Invited Speech

Jonte C. Taylor

Pennsylvania State University, USA

JONTE TAYLOR, Ph.D., is an associate professor in Special Education at Penn State University. His work focuses on STEAM education for students with disabilities and improving schoolwide and classroom climates for students, parents, and teachers. His recent publications include meta-analytic works on science instruction for students with developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is currently the president of Science Education for Students with Disabilities (SESD; www.sesdinfo.org) and on leadership teams for the National Science Teaching Association, the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders, and the Council for Exceptional Children. His work has included publishing numerous peer reviewed articles and book chapters, and developing courses and professional development materials for teachers interested in science learning for students with special needs.

Keynote summary : Making Science Accessible for All Students: Considerations and Strategies for Students with Special Needs. Social interest and attention on science instruction has led to studies and legislation supporting the need for a science-literate society (Spooner et al., 2011a, 2011b). Science instruction has become a priority in education for all students especially students with special needs (Schweingruber, Keller, & Quinn, 2012). The inclusion of students with special needs (i.e., learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual disabilities) is important for multiple reasons. Science instruction provides a means for developing skills needed for individuals to demonstrate increased responsibility (Browder et al., 2007). Science instruction also helps create careful consumers of scientific information related to our everyday lives. Developing a student’s science literacy, equips students with the background knowledge and skills to use caution as consumers of scientific information in a global society. Based on the available research syntheses on science instruction for students with special needs (i.e., Therrien, Taylor, Hosp, Kaldenberg, & Gorsh, 2011; Therrien, Taylor, Watt, & Kaldenberg, 2014; Rizzo & Taylor, 2018; Taylor, Rizzo, Hwang, & Hill, 2020; Taylor, Hwang, Rizzo, & Hill, 2020). These studies are essential for bridging the gap for general education science teachers and using evidence-based strategies that work for students with special needs. Unfortunately, the intersection of working with students with special needs and teaching and learning science is rarely sufficiently broached. In fact, special education teachers are ill prepared to teach science and science teachers are ill prepared to work with students with disabilities (Irving, Nti, & Johnson, 2007; Norman, Caseau, & Stefanich, 1998). Further, Kahn and Lewis (2014) report that science educators feel as if they learn to work with students with disabilities via “on the job training”. Using the information gleaned from research studies, this session will provide attendees with effective strategies for teaching science for students with special needs. Along with strategies, attendees will be guided through additional considerations (e.g., strength-based teaching and assessment) that may be needed to support students with special needs in science learning and science classrooms.

Jennifer Adams

University of Calgary, Canada

Jennifer D. Adams is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair of Creativity and Science and Associate Professor at The University of Calgary where she holds a dual appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Werklund School of Education. Her research focuses on the intersection between creativity and science teaching and learning in postsecondary contexts; more specifically advancing diversity in science in Canada and the US contributing to scientific creativity and innovation. She has scholarly expertise in science teaching and learning in informal science contexts including museums, National Parks and everyday setting. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Early CAREER award to study informal learning contexts and formal/informal collaborations for STEM teacher education. Her research portfolio also includes youth learning and identity in informal science contexts, with a focus on underrepresented youth and place/identity in transnational communities and environmental education. Her work emphasizes critical and sociocultural frameworks and participatory, qualitative, poststructural approaches. Prior to her appointment at the University of Calgary, she was at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She has also worked as teacher and researcher in NYC public schools and the American Museum of Natural History. Outside of the academy she is a runner and triathlete and has a background in dance and visual art.

Keynote summary : Designing Frameworks for Authentic Equity in Science Teaching and Learning: Informal Learning Environments and Teacher Education for STEM In order to advance equity in science education, it is salient to have research approaches that produce frameworks that allow educators and researchers to design learning environments, activities and research agendas that consider contextual strengths and needs. This article will describe a research project that focused on a project that examined science teacher identity in relation to informal science learning. The project studied a group of new teachers who experienced teacher education in courses that emphasized informal science learning; learning that happens in museums, zoos, botanical gardens and place-based, out of school contexts. I will discuss the collaborative research process and findings that have important implications for equity in science education. The discussion will also include the presentation of an emerging framework for teacher education and teaching that considers the various aspects of designing equitable and liberatory science learning environments in ways that center critical awareness and socially just science teaching and learning.

Sungmin Im

Daegu University, South Korea


SUNGMIN IM, Ph.D. is a professor in Physics Education at Daegu University, South Korea. His main interests are using qualitative research and sociocultural theories to improve physics teacher education. He is especially interested in addressing equity issues in science education for the disadvantaged including special educational needs students. Recently his works is extended into making science learning more inclusive in informal learning environments. Sungmin had led the Initiative for Special Educational Needs and Science Education, a university-level interdisciplinary project funded by Ministry of Education, to cultivate human resources in inclusive educational settings. Also, he has been leading Science Fair of Hope, an annual science fair with special educational needs and preservice teachers since 2006, as a director of Science Education Research Institute at Daegu University. He has worked as a PI and co-PI in many governmental projects on STEAM education and educational policy for minorities in school science. His research works were awarded by Daegu University, The Korean Physical Society, The Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies.

Keynote summary : Making Science More Inclusive: Lessons from Science Fair of Hope ‘Science for all’ is undoubtedly regarded as an orientation of mordern science education, but many would argue over how this could be implemented in practice of science teaching and learning. It is often confused with science for the public, normal or majority. However, the concept of ‘all’ should include ‘everyone’ including any kind of minority group (Im & Martin, 2014). The practice of science for all should include students with disabilities, accordingly it should meet their special educational needs (SEN). In South Korea, although it is still deficient, researches on science teaching for SEN students are increasing in number since a decade ago (Nam, Rhee, Im, 2017). In 2005 some science education researchers organized Special Science Education Research Group, which evolved into the Special Science Education Division of Korean Association for Science Education, and have explored how to practice science education for SEN effectively both in practice and theory. Science Fair of Hope, which has been organized by Science Education Research Institute at Daegu University since 2006, is an example of such exploration. It is an annual science fair designed for SEN students from local special schools or inclusive classrooms, where the students are invited to university campus and join science activities prepared by preservice teachers from science and special education. The fair consists of indoor performance such as science drama and magic show and outdoor program with various hands-on experiments, so that SEN students can join and learn science in person. In this talk, the author will introduce more details of the Fair and share the lessons of making science more inclusive which he came to learn from last 15 years’ experience. Especially, the author will show a case of online fair newly tried in 2020, and discuss the possibility of online communication to include SEN students in science in this pandemic age.

Alberto Bellocchi

Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Alberto Bellocchi is a tenured researcher and academic at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Over the last decade, his research programme has addressed the role of emotions and social bonds in learning and teaching science. A distinctive multi-method and multi-theoretical approach grounds his inquiry, which focuses on classroom interactions in university and school science settings. His recently completed research fellowship reveals understandings about the interplay between emotions, social bonds, and knowledge construction in school science. Alberto leads the Studies of Emotion and Affect in Education Laboratory, a team of enthusiastic researchers who are leaving no stones unturned in the quest for knowledge about social bonds and emotions in learning and teaching. This programme of research spans different countries including Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, and the US. Alberto’s collaborations extend to the fields of science education, engineering education, and the sociology of emotions. He is the lead co-editor of Exploring emotions, aesthetics and wellbeing in science education research, a collection by Springer, and co-editor of Emotions in late modernity, a collection of multi-disciplinary perspectives published by Routledge. Alberto serves on the Journal of Research in Science Teaching editorial board, and he is a lead editor for Cultural Studies of Science Education.

Keynote summary : What do we know about preservice and inservice science teachers’ emotions? Emotions research in science education has burgeoned in the last 15 years. It is timely to take stock of the knowledge we have produced and what more we can learn by pursing this promising and productive field of research. Due to the upswell in studies of the emotions in science education broadly, I focus on research relating to preservice and inservice science teachers. Many countries continue to face science teacher shortages and despite years of reform and research, the low supply persists. When coupled with pernicious issues like teacher wastage in the early years and later in the career, there is clearly a missing piece in the puzzle of our understanding. Given that the emotions are central to engagement and burnout, perhaps a clearer picture will emerge once this body of work reaches a critical mass.


Ching-Ting Hsin

National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

Dr. Ching-Ting Hsin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education in Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. She has accumulated experiences for more than twenty years from both academia and classrooms. She was a preschool and kindergarten teacher both in Taiwan and in the U.S. She has worked with indigenous communities to improve young children’s literacy in Chinese, indigenous language, as well as science and engineering practices. She developed and implemented culturally relevant phonological curricula for young indigenous children, emphasizing their development of literacy and ethnic identity. She also developed early STEM curriculum modules to improve indigenous and mainstream children’s science and engineering practices. Recently, adapting indigenous knowledge and epistemologies, she developed caption books to improve children’s literacy in Atayal language.

Dr. Hsin is concerned about issues related to children of diverse backgrounds (i.e., indigenous and new-immigrant children), hoping that more educational resources will be invested in the underrepresented communities to achieve the goal of educational equity. She has published articles in quality peer-reviewed journals. She received Young Scholar Research Grant Award from Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan. She also received research awards for years from her University. Her research interests include early STEM education, sociocultural approaches to literacies, multicultural education, and qualitative research methods.

Keynote summary : Implementing a project-based STEM module in urban and indigenous areas to promote young children’s science practices Research has been rarely conducted to foster young children’s science practices. Particularity, little attention has been paid to project-based curricula. Also, more educational resources for children in rural areas are needed. The purpose of this study thus is twofold: to develop a project-based early STEM module and to examine after implementation, the improvement of science practices of young children with different cultural backgrounds. Integrating science practices from Next Generation Science Standers in U.S., ECEC Curriculum framework in Taiwan, and research on science practices of young children, a framework of sciences practices for children aging 4 to 6 was established and used as the learning objectives of the curriculum module and to develop the assessment. Also, theories of project-based science and project approach were incorporated to design the module. The topic of the module is Spinning Tops, guiding by five investigation questions and composed of 17 lessons. Each lesson lasted about 40 minutes The teachers spent around two months completing the project. Six classes and seven teachers from five kindergartens participated with two in urban and four in indigenous areas in Northern Taiwan. 98 participating children with 46 boys and 52 girls; 53 in cities and 45 in ingenious villages. Their average age was 5 years and 7 months. The ethnicity of these children consisted of 51 mainstream, 40 indigenous, and 7 new-immigrant children. The children took a performance-based assessment before and after the module. The assessment focused on six sub-practices that were frequently performed in the module: making a plan, making systematic observations, employing equipment and tools, measuring, doing an experiment, and sharing. Three researchers reviewed the items to increase face validity. Established on 40 cases, the intercoder reliability was adequate (Kendall’s W= .92). The internal consistency was good (Cronbach’s alpha = .84). To examine whether children improved their science practices after taking the module curriculum, paired sample t-tests were used to compare the differences between pretests and posttests for all participating children, 4 year-olds, and 5-year-olds. To examine children from which area and of which age group had better performances, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was applied. This study found that the children improved in every sub-practice and overall sciences practices after taking the module. In terms of how the children living in different areas performed after taking the module, the children living in the urban areas and indigenous areas had better scores in every sub-practice and overall practices. Regarding how children of different age groups performed after taking the module, the 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds improved their sub-practices and overall practices. The ANCOVA revealed that children living in urban and indigenous areas had similar improvement in most and overall science practices, excepting that the urban children improved more in doing an experiment. Also, children of both age groups had similar improvement in most and overall science practices, excepting that the 4-year-old improved more in measuring. The results suggest that this project-based curriculum could improve young children’s science practices and support learning of children with different cultural backgrounds.

Tang Wee Teo

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Tang Wee Teo is an Associate Professor in the Natural Sciences and Science Education (Academic Group), National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is also the Co-Head of the Multi-centric Education, Research and Industry STEM Centre at NIE (meriSTEM@NIE). She graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 2011. Prior to her doctoral studies, she was a chemistry teacher in a high school and a specialised STEM school for gifted mathematics and science students. An equity scholar in STEM education, her research focuses on issues of inclusivity in classrooms with under achievers and students with special education needs. She also studies gender issues in STEM education. She is an editorial board member of Asian Women and an Associate Editor of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Science Education and Pedagogies: Am International Journal.

Keynote summary : Singapore Science Teachers’ Perception and Practices in Inclusive Science Classrooms According to the Achieving Inclusion in Education by the Disabled People’s Association, “Inclusive education is based on the premise that all individuals with disabilities have a right to education, without discrimination or exclusion. It is an educational approach and philosophy that looks into how education systems can be modified or improved to respond to the diversity of learner.” I argue that in order for the goals of inclusive education to be achieved, education systems need quality teachers with positive attitudes toward all students. Needless to say, teachers need to be well supported in order to deliver quality lessons that address the diverse needs of students. Since children spend significant amount of time in school, teachers are key to the successful outcomes and outputs of inclusive education systems. It has always been challenging for primary school teachers to teach science due to several reasons. One reason is that most primary school teachers are trained as generalists and may not have in-depth disciplinary knowledge of science. Further, science is difficult to teach and to learn because science text is complex. Students learn better with prior and relatable personal experiences to science. However, children at a young age have more limited life experiences as compared to adults. As such, science concepts and ideas are oftentimes very abstract to children. When these complexities of science are layered on individual learning difficulties, science teachers find it challenging to teach in inclusive science classrooms. It has been well-established in the literature that the views of science teachers will impact the way they enact their practices in the classrooms. However, relatively few of the existing studies have examined science teachers in inclusive classrooms. In Singapore, primary education from Grades 1 to 6 are compulsory for all Singaporeans and the education system is inclusive. In my study I examined three constructs, namely, the Singapore primary science teachers’: (a) views about their students with special education needs (SEN) (Construct A), (b) self-efficacy views in teaching students with SEN (Construct B), and (c) their practices in the inclusive science classrooms (Construct C). These constructs were identified from a literature scan of all studies with a focus on teachers and SEN. While most general SEN literature have surveyed teachers’ views about inclusion, it was not studied here as inclusion is an education policy in Singapore. Suitable items for each construct were identified and two rounds of qualitative validation were conducted to ensure construct and content validities were achieved before the implementation of the online teacher survey. From on the Rasch analysis of 108 primary science teachers’ responses, the findings revealed nuanced insights into the positive views they had about their students with SEN. While the teachers felt stressed and inadequate when teaching alone in inclusive classrooms, and wished for more school support, they did not want to undergo teacher professional development in inclusive teaching. This study had contributed to the literature by offering insights gleaned from the first study about Singapore science teachers and SEN. It also offered a validated instrument for future survey studies.

Tali Tal

Israel Insitute of Technology, Israel

Dr. Tali Tal is a professor of science and environmental education at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Her background as a naturalist and outdoor and environmental educator and as a science teacher directs her research, which is focused on bridging formal and informal learning environments, identifying and assessing multiple learning outcomes of learning in informal learning environments and on teacher education that aims at helping teachers integrate informal learning environments. More recently – she studies citizen science that encapsulates the advantages of learning authentic science, in collaboration with scientists, environmental organizations and communities. Dr. Tal is one of five PIs, of the Taking Citizen Science to School research center, of the Technion and the University of Haifa, funded by the Israel Science Foundation and the Ministry of Education. Throughout her career, she has published about 100 research papers, book chapters and research reports. Dr. Tal is the Immediate Past President of NARST and the Dean of the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology of the Technion.

Keynote summary : Citizen Science: Science Education for Responsible Citizenship “As the world becomes more inter-connected and competitive and as research and technological know-how expands, new opportunities along with more complex societal challenges arise. Overcoming these challenges will require all citizens to have a better understanding of science and technology if they are to participate actively and responsibly in science-informed decision-making and knowledge-based innovation. It will involve input from user groups, specialists and stakeholder groups. Professionals, enterprise and industry have an important role to play. In this way, everybody learns and benefits from the involvement… Science education research, innovation and practices must become more responsive to the needs and ambitions of society and reflect its values. They should reflect the science that citizens and society need and support people of all ages and talents in developing positive attitudes to science.” (EU, 2015, p. 6). Taking this important challenge set by the European Union in its Science Education for Responsible Citizenship report, we, at the Taking Citizen Science to School (TCSS) center, suggest an innovative approach to bring together scientists, schools, teachers, students, community members and stakeholders and offer a Research-Practice Partnership that creates a complex ecosystem of science learning. Research on students’ participation in citizen science (CS) projects shows an increase in knowledge and an intensified understanding of the scientific research process. These outcomes are encouraging but evidence is sparse and most projects primarily address the goals the scientists with minimal benefit to citizens or education (Sagy et al., 2020). Sagy et al. (2019) conceptualize CS and its myriad stakeholders as an ecology in which all parties should benefit from their involvement. They proposed the “Mutualistic Ecology of Citizen Science” (MECS) framework for school-based learning around CS projects benefiting all participants. I will examine one project carried out in TCSS that demonstrates this MECS, in which a teacher, her students, few scientists and community members collaborated to stop a construction project that threatened a vulnerable population of rare plants. Using data from other TCSS projects I intend to illustrate that the TCSS approach opens up new learning opportunities, as well as challenges for students, education-practitioners and scientists. Students express interest and engagement with what they view as a different and inspiring way to learn. But they also report on extra effort and responsibility that not all students value. School-practitioners’ learning indicate impressive professional growth and enthusiasm for those who took up the challenge (Kali, Sagy, Benichou, Atias & Levin-Peled, 2019). However, the pedagogical and organizational transformations required posed many difficulties. Scientists have also struggle with difficulties, especially with school requests for frequent visits to guide students through data collection protocols. CS in general, and TCSS in particular, is a promising direction with the potential to realize the notion of MECS. Fulfilling this potential requires adopting more citizenship-oriented goals for science education by the education system, for helping all citizens acquire the necessary knowledge of and about science to participate actively and responsibly in, with and for society, successfully throughout their lives.

Christina Siry

University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Christina Siry is Professor of Learning and Instruction and head of the Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Luxembourg. As a former elementary school teacher, she is interested in primary school science education and the related area of teacher education for science. Grounded in critical theories, she seeks to highlight the complex ways in which young children engage in science, with a goal of drawing implications for teacher education. Her work with teachers is anchored in the SciTeach Center, a resource center for pre- and in-service teachers dedicated to the teaching of science at the primary levels, and housed at the University of Luxembourg (https://sciteach.uni.lu/en/homepage/). She is the co-editor of the journal Cultural Studies in Science Education, and her work has been published in numerous edited books as well as in international journals, including Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Research in Science Education, Science Education.

Keynote summary : Working towards equity in teaching science with linguistically-diverse primary school children This presentation explores the role of dialogic, open-ended pedagogies as inclusive approaches to science education at the early childhood and elementary levels, in particular as critical for working with linguistically diverse students. I look across several studies conducted within my research team in the multilingual context of Luxembourg to weave together understandings gleaned from research that examined plurilingual students’ interactions in science, with a goal of presenting dialogic approaches to science education as central to working towards equitable practices. The main focus is to discuss how dialogic pedagogical approaches and multimodal methodologies come together to both deepen and broaden what we are learning about the nuances of science education. By layering together claims from previous studies that utilized multimodal methodologies to examine children’s interactions while participating in science, assertions and implications are drawn for science education in diverse contexts, both in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The goal of this presentation is to provide context for understanding the multimodal ways in which young children engage in science, by elaborating the ways in which dialogic approaches can mediate young children’s engagement in science in ways that are not linguistically bound and that shine light on the many resources young children bring to science education. I elaborate the methodologies that have guided our examinations of students’ and teachers’ interactions and explore how the methodologies used in research can highlight resources that linguistically diverse students bring to the classroom and how dialogic science education pedagogies can position children to build upon these resources as they participate in science. In doing so, I seek to make the argument that highlighting, valuing, and building upon students’ diverse resources is an inclusive approach for science education that can mediate working towards equitable classroom practices, in particular in highly diverse contexts.

Anna T. Danielsson

Uppsala University, Sweden

Anna T. Danielsson is Professor in Curriculum Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research interests are centred around issues related to gender, identity and power in the context of teaching and learning science and technology. She holds a PhD in physics specialising in physics education research from Uppsala University (2009). After a two year postdoc at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, she in 2012 returned to Uppsala University to take up a position as senior lecturer at the Department of Education. During the academic year of 2016/17 she held a post as Reader in Science Education at King's College London. Danielsson has been affiliated with the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University, since 2007. She is currently PI of the project "The unlikely scientists" (2019-2021) funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Keynote summary : Perspectives on identity and gender in contemporary science education research Science education research is witnessing a growing interest in issues regarding the interplay between agency and structure in young people’s educational choices, achievements, and aspirations, including how different social categories (such as gender and social class) intersect with students’ experiences of the science disciplines. This growing interest can be seen as at least partly related to international concerns that STEM participation needs to be increased and widened. Across many national contexts, the physical sciences, in particular, are recruiting a narrow student demography, predominantly consisting of men from academic backgrounds. A notion that is used as a theoretical construct to approach issues regarding the interplay between agency and structure, but increasingly also to denote a field of research, is that of ‘science identities’ (see, for example, Avraamidou 2019). This field is, Avraamidou (2019) notes, theoretically and methodologically heterogeneous, but one point on which many contributing authors agree is that ‘the construct of science identity offers a contemporary, multidimensional, and valuable lens for exploring (non)participation in science’ (p. 324). Examining how individuals negotiate their identification with science, or not, offers a powerful way to study inclusion and exclusion from the discipline, which has been associated with and often remains dominated by a narrow social demographic. In a broad sense, this research is inspired by sociocultural theories of activity and identity, which posit that identity is co-produced with social, cultural and material activities. Currently, science identities work is gaining a lot of traction within the field of science education research and a science identities lens has proven to be a valuable tool in for understanding how various participants relate to science, and the consequences of this relationship for their choices, interests, and aspirations and participation. In this presentation I will give an overview of the field of science identities research, drawing on a recent research review (Danielsson et al. 2020). I will then zoom in on how studying gender in science education from a perspective of identity allows nuanced considerations of participation in science cultures, with examples from current research projects.