the key design element of the SED-related intervention of dialogic pedagogy, teachers in Turkish context had challenged in including the pedagogy through school curriculum to facilitate students for working in small groups, discussing the evidence and the ideas, justifying their arguments and criticizing counter arguments. In the SED project for Turkish context, students and teachers were supported by a variety of scaffolding structures. In essence, the more systematic and deliberative support system should be provided to get teachers as change agents in practice at the individual and organizational level in the school community. In facilitating such dialogic talk, SED project would provide teachers guidance on how to deal with these issues and develop pedagogy for teaching in their classroom. As a future design principle of SED project, the continued leadership and support of the school management, teachers, students and external inspectors as well as support of other stakeholders (e.g family) to set expectations for STEM education will ensure teachers maintain their motivation to continue science education in a positive direction as regard to students’ diversity.

In essence, the development of dialogic pedagogy as a key design element of the SED project will inform continuing professional development programs and preservice teacher training institutions needs to be supported by educational approaches, principles or theories with the consideration of contextual factors, ethical, moral, controversial and political issues. It would have implications for local science curriculum based on emerging moral, ethical, social-political aspects as a means of reconstructing the society and educational implications. Furthermore, reframinig SED-related design principles will inform such a dialogic learning atmosphere equalizing the status of teacher and learner that every one can argue each other’s ideas, create inquiries and develop possibilities to build the dynamics between school and society.

As a part of the contribution to data collection procedure of the SED project, students and teachers were questioned and interviewed. The student questionnaire were administered to 1198 students and 49 of them interviewed from 4 primary and 3 secondary schools in the ages between 10 and 14 to represent diversity as regard to location (e.g rural, urban), socio-economic status, religion and ethnicity. As regard to religion, the sample from Turkey is characterized by a great majority as Muslim, a few Christian, Hindu, no religion or no answer. As regard to ethnicity, the sample is represented by a great majority as Turkish (92.9 %), Kurdish (5.7 %), Bosnian (0.2 %), Circassian (0.4 %), Arabian (0.3 %), Laz (0.1), Rum (0.1) or other (0.2 %).

The preliminary results of the student questionnaire indicated that Turkish students had positive attitudes toward science courses and science learning. They often stated at least a STEM course as one of their favourites because of the fact that it has clear and right answer. Therefore, Turkish students usually perceived science as rational and positivist. Students’ conceptual understanding of science seems to be widespread to include natural, social and practical science. In the same line with the positive attitude toward science, they had images of their fellow students who enjoy science as interesting to talk and intelligent rather than cool and they were keen on using new machines and technology out of extracurricular activities. On the other hand, they stated that they like usually finding out about new inventions and discoveries and all activities related to watching TV programs to learn science while they do not prefer making or using things by hand as extracurricular activities. Overall, additional finding from questionnaire data indicated that Turkish students enjoyed science as a school subject as well as an extracurricular activity even they tend to have positivist view of science. As regard to science and religion, even in Turkey more than half of the students believed a mixture between creationism and evaluation, there were no clear evidences indicated that students’ religious faith set obstacles for their interest about science.

Majority of Turkish students wanted to have a job where they can help people and look up to them and respect them while students were less interested in a job that will take them well known. Girls wanted a job more where they can help people more while there is no gender gap when it comes to having a job where one can work with other people. On the other hand, when it comes to having a job related to science and technology, boys were more eager. The gender gaps increases when it comes to really wanting a job where they can discover and invent new things. In terms of ethnicity in preference a job related to science and technology in the future, Kurdish students expressed a lower interest in science than the Turkish students. Turkish students seemed to environmentalist but they have a bit less interest in ethical issues in science.

Furthermore, there was a gender gap that girls seem to be more sensitive about environment while there were no clear gender differences for ethical issues. Additional findings from interviews indicated that students were strange to deliberate controversial issues from different perspectives of social, political and ethical.

The teacher questionnaire was administered to 94 science teachers and 16 of them were interviewed. Turkish science teacher considered practical knowledge goals for all students among the most important goals such as the relationship between disease and hygiene. On the other hand, they considered key figures and events in the development of science among the most important goals as knowledge required only for specialist future science students. They usually perceived science as universal, neutral and factual for all students. Although the teachers indicated that in their interviews they can adapt their teaching according to the needs of students or their individual differences, they usually refused the source of differences emerged from the word of “cultural diversity”. Also teachers do not make any sense to ethical issues in their teaching during interviews. Even the current science curriculum has basic principles of nature of science and some individual differences among students, especially teachers did not make any sense in their teaching about cultural differences.

Work Package 3 pertained SED project that many young people who expressed disengagement with science narrow image of what science is. As basic principles of the framework for the design of science education to address the issue of cultural diversity was considered as STEM education needs to be relevant to students. The framework of STEM teaching for diversity proposes two responses to this problem of a limited image of science. In Turkey case, these design principles practiced by providing students meet real working scientists as an emerging need of students. As proposed, interview with students indicated that they much more enjoyed these activities the extent to which they decided to become doctors or a scientist students. They had a much more positive image of science and scientists by explicitly reflecting on and teaching the ‘nature of science’ in these activities. As a striking result, students were much interested in science when they were exposed to processes to practice like a real scientist in which more opportunities to be provided for responsible for their learning and organizing content.

As regard to the key design element of the SED-related intervention of dialogic pedagogy, teachers in Turkish context had challenged in including the pedagogy through school curriculum to facilitate students for working in small groups, discussing the evidence and the ideas, justifying their arguments and criticizing counter arguments. In facilitating such dialogic talk, students and teachers were supported by a variety of scaffolding structures. In particular, teachers in this study had challenges to include controversial and ethical issues in their science teaching.

United Kingdom

The University of Exeter recognises that the socio-economic impact on the UK will come from two areas:

1. The Research emergent from the major teacher and pupil survey
2. Testing of the Framework for in-school interventions

The impact of these is discussed in turn:

The Research emergent from the major teacher and pupil survey

The UK sample drew from an ethnically homogeneous district in Southwest England and a heterogeneous London district. 64% identified as white British, 11% as other European (including Irish), 6% as South Asian (Indian subcontinent) and 20% as African, or ‘other’. 27% defined themselves as Christian, 6% as Muslim, and 4.5% as Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. 43% claimed ‘no religion’ and 8% refused to answer the question.

Young people of both sexes in England show less interest in and enthusiasm for science subjects, science careers and activities relating to science than do young people in the non-European countries in the study. They are similar to young people in the Netherlands on many issues. There are few differences based on either ethnicity or social class (as measured by number of books in the household). Where differences exist, higher social class is associated with greater interest in science and science-related activities. Ethnic minority students, mainly from the Indian subcontinent, express greater interest in science than do White British students. Gender differences, with boys expressing greater interest in science than girls, are larger in the UK than in some other countries, but smaller than in the Netherlands. Religious beliefs have some relationship to interest in science, with students who report ‘no religion’ having less interest in science, however this effect is greater for lower SES students. However students who held creationist (young earth) or intelligent design evolutionary beliefs were not less interested in science than those who held orthodox beliefs about evolution. Like the Dutch students, and in contrast to the other nations, UK students tend to a less positivistic or more skeptical view of science being unchanging truth or providing solutions to a wide range of problems. UK students are less concerned about ethical issues relating either to science or the environment than other nations, but more concerned about the ethics of animal experimentation. UK students are however as, or more, interested in new technology compared to the other nations.

While interest in science-related subjects, activities and careers is less amongst UK students than other countries in the study (notably in contrast to India) nevertheless this is not evidence of extensive lack of interest. 30% name a STEM subject as their favourite, though 49% named a STEM subject as their least favourite. 23% agree strongly that they liked all science subjects, and a further 57% agree with this to an extent. Interest in science-related out of school activities such as television programmes, museums and hobbies is moderate to low; over nine items the average is 2.18 on a 3 point scale (compare to 1.46 for Indian students). 20% would definitely like a job related to science or technology, and 42% would not at all; in India the figures are 55% and 18%. 24% would like a job involving discovery or invention, while 34% would not. 45% (compared to 79% in India) would like a job where they can help people; 71% (India 43%) would like a job that will make them wealthy.

There are gender effects for liking science subjects, activities and science careers. 47% of girls compared to 38% of boys are not at all interested in science-related careers, and 39% of girls and 30% of boys are not interested in careers where they could invent or discover things. However as in other countries, there are few gender differences in primary school. There are gender differences in interest in science-related activities, for example finding out about new inventons, watching TV programmes about natural events such as volcanoes, fixing things and caring for the sick, but many of these are mediated by whether boys or girls are interested in science per se. These findings suggest that while UK girls are somewhat less interested than boys in science, the differences are topic-specific.

Testing of the Framework for in-school interventions

The principle question the UK team sought to address through the Design Based Research (DBR) was:

“Is the SED WP4 Framework for Design a coherent, comprehensive planning tool which is ‘fit for purpose’ in the UK context in terms of designing suitable science learning episodes (or Schemes of Work) capable of delivering quality science learning in a manner which is suitable and engaging for the diversity of student ‘voices’”?

Potential Impact on Teachers

Generally, it is possible to conclude that did evaluated the framework positively. There were no serious omissions from, nor tensions between, the principles as outlined. Indeed, teachers generally felt that it provided a good overarching planning tool. However, it is probably true to say that, whilst all areas of the framework were implicitly addressed, the specific principles related to ‘dialogue’ and ‘reflection’ were not explicitly addressed in either context. This suggests that these principles represent perhaps the most challenging ones for practicing teachers to take on board in their practice. It would seem, therefore, that these represent fruitful lines for further research in terms of the development of appropriate support mechanisms and appropriate strategies for Professional Development whether Pre- or In-service.

One of the emergent impacts is that we now recognise that it is not enough to simply provide teachers with limited CPD input but instead we need to provide an associated programme of guided support. However, the challenge remains how to create the time and space to enable such CPD to take place given the prevailing UK structural constraints. It must be borne in mind that the two Case Study schools represent ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’ and contexts which are open to collaboration between academic research institutions. Yet even they found it very difficult to engage in ongoing CPD and reflection given the structural demands within which they operate (notably associated with the so called ‘Accountability Agenda’). It seems that no less than a structural shift in the culture of teaching and professional development in the UK will be necessary to facilitate such activity in the UK. Unfortunately, the prevailing trajectory appears to be away from such developments.

However, it is worth recapitulating that the ‘communities of practice’ of ‘practitioner-researchers in both Case Study contexts managed to develop two quite distinct interpretations of, and practical enactments, of the framework which were, to the greater extent, successful. That the framework is flexible enough to successfully support two such divergent trajectories is welcome.

Both contexts, but the secondary school in particular, undertook a significant revision of the enacted framework between iterations. Both contexts ultimately evaluated the framework very favourably. Indeed, the process of enacting the framework appears to have had a significant effect on transforming practice in the secondary context. However, both sets of practitioners recognise that they are subject to the prevailing educational culture and structure which places considerable restrictions, due largely to the ‘accountability’ agenda, upon what kinds of innovations to practice they are able to enact.

The evolution of the framework has been considered at some length in the foregoing discussion. Suffice to say that the teacher creatively interpreted and productively extended the framework with regard to:

• Voice through Choice
• Place-Based Science Education
• Management of the collaborative inquiry work and levels of guidance
• Creativity

These innovations have had a major influence on the thinking of the UK SED Team based at the University of Exeter and demonstrate the value of having driven the WP5 through DBR.

Students’ dimension

The students evaluated this approach to learning science very favourably. There was only one – questionable – negative response encountered in the whole of the qualitative data collection process. Learners in both contexts clearly demonstrated a preference for the approach to learning driven by the WP4 framework. Of course, it must be borne in mind that part of this positivity might have been merely a consequence of the novelty of the approach. Should the whole of their science learning be turned over to this way of working, perhaps the novelty would wear off. However, the prevailing culture of schooling, in the UK at least, suggests that such an approach will always be complementary to the more traditional approaches associated with a more didactic, transmissive model of teaching.

Generally, the framework seemed to work exceedingly well as an approach to include the range of ‘voices’ including gender, ability and behavioural attributes. Rather than providing a ‘one size fits all’ approach, the framework implies providing a range of potential learning opportunities with ‘choice’. What has been innovative consequence of the DBR has been the manner in which the ‘choice’ dimension has been foregrounded as a powerful strategy for addressing ‘voice’, particularly but not exclusively in the secondary Case Study school.

Learners were particularly engaged by practical activity in the Primary school and the opportunity to engage in inquiry work relatively autonomously. At the secondary level, students particularly liked inquiring into a topic of direct relevance to their own lives. The ‘place-based’ aspect of this topic choice didn’t seem to have resonance with most, although a few did express their pride in the fact that Cornwall had contribute to globally relevant technological developments. Perhaps the greatest level of engagement resulted from their being to exercise their ‘voice’ in terms of ‘choice’ of topic. For the majority of students there were no obvious aspects of the Scheme of Work that they found problematic or disengaging and, indeed, the impression given was that the overall approach to science learning experienced was preferable to their ‘traditional’ work. Of course, the one exception to this was the single male student for whom this approach to working was uncomfortable in the extreme given the general social learning challenges they are presented with.

Malaysia

The main difference in the framework proposed in this project as compared to other Science Education projects is, this project adopted integrated science learning and teaching that taking account in the funds of knowledge of students with diverse background when science teaching is taking place in the classroom when teaching science through inquiry based science education. Teachers have to be sensitive and giving thought on students’ funds of knowledge, uses enhanced context strategies to related students’ funds of knowledge with the curriculum to engage the students during classroom teaching. This approach required commitment from the teachers and Management of Schools, as much effort are needed to understand content of the curriculum, students’ background as well as limitation found in the learning environment before classroom teaching are carried out. The thorough understanding of the students, content delivery and limitation of the school’s set up will ease the teachers ’instructional material preparation. They will be able to prepare more effective probing questions, be able to connect to the students and be able to stimulate students’ thinking when science content to be delivered as well as scientific process skills. And more importantly, actually Inquiry strategies are student centred, with students answering scientific questions through investigation.

This project showed that committed teachers who learned and implemented the strategy introduced to them well are effective in imparting the science content to the students, and can arouse students’ interest towards science.

The teacher is also able to inspire the students’ thinking when certain topic is taught and certain activity was carried out. An effective teacher is able to contextualise science instruction by probing students using effective questions or designing activities that are related to the students’ prior knowledge and is able to engage the students in the learning process. Contextualised teaching approach is obviously not easy to carry out especially when there are students with diverse cultural background, ethnic group or academic ability in a classroom. A standardise template or national level lesson plan, which is in practice in most countries, is not able to support personalise and contextual learning as required by students of diverse background, ability and prior knowledge. Teachers need to be ad hoc, adaptive and candid in their response to students’ answers, and must be able to lead one answer to another effective question in the teaching process. Such teaching strategy need to be reviewed and refined along the teaching process, which made me as a researcher to rethink about the mode used in current teacher training programmes (CPD) so that science teachers are adequately prepared in both content knowledge and scientific inquiry experiences.

This project also revealed that students who experienced the teaching by effective science teacher who are able to engage students, in this case is using collaborative inquiry-based science education and using dialogic approach, in classroom discussion outperformed students who were taught by the same teacher using traditional teaching approach. The students was inspired and started to find Science classes interesting. In traditional approach, science instruction is often focused on memorization of factual information and the knowledge is mainly prepared for answering examination questions, in particularly for National level common examination. Traditional teaching approach made students felt bored in the class and lost their interest towards science.

Properly implementing of the contextualised instructional education for students with diverse background and academic ability can help prepare the 21st-century workforce. To achieve so, there is a need to set a foundation for policies, CPD programs, teaching strategy execution programs and contextualised instructional material preparation plus mentoring process that ensure the success of practices and execution of the teaching strategy.

Netherlands

Two findings of Work Package 3 have a high potential impact. One finding is that science education in the Netherlands and the UK is still a subject with limited popularity, especially among girls. The gender differences become more pronounced in secondary education where interest in science drops more among girls than among boys. Hence it is not so much that students do not like science in general. Rather, many students opt out of science subjects because of school science in particular. Another finding with high impact is that students outside Western Europe have a more empiricist and instrumentalist view of science in which science offers absolute truths and solutions for problems than students in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. They also believe that the work of a scientist is creative. These views on what science is and how scientists work can partly explain why some students have a greater interest in science. These findings of Work Package 3 confirm our understanding from the literature that there is a need for changing the way science education is taught in schools. One potential impact of the work in Work Packages 4 and 5 is the wider adoption of a science education pedagogy we have devised to counter the unpopularity of science education among kids in secondary education in particular. In this pedagogy: (a) the relevance to students is taken central, is worked by principles of (b) inquiry based science education and (c) dialogic education, and (d) is reflected on knowledge and different ways of knowing. In the Netherlands, this kind of pedagogy fits well with a pedagogical movement towards more authentic and context-based science education, increasing the chance of adoption on a larger scale.

The project findings also point to a need to develop the curriculum in virtue of a science education that is attractive to larger groups of students. One potential impact of our work is the wider adoption of science curricula in which the relevance to students is taken central. Such a movement is already visible in the Netherlands since many teachers translate a need for a more context-based science education into a need to include more contexts in the curriculum that are relevant to students. The work done in Work Packages 4 and 5 can have a positive impact on this movement.

Several significant implications can be derived from the findings that followed from working with teachers in The Netherlands, in both Work Packages 3 and 5. We found considerable differences between primary school teachers in regard to their experience and enthusiasm of teaching science and technology. Furthermore, our analysis showed that in classes taught by an experienced and enthusiastic science teacher, students display a higher interest in science. This implies that the current policy of increasing time spent on science and technology in primary teacher education will improve the generally low interest in science in the Netherlands. As well, continuing such as policy may counter a separation between students attending schools with more science-oriented teachers as compared to schools where teachers are less experienced and enthusiastic for science and technology.

Nevertheless, let alone their experience and enthusiasm of teaching science and technology, teachers in both primary and secondary education told us that time constraints and bureaucratic restraints prevented them from doing more experiments and projects in their class. Both National and school curricula describe in detail what material should be covered in which school week, leaving little time for doing activities outside the prescribed curriculum. Furthermore, teachers face an increasingly rigid time schedule due to high curriculum demands, which will even make teaching science and technology attractive more difficult. This finding implies that curricula should be recalibrated such that it allows sufficient time for covering objectives for science and technology as well as implementing a pedagogy that allows doing more experiments and projects.

Regarding the training of in-service teachers, two major implications follow from our work in Work Package 5. The first implication concerns teachers’ agency. Especially in primary education in the Netherlands, where most teachers have hardly any training in science, teachers need to be trained for designing and implementing innovative curricula based on design principles. Such training should aim at improving teachers’ science agency, which, in turn, is associated with a series of competencies related to inquiry-based science education. The other implication concerns school and classroom culture. In schools where school and classroom culture frustrates the adoption of curriculum, the school’s management and science department should collectively develop ways of improving these aspects in this respect.

In regard to the findings of the case studies of Work Package 5 in The Netherlands, two lines of future research are required. On the one hand, research need to focus on how school and classroom culture impact on cases of innovative science curricula based on the design principles. In turn, more research is required for understanding how school and classroom culture can be improved in this respect. On the other hand, future research need to focus on the science agency and the associated competences that are required for designing and implementing innovative curricula based on design principles.

The project findings may have a high impact for teacher training by bringing the findings under attention of pre-service students. For instance, in the Master of Science Education and Communication of the Eindhoven School of Education, the teacher training institute of the Eindhoven University of Technology, the findings of the project have already been disseminated among pre-service science teachers during a session on diversity of a course on science education design. We expect an even wider impact in this respect since the Master of Science Education and Communication is offered simultaneously by three collaborating universities in the Netherlands (Eindhoven University of Technology, Delft University of Technology, University of Twente). In the Master program curriculum materials are exchanged on a regular basis, including the course syllabus in which already the major findings of Work Package 3 are summarized. Furthermore, during the next year we continue to disseminate findings of our project, especially on outlets of interest to Dutch teacher training programs. It is therefore to be expected that more Dutch teacher training programs will disseminate the findings of our project among pre-service and in-service teachers.

Lebanon

The Science Education for Diversity project is the first attempt to investigate issues related to diversity in the country. This project provided the opportunity for researchers and practitioners to work together to develop an in-depth understanding of elementary and lower secondary students’ views about science, science teaching, diversity, and other cultural factors that might influence students views about science such as religion. Moreover, this study allowed university faculty to work closely with science teachers to address some of the issues identified in the research on students’ views. Finally, the study helped faculty members and researchers to understand to current situation in a number of private and public schools that enroll students from a variety of social strata, especially lower socioeconomic ones. Findings from the study in Lebanon showed the following:

• Results showed that the teaching practices of the teacher whose classes were videotaped prior to and at the end of the intervention were characterized by the following:
• The class became more dialogic as evidenced by the increase in the number of utterances by the teacher and the students. However, the majority of the talk was still by the teacher.
• There was a significant decrease in the teachers’ talk that was labeled “generic” indicating that the teacher was more focused on developing content and cognitive skills rather than on managerial type utterances.
• There was a significant decrease in the teachers’ factual type utterances and an increase in the conceptual type utterances. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the students’ analysis type cognitive skills and a decrease in the application type cognitive skills.
• There was an increase in the number of questions and a similar increase in the number of higher cognitive level questions at the end of the intervention. Moreover, even though the number of questions asked by the students was relatively low, the majority of these questions were at higher cognitive levels.

Results of analyzing data from the focus groups shows that students started relating what they did in science classes to everyday activities, were involved in hands-on/mind-on activities and discussions, and started working in groups and implementing projects. Since the students who participated in the focus groups were randomly selected from the classes of the three participating teachers, there is some evidence to suggest that the classroom practices of the three teachers became more learner centered.

Students’ reasons for liking science became more varied at the end of the intervention. In addition to saying that they liked science because they acquired new information, many students’ said that they liked science because it is related to everyday life, were more involved in the classroom activities, shared ideas in class, and were given the opportunity to work together on projects.

Results of the questionnaire indicate that students were less confident in the ability of science to solve all problems, were less convinced that science uses imagination, and were less likely to consider astrology and alternative medicine as scientific in nature.

There was no significant change in gender role stereotypes. Both male and female students still held on to gender stereotypes. One interesting finding from the focus group data was that female students emphasized the importance of being involved in activities that involved helping others.

As indicated earlier, the SED will have possible implications for curriculum development, teacher training, and research. In terms of curriculum development we now have in the WP4 framework the guiding principles for developing innovative science education curricula. This framework has already influenced the development of training materials for public schools. As for private schools, we plan to highlight the findings and the WP4 framework of the SED project in a conference held in April 2013 and organized by the Science and Math Education Center at the American University of Beirut which is attended by more than 50 teachers and science department chairs from schools in Lebanon and the Arab states. In terms of teacher training, we have already exposed teacher trainees at the American University of Beirut to SED and to issues of diversity.

This we hope will be a permanent feature in the programs. Also, the findings of the SED have been and will be communicated to a large group of university education faculty members in a presentation for members of the Lebanese Association for Educational studies.

Finally, the SED approach has been adopted by the faculty member who teaches the main research course at the Department of education as a result of being introduce to this approach through SED. All the above approaches will hopefully contribute to keeping your students in Lebanon interested in science.

List of Websites:

http://www.science-education-for-diversity.eu

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THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
United Kingdom
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