Archive 2008-9.

PALAVA 13th June - our Annual Conference

Links to UK History and Philosophy in Science Teaching web site

This will be held in the Institute of Education, Reading University. Directions to the Bulmershe campus Reading University directions
Downloadable maps are on this page You need the Bulmershe Court map. Please note that you should park in Entrance 3 on Woodlands Avenue. The postcode is RG6 1HY for those using SatNav. We are not on the Whiteknights site!!! In case of emergency or getting lost, my mobile is 07888738595

We will be meeting in Room B210 (signs will be posted), top floor in the building at Entrance 3.

Please advertise this meeting. It is free after all (to ASE and RSC members) and includes lunch and refreshments.
Projected programme - this may change a little even late in the day.

0900 Arrive and register
0930 European History and Philosophy of Science Project: John Oversby
1000 What is revision? An action research project: Penny Robotham
1030 Break
1050 YouTube and YouInTheClassroom. A development and Action Research Programme: Sean Moore and Miranda Creed-Miles
1120 Changing teachers attitudes: An Action Research Project: Ginny Kearton
1150 Quality in Science Education What have we been doing in PALAVA - a reflection: Mary Brennan and Dave Mayo
1235 Lunch - a snack lunch sponsored by ASE and RSC
1315 Exploring thinking about chemical processes: Rob Toplis and John Oversby
1345 Tea and coffee and informal discussions

PALAVA 16th May

Our next PALAVA meeting to work more on the Petty Book and finalise plans for 13th June. We meet at 10 at the Institute of Education, Reading University! Lunch afterwards? My telephone, as always, is 07888738595.

PALAVA 21st March.

We will continue our thinking about Petty's book Chapter 22 in Section 7, and the section on School Improvements.
We are planning a whole day conference on 13th June, largely around Action Research in science education. 21st March will include some report of planning for this.

PALAVA 31st January

We meet at 10 am. We will begin with a discussion of Petty Chapter 22. After a brief consultation over the ASE Conference, I would like to launch into carrying out Action Research (as opposed to quasi- experimental research). Quasi-experimental research is the kind of 'scientific' educational research where parallel groups are taught by the new and traditional methods, with a valid and reliable pre- and post-test, to show numbers that demonstrate improvement. the work quoted by Petty is of this kind. When we have discussed Action research, we can add our statement of what it is here.

Scholarly Reading
Wikipedia - Action Research
Wikipedia Participatory Action Research
Abstract - journal article by Karen Goodnough on Action Research
Abstract: Educational Action Research, Volume 11, Number 1, March 2003 , pp. 41-64(24): Karen Goodnough
In this qualitative case study, the author engages in critical selfreflection about her role as a researcher/facilitator of an action research group that explored multiple intelligences (MI) theory (Gardner, 1983) in the context of science education. Her multi-faceted role within the action research group and the nature of the research in terms of the orientation, purpose, and type of reflection are described. Through the process of reflective practice, both as the study was ongoing and after the completion, the author enhanced her understanding of the action research process and how to foster collaborative inquiry within the context of an action research group. In addition, the article reports on how MI theory was applied to classroom practice, the nature of collaboration that emerged and the perceptions of the teacher participants about the efficacy of action research as a form of teacher development.
US links to Action Research resources in science education
Teacher research
ERIC: Science Education Action Research
Action research: a designerly mode of enquiry: Eddie Norman
Front page of journal: Action Research

Centre for Collaborative Action Research
Action Research Resource Links

Extra PALAVA meeting below (17th January)

Dear all
I am sorry about the short notice for this but I hope you can respond.
I am arranging seminars given by two Australian colleagues on Saturday 17th
January, 10 - 12 at the Institute of Education at Reading University
(postal address RG6 1HY for travel directions). Further details as they
become available will be on our teacher researcher web site at My phone number for more information, especially
on the day, is 07888738595. We will be in room B210 at the Institute in
Woodlands Avenue. Parking is available at Entrance 3, which is clearly
Dr Robin Groves will speak about 'Moral Dispositions in Science Education'.
Robin is a Senior Lecturer in Science Education at Curtin University in
Perth, Western Australia, and was Chief Executive of the Australian Science
Teachers' Association for a number of years.
Elaine Horne will speak about Curriculum Development in Western Australia.
She is Science Curriculum Officer for Western Australia.
Robin and Elaine organised the very successful World Science Education
Conference held in Perth in 2007. They are both active at the international
level, recently speaking at the ASE Reading Conference.
I would be grateful if you would pass on this invitation to suitable
contacts, not least PGCE/GTP Beginning Teachers, Masters and Doctoral
students,local teachers and colleagues.

The Autumn meetings are provisionally planned for 31st January, 21st March, 16th May, 13th June, September 27, November 8, December 13 at The Institute of Education, University of Reading. The session lasts from 10-12.

The next session on 31st January will focus on Petty Chapter 21, the outcomes of the ASE Conference, and the nature and demands of subject matter knowledge.

Refreshments are free. Contact John on 07888738595 if you intend to come.

PALAVA at ASE Reading

Two PALAVA sessions will take place at the National ASE Conference in Reading, 8-10 January. What great reasons for attending the Conference. In addition, Friday and Saturday at the conference will be taken up with the ASE BERA SIG Science Education Research mini-conference.
10 January at 0930: Sean Moore and Miranda Creed-Miles on a YouTube database for science teaching, and David Mayo on Cognitive Dissonance
10 January at 1400: Ginny Kearton, Penny Robotham and Sheelagh Bowker, all Senior Science Teachers in their schools, on aspects of recording science learning

December 13th Report

Four of us gathered, again on a wet and squally day. It was also graduation day so some regular attendees were busy preparing for that in the afternoon.
We began with an update on John's European HIPST project. This will be live in January so all will then be revealed.
We focused on Marzano's method of assessing effective practice from research. Unlike Hattie, Marzano only looked at those areas that teachers could control, instructional strategies, so there was much less in his database. Nevertheless, there were many positive outcomes that we can recommend teachers to look at.

The next meeting is on 31st January at Bulmershe, when we will look at Petty Chapter 21, and the nature and demands of subject matter knowledge.

The seminars for invited International Guests will be added to this page when arranged.

wikis in the classroom

November 8th Report

On a wet and squally day, 12 of us met for the second PALAVA meeting of the academic year. We continue to have one or two new people every meeting. Three of the group were present Beginning Teachers on the PGCE Science course at reading, and two were NQTs. Two colleagues from universities joined in with the largest group being teachers, many of them leaders in their own schools. As always, the variety of opinions expressed mirrored the variety of experiences, coherent, articulate and ranging from based solidly in school-based work to rather theoretical contributions. It is this rich range of input that the PALAVA team values so much. We began with John providing a copy of an article about designing a teaching experience from research findings, both subject matter knowledge and pedagogical (external image pdf.png Dortmund An exploration of the student teachers.pdf).

The main part of the session was devoted to a discussion of Chapter 's 4 and 5 of Petty's book (see below). Chapter 4 explained how Petty had used Hattie's work Hattie's web site and paper to provide Effect Size, a fair way of comparing a variety of science education research findings to take a mean (a metastudy). We pointed out that this only related to quantitative quasi-experimental methods, and that we did not know the range of effect sizes in the studies. Nevertheless, the effect sizes provided food for a lot of thought, some controversial, especially the work on class sizes and setting by ability. The purposes of the study in the PALAVA group were to inform ourselves about this research, and to critically question the research data. In this sense it was very successful. Whether we came to any conclusions I am not so sure!

A small group of us adjourned to a delightful pub for lunch, overlooked by a part of Japanese tourists!

The next meeting will be on December 13th, at the earlier time of 0930 to allow those graduating in the afternoon to attend that ceremony.

In January, we expect lots of international visitors, with details of seminars on this page. Also, some PALAVA members are presenting at ASE in Reading on January 10th at 0930 and 1400.

John Oversby: Convenor

At the next session on December 13th (at 0930), we will

  • discuss Chapter 6 of Evidence based teaching by Geoff Petty (Nelson-Thornes, 2006: ISBN 0748795944)
  • arrange writing workshops for a PALAVA publication
  • hear about project developments
  • arrange seminars for visiting International colleagues
  • arrange to meet at ASE
  • modify our programme in the light of our interests, etc.

At the next session on November 8th, we will

  • discuss Chapters 4 and 5 of Evidence based teaching by Geoff Petty (Nelson-Thornes, 2006: ISBN 0748795944)
  • discuss Action Research programmes as a way of taking up initial research programmes for teachers
  • actions to support writing
  • arrange the PALAVA sessions for the Annual ASE Conference

Some of the current topics under discussion include:

  • Peer Assessment
  • Impact of ICT in science
  • Science revision - what is it in practice?
  • What are the roles of science textbooks and revision guides
  • Self-regulation of learning
  • Chemical explanations
  • Cognitive dissonance

Initial findings were presented at the ASE South East Area Science and CPD conference in June 2008