of Reading (UOR)
University of Reading
is ranked as one of the UK's
10 most research-intensive universities and as one of the top 200 universities
in the world. It is home to several centres of excellence and conduct
world-class research across a broad range of disciplines. The university is
involved with four national Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and
pursues an ambitious and innovative enterprise agenda.
The Institute of
Education is a major provider of
teachers nationally and regionally, with Secondary, Primary, and Graduate
Teacher Programmes. There is a strong Continuing Professional Development
Programme, innovative programmes at undergraduate level and a large cohort of PhD
students. Areas of research strength include among others school improvement
and historical and comparative aspects of education and science education.
Dr John Oversby is a
lecturer in science education at the University
of Reading in the UK. A major area of his work has
been in the field of chemical modelling in secondary schools. His background
includes extensive work as a teacher in schools. In 2005, he was elected Chair
of the ASE Research Group, charged with promoting science education research among
the membership and in supporting teachers in engaging with research. He is
involved in the history and philosophy of chemistry (chemical word equations,
ideas about acidity, links between models, theory, data and phenomena). More
recently, he has been convenor of the PALAVA teacher-researcher group of
teachers and education tutors at the
of Reading. The aim of
the voluntary group is to engage teachers with research and practice in
chemical modelling. The PALAVA group has engaged in action research across
science, with some evidence of the influence in
secondary school classrooms. 24 Best Practice Research Scholarships from the UK
Department of Education were received by teacher members, under his mentorship.
The topics included chemical equations, models of sound and ecology, the place
of exercise books in recording learning, and models of biological cells. Apart
from the reports on the government web site, the teachers presented their
research work at an annual PALAVA conference, and at ASE and other conferences.
In their presentations, they included the effect on their teaching, using
materials from their research projects on which they worked with their mentor.
John Oversby has made arrangements yet to work with The Museum of English Rural
Life in Reading
as a context to train science teachers about working in museums. This will
start next year.