Introduction to our research
research that we engage in aims to increase our knowledge base of science
teaching and learning from K-12. Arguably, this knowledge base of teaching and
learning is complex and encompasses many different aspects such as teachers’
ideas about science, science learning environments, teachers’ practices,
assessment of students’ learning and students’ ideas about science and science
learning. Primarily, we are interested in understanding teachers’ knowledge and
practices about science teaching and learning and connecting this to
students’ learning in school. As such, the key research areas that our research
team delve into can be divided into three key inter-related aspects of (1)
teachers’ (both in-service as well as pre-service) knowledge and ideas about
science teaching; (2) students’ ideas about science and science learning; and (3)
creating conducive and positive learning spaces and good science practices.
A/P Tan Aik Ling
taught Biology in a secondary school for 10 years, Aik Ling’s interest in the
learning of science among students in schools is heightened. She is
particularly interested in the interaction between teachers and students as
they go about the business of learning in the classroom. Appreciating the fact
that educational interactions and transactions are complex, she insists that
research into students’ learning should be taken holistically in the ‘natural’ setting
of school or the classroom so that the interacting factors of social
expectations, power, policies, etc. can be considered. The three areas of
research highlighted above are an attempt by the research group to examine
educational interaction in a more comprehensive manner.
PhD (Nanyang Technological University)
- Dr Zhai
early career scholar, Junqing has a broad interest in science education
research, including: teaching and learning science in informal contexts;
professional outdoor educators' pedagogical practices and identities;
inquiry-based learning in science classrooms; learning discourse in science
classrooms. Junqing leads and spearheads the aspect of students’ ideas about
science and science learning in this project.
- Mr Frederick Talaue
Associate and Doctoral Candidate
of Science (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Frederick’s current research interest is in
language use in science teaching and learning, discourse analysis and identity
- Ms Jennifer Jocz
Master of Science (Harvard University)
Master of Education (Harvard University)
Jennifer is a Research Associate with the group.
She has a background in the biological sciences and has training in both formal
and informal education. She is interested in how people perceive science with
the goal of helping students, educators, and the general public better
understand the nature of science. She is also interested in ways to promote
life-long learning of and interest in science.
- Ms Joanna Ong
Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (NUS)
Post-graduate Diploma in Education (NIE/NTU)
Joanna’s research interests are how school
teachers can teach science more effectively through sustainable efforts and how
teachers can bridge the gap between the intended outcomes and what is perceived
or received by the students. She is also curious about how these gaps emerge
and what can be done to reduce them. Her research interests also cover how
students understand science in their daily lives through cognitive, affective
and social aspects and innovations in science education. Her current research
efforts focus on exploring primary science teachers’ practice-linked identities
which is headed by Frederick.
of Research Team
accepted for publication
A manuscript written by Junqing (TJ),
Jennifer and Aik Ling on elementary science
students’ ideas of doing science in school was accepted for publication in the
International Journal of Science Education. Congratulations! J
Zhai, J., Jocz, J., & Tan, A.-L.*
(2013). "Am I like a scientist?": Primary children's images of doing
science in school. International Journal of Science Education, in press(DOI:10.1080/09500693.2013.791958),
at NARST 2013
presented our work focusing on factors that are crucial to sustaining and
promoting students’ interest in science learning at the elementary science classroom
at Puerto Rico in April.
Jocz, J., Zhai, J., & Tan, A. L. (2013,
April). Beyond hands-on: The importance of relevance and discussion in
promoting students' interest in school science. Paper presented at National
Association for Research in Science Teaching, Puerto Rico, United States.
Our research team presented FOUR papers at the recent Redesigning
Pedagogies International Conference 2013 held at the National Institute of
Education, Singapore from 3 to 5 June 2013.
The four papers presented were:
Zhai, J., Jocz, J., & Tan, A.-L. (2013,
June). Tensions in elementary science classrooms: Investigating the roles of
teachers and students. Paper presented at Redesigning Pedagogy
International Conference 2013, Singapore.
Jocz, J., Zhai, J., & Tan, A.-L. (2013,
June). Motivating students in school science: Understanding staudents views
of scientists and school science. Paper presented at Redesigning Pedagogy
International Conference 2013, Singapore.
Talaue, F., Tan, A.-L., & Ong, O.J.J
(2013, June). Locating the teacher-self in the discourse of primary school
science. Paper presented at Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference
Tan, A.-L., & Tan, P. H. (2013, June). Formative
assessment in elementary science classrooms: Issues and dilemma. Paper
presented at Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference 2013, Singapore.
Jennifer presenting factors affecting interest
in school science
Aik Ling preparing to problematize the notion of
Fred trying to locate the teacher-self
Team discussion after presentation
(Fred, TJ, Jen, Aik Ling, Jo)
The sessions were well attended and there
were questions and discussions from like-minded researchers and practitioners
after the presentations.
– International Conference on the Frontier in eLearning Research 2013
In June, Aik Ling presented a theoretical
piece exploring the possibility of pursuing science as inquiry using knowledge
building perspectives. The key argument made was the need for students to be
enculturated through their involvement within a community of learners.
Tan, A.-L., & Tan, S.-C. (2013). 6E
inquiry science: Marriage of cognitive science and learning sciences. In
Childress et al. (Ed.) Proceedings of the
AECT International Conference on the Frontier in eLearning Research 2013 (pp.
1-8). Taichung, Taiwan: National Central University & AECT.
International Science Challenge 2013
shared our analysis about the factors that shaped students’ perceptions of
scientists at the Singapore International Science Challenge 2013 on 4 July
2013. The presentation was well received and it is part of our efforts to make
our research findings available to a wider community of science educators and
Jocz, J. (2013, July). Spiderman and
science: How students’ perceptions of scientists are shaped by various
representations they encounter.
Jen presenting students' perception of scientists >>
Science Education Research Association 2013
Fred presented at the Australasian
Science Education Research Association 2013 (ASERA) meeting in July 2013 in
Wellington, New Zealand. In this presentation, he examines how teachers
position themselves in the classroom as they teach science through inquiry.
Talaue, F., & Tan, A.-L. (2013, July).
Positioning to teach science through inquiry. Paper presented at Australasian
Science Education Research Association Conference 2013, Wellington, New
Congratulations to Joanna on the
arrival of baby Zechary. It is indeed a wonderful treat for all of us from the
research team to welcome the youngest and newest member.
The research team with family
Students - Master in Education
Congratulations to Ms May Phua and Ms
Jasmine Tan for completing their Masters in Education. Well done, ladies!
is entitled “Promoting productive
argumentation through rebuttals, counterarguments and students’ questions”.
Her research is situated in the secondary school biology classroom.
thesis is entitled “Integrating written
feedback as formative assessment in the learning of primary science”. Her
research is situated in the elementary science classroom.
Their theses can be found in the National
Institute of Education library.
With effect 1 July 2013, Jen joined another research team in
the Learning Sciences and Technologies Group. Her expertise in statistical
analysis was sought after. However, Jen remains as a valued and active adjunct
member in this research group and we continue to work with her in data analysis
In the coming months….
- Fred, TJ and Poh Hiang will be presenting papers and posters at the 10th
European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) in September. They will
be spending a week in Nicosia, Cyprus interacting with members of the
international science education community.
- Fred and Aik Ling will be presenting a poster of our research findings at OER
celebrates! on October 8, 2013. This is to commemorate 10 years of the birth of
the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice.
Look out for the next update in October 2013!
Ms Tan Poh Hiang
Hiang is a teaching fellow at the National Institute of Education. She is
attached to the Natural Sciences and Science Education academic group. She has
vast experiences with assessment issues in Singapore after having served as an
assessment officer with the Singapore Examination and Assessment Board. Her
current research is focused on formative assessment in elementary science
classrooms. She is working on her thesis entitled “Primary science teachers’
beliefs and enactment of formative assessment during science inquiry”.
Mr Tan Hong Kim
Kim is a teaching fellow at the National Institute of Education. He is attached
to the Natural Sciences and Science Education academic group. He served as a
curriculum specialist at the Ministry of Education for many years and hence is
experienced with curriculum issues in Singapore. His current research focus is
on understanding the learning environment which is conducive for productive
biology laboratory learning. His thesis title is “Students’ learning outcomes
in biology: Effects of the laboratory learning environment”.
Mr Frederick Talaue
is a research associate with the research group. He was a biology teacher at a
STEM high school in the Philippines for many years and hence has rich knowledge
of teachers and classrooms. His research interest lies in teachers’ ideas,
beliefs, identity and practices. His thesis is entitled “Primary teachers’
discursive identities in the enactment of an inquiry-based science curriculum”.
research group is currently working on establishing research collaborations
with other research groups that are interested in establishing the knowledge
base of how teachers’ ideas and beliefs are connected to their professional
decision making and their eventual practices in science classrooms and
2012, our consultants, Prof Ken Tobin and Prof Barbara Crawford visited us and
we had some discussions about future direction for our research. (Right: Visit by Prof Crawford)
last three years, our research has been supported by grants from (1) Office of Education Research (OER) at
the National Institute of Education and (2) the Singapore Millennium Foundation (SMF). The specific area of
research supported by the OER grant focuses on teachers’ ideas and beliefs in
science teaching and learning while the SMF grant supports research in creating
conducive science learning spaces and appropriate assessment modes to support
students’ learning. Both grants have a component that focuses on students’
ideas about their science learning experiences.
Below is a selection of the publications from the research group.
We hope that you will find them useful.
Publications relating to teachers’ beliefs
- Kim, M., Tan, A.-L*., & Talaue, F.
(2013). New vision and challenges in inquiry-based curriculum change in
Singapore. International Journal of Science Education, 35(2), 289-311. DOI:10.1080/09500693.2011.636844
- Poon, C. L., Lee, Y.
J., Tan, A. L., & Lim, S. S. L.
(2012). Knowing inquiry as practice and theory: Developing a pedagogical
framework with elementary school teachers. Research in Science Education, 42(2),
- Tan, A.-L., & Wong, H.-M.
(2012). "Didn't get expected answer, rectify it.": Teaching science
content in an elementary science classroom using hands-on activities". International
Journal of Science Education, 34(2), 197-222.
- Kim, M., & Tan, A.-L. (2011). Rethinking
difficulties of teaching inquiry-based practical work: stories from elementary
pre-service teachers. International Journal of Science Education, 33(4),
- Tan, A.-L., Tan, S.-C., &
Wettasinghe, M. (2011). Learning to be a science teacher: Reflections and
lessons from video-based instruction. Australasian Journal of Educational
Technology, 27(3), 446-462.
- Towndrow, P. A., Tan, A. L.*, Yung, B. H. W., &
Cohen, L. (2010). Science teachers' professional development and changes in
science practical assessment practices: What are the issues? Research in
Science Education, 40(2), 117-132.
- Tan, A. L., & Tan, S. C.
(2008). Authority and transmission versus knowledge building: Dilemma in
learning science. In Lee, Y. J., & Tan, A. L. (Eds.), Science education
at the nexus of theory and practice (pp. 239-251). Rotterdam: Sense
- Tan, A. L., & Towndrow, P.
A. (2008). A mainstream science teacher's perspective on teaching a student
with a physical disability. In Wright, S., Cohen, L., & Poon, K. (Eds.), Special
education: Perspectives and practice (pp. 198-208). Singapore: Prentice
Publications relating to science learning spaces and assessment
Tan, A.-L., Kim, M., & Talaue,
F. (2012). Grappling with issues of learning science from everyday experiences:
An illustrative case. The Journal of
Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Exploration, in press, in press.
Poon, C. L., Toh, F.
M., & Tan, A.-L.* (2010). Bees
in the news: Connecting classroom science to real-life issues. Science
Scope, 33(9), 64-67.
Poon, C.-L., Tan, D.,
& Tan, A.-L.* (2009). Classroom
management and inquiry-based learning: Finding the balance. Science Scope,
Tan, A.-L., & Towndrow, P.
(2009). Catalyzing student-teacher interactions and teaching learning in
science practical formative assessment using digital video technology. Teaching
and Teacher Education, 25, 61-67.
Tan, A. L. (2008). Tension in the
biology laboratory: What are they?. International Journal of Science
Education, 30(12), 1661-1676.
Towndrow, P. A., Tan, A. L., & Venthan, A. M. (2008).
Promoting inquiry through science reflective journal writing. Eurasia
Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 4(3), 279-283.
Tan, A. L., & Wong, S.
(2007). Did the beanstalk really reach the sky? Using fairy tales to teach
science. Science Scope, 31(1), 72-74.
Osborne, M., Tan, A. L., & Kwek, B. K. (2006).
The mechanics of teaching: Weaving in primary one. In W. Bokhorst-Heng, M.
Osborne, & K. Lee (Eds.), Redesigning Pedagogies: Reflections on theory
and praxis (pp. 159-174). Rotterdam: Sense Publisher.
Publications relating to students ideas
- Tan, P. H., & Tan, A. L. (2011). Assessing students'
learning of primary science in the multicultural context of Singapore:
Considerations influencing task selection for formative assessment. In
International Association for Educational Assessment (Ed.) Proceedings of
37th international conference of International Association of Educational
Assessment (pp. 1-10). Manila, Philippines: IAEA.
- Ismail, M., & Tan, A. L. (2006). Snapshots from the
normal technical world: An ethnographic study of low-track students in
Singapore. In W. Bokhorst-Heng, M. Osborne, & K. Lee (Eds.), Redesigning
Pedagogies: Reflections on theory and praxis (pp. 73-88). Rotterdam: Sense
- Tan, A. L., & Soong, L.
(2006). The language of science: Alternative lenses to examining the learning
of science. In W. Bokhorst-Heng, M. Osborne, & K. Lee (Eds.), Redesigning
Pedagogies: Reflections on theory and praxis. (pp. 261-270). Rotterdam:
Resources for teachers
the primary objectives of our research is to work with teachers in partnership
to improve science teaching and learning in schools. We believe that a positive
experience with science in school will motivate the students to remain
enthusiastic about all aspects of science in their everyday lives. This is to
ensure a population that can engage in critical scientific debates in their
decision making as global citizens. As
such, we work together with teachers to share best practices and resources so
that more can benefit from the findings of our research. We welcome teachers
who are interested in our research to be attached to our research group.
you have any queries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank