Research in Science Education (RISE) Symposium at ESERA
Current International Research Informing Australasian Science Education: How Can This Orient us for the Future?
Facilitator and Chair: Dr Donna King – Co-Editor In Chief

Discussant: Professor Peter Aubusson

The middle years (years 4-10) of schooling are important for forming positive student perceptions of science, but how teachers prepare these students for science in the 21st Century, what this future might look like, and how to measure the observed outcomes are still emerging areas of research internationally.

Three papers presented in this symposium focus on research that informs aspects of teaching and learning that affords better science outcomes for middle years students. The first paper shows that specific targeted teacher Professional Development that focuses on a community of inquiry is necessary for teachers to translate this to a classroom context and see improvements in students’ verbal inquiry behaviours. The second paper illuminates how students use a diverse range of linguistic resources to construct written scientific explanations highlighting the discrepancies between the students’ use of linguistic resources in their explanations and the instructional language used by teachers. This paper suggests that teachers need to reflect their expectations of students’ written explanations in their oral questioning more explicitly during instruction. The third paper shows the importance of teachers and schools for emphasising mastery goals for student motivation. The study highlights the connections between student autonomy, the nature of tasks and motivation for adolescents. The fourth paper provides a provocative argument suggesting that we need to reconceptualise the teaching of science for a future where “carbonised modernity” is ending and where human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment (i.e., the Anthropocene era). The paper explores possible “orientations to the future” that may impact on the changing nature of science education.

In conclusion, the suite of papers suggests that effective teacher preparation for inquiry-based science along with scaffolding linguistic expectations and emphasising mastery goals can contribute to an enriched science education. These findings will inform discussions about future directions.