John Leach's research while affiliated with University of Leeds and other places

Publications (52)

Article
This paper presents further findings from a study of young people's understanding of genetics towards the end of their compulsory science education. It focuses on the ability of these students to distinguish between genes and genetic information and the extent to which they are aware of the continuity of genetic information between cells within one...
Article
In this paper we consider the ways in which students' activities during project work are influenced by their images of science, e.g. their views about the purposes of science, the nature of scientific knowledge and the role of social processes in scientific activity. We also investigate the kinds of project activities which promote the development...
Article
There is evidence that science teachers give naive responses to direct questions about the nature of science. However, there is also evidence that such responses underpredict the more sophisticated knowledge that teachers may use in classroom situations. The purpose of this study was to characterize the informal ideas used by teachers in situations...
Article
European programs of design research have developed distinctive types of apparatus to structure and support the process of didactical design. This article illustrates how intermediate frameworks and design tools serve to mediate the contribution of grand theories to the design process, by coordinating and contextualizing theoretical insights on the...
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Full-text available
This paper is about the process of designing and evaluating teaching sequences. It presents a framework to inform the design and evaluation of science teaching (Ametller, Leach and Scott, 2007); the use of the framework is illustrated through discussion of examples. Three short teaching sequences (around 5 hours) are used to exemplify the use of th...
Article
A reader of Traianou and Hammersley’s article (in this issue), which discusses at some length the work we undertook in the Evidence‐based Practice in Science Education (EPSE) Research Network, might attribute to us views that are rather different from those which we in fact hold, and which we have sought to present in our own accounts of this work....
Article
The difficulty of using insights from educational research and scholarship to inform the design of subject teaching is widely acknowledged. In this article, we present an example of the design of a short science teaching intervention to illustrate one approach to using insights from research to inform the design of teaching. After outlining the gen...
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This cross-sectional study identifies key conceptual difficulties experienced by upper secondary school and pre-service chemistry teachers (N = 191) in the area of reaction rates. Students' ideas about reaction rates were elicited through a series of written tasks and individual interviews. In this paper, students' ideas related to reaction rate an...
Article
In many countries, questions are being raised about the quality and value of educational research. This book explores the relationship between research and practice in education. It looks at the extent to which current practice could be said to be informed by knowledge or ideas generated by research and at the extent to which the use of current pra...
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This paper considers the relationship between science knowledge and the ability to engage in reasoned discussion of the social consequences of science. Through a study of over 200 school students aged 14 16 we show that the ability to engage in reasoned discussion of applications of gene technology is strongly influenced by the ability to recognize...
Article
We begin by drawing upon the available literature to identify four characteristics of teacher talk likely to support student learning about the epistemology of science: making appropriate statements about the epistemology of science in the classroom, linking the epistemology of science with specific science concepts, stating and justifying learning...
Article
There are increasing numbers of instructional design studies in the science education literature where claims are made about the effectiveness of specific teaching sequences in promoting learning. In such studies, the term teaching sequence is used to describe the sequence of activities presented by teachers to students and the design of each seque...
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Full-text available
One aim of the Evidence‐based Practice in Science Education (EPSE) Network was to obtain a better understanding of the extent to which practitioners in science education recognise and make use of research findings in the course of their normal practice. The aim was realised through an interview and focus‐group study of views of practitioners on the...
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This paper reports upon a study addressing teaching and learning about solubility to Turkish first-year secondary school students (age 14-15). The principal aim of the research was to investigate the impact on students' understanding of solubility, of introducing a simple particle model of matter. A teaching intervention to fit within the existing...
Chapter
There is evidence that many science teachers have limited expertise in teaching the epistemology of science (the ways in which knowledge claims in science are developed and justified). We examine the classroom talk of seven teachers as they use published lesson resources to teach about the development of scientific models in two concept areas (cell...
Chapter
This research describes a cross-sectional study, which will give insights into the development of students’ understanding of chemical kinetics (at key points, in relation to relevant teaching) from secondary to university level, in Turkey. The study is based mainly on the written responses given by school and undergraduate students to a series of w...
Chapter
This paper reports a study designed to provide evidence about the feasibility of designing short teaching sequences, based on insights from research and scholarship on teaching and learning science, which are measurably better at promoting conceptual understanding amongst students than the teaching approaches usually used by their schools. The rese...
Article
Full-text available
Research report of project 4 of the Evdience-based practice in science education (EPSE) research network funded by ERSC TLRP This report presents the findings of an interview and focus group study which explored perceptions of educational research and its use amongst teachers of science and others engaged in science education. The rationale for the...
Article
This paper reports the design and evaluation of small-scale teaching interventions addressing the epistemology of science as part of the regular high school science courses followed by English students. Although there is a growing consensus that the curriculum should include aspects of the nature of science, there is a limited body of knowledge abo...
Article
In this paper we consider how theories of learning can inform the practice of scienceteaching in formal settings. We describe two broad strands of learning theory that havebeen drawn upon in science education, namely individual and sociocultural views. Weshow how aspects of both views can usefully inform our understanding of teaching andlearning sc...
Article
Reports on a study by the Evidence-based Practice in Science Education (EPSE) Research Network that explores practitioners' views on the nature, use, and potential of science education research. (DDR)
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This is the second of two papers focusing on the quantum atomic model `Electronium'. The `Bremen teaching approach', in which this model is used, is outlined and an analysis of the learning of two students as they progress through the teaching unit is presented. Finally an argument is presented to support the assertion that the Electronium model ca...
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For many students, learning quantum atomic models raises difficulties that result from the major differences between quantum-mechanical perspectives and the classical physics view. After being taught the probability atomic model, which is traditionally introduced in Germany in upper secondary school (age 18–19), the understandings of the overwhelmi...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the role of students’ epistemological knowledge in the process of conceptual change in science. The chapter begins by making a case that students’ conceptual knowledge in science has an epistemological dimension, and that models of conceptual change in science should therefore make reference to this epistemological dimension....
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Full-text available
This paper presents findings about the images of science drawn upon in laboratory work, by upper secondary and university students, in academic streams with a science focus. Data were collected through four written questions, administered to a total of 368 students. The questions all required students to comment on laboratory investigations carried...
Article
Abstract This document,describes a small-scale project which designed teaching resources for
Article
This article addresses the extent to which written diagnostic questions can be used to assess science students' representations of the nature of science. The responses of 731 European science students in upper secondary school and undergraduate programmes to two written diagnostic questions are analysed for consistency. The written questions yielde...
Article
This paper reports on small group discussions on cellular genetics by 15 – 16 year old British students (n = 35), led by a researcher. The results support and expand on findings from written tasks reported elsewhere and throw new light on students' understanding of basic genetics. The findings demonstrate widespread confusion over the nature of gen...
Article
In this paper we examine students' views about the interpretation of experimental data within a specified science context. A written survey was completed by 731 science students drawn from upper secondary schools and universities in five European countries. An additional 19 upper secondary science students were interviewed individually after they h...
Article
This paper considers school students' understanding of the processes of cell division and fertilisation towards the end of their compulsory science education. The difficulties which students have in understanding the purposes and products of these processes are discussed, and the origins of some of these problems are identified. In particular, it n...
Article
This paper reports on young people's understanding of genes as they near the end of their compulsory science education in the UK. A sample of 482 school students aged 14–16, drawn from across the ability range, took part in this study. Findings, based mainly on written responses to written questions, but supported by interview data, show that this...
Article
Describes four projects: (1) using diagnostic assessment to improve science learning; (2) issues in the implementation of evidence-based approaches in science education; (3) teaching pupils 'ideas-about-science'; and (4) understanding the researcher-user interface. Describes projects that are focused on curriculum development and explores how teach...
Article
This article describes views about the nature of science held by a small sample of science students in their final year at the university. In a longitudinal interview study, 11 students were asked questions about the nature of science during the time they were involved in project work. Statements about the nature of science were characterized and c...
Article
Cet article décrit une étude de cas basée sur des entretiens avec des étudiants de 20 à 22 ans à propos de leur expérience de projet de fin d'études en science à l'université. Nous examinons comment, par leur travail de projet, les étudiants développent leur compréhension des pratiques effectives de la science, c'est-à-dire des différents moyens ut...
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Full-text available
Recently, it was proposed that a curricular aim of science education should be to engender an understanding of the nature of the scientific enterprise among students, as well as a knowledge of the technical contents of science. Seven diagnostic instruments were designed and administered to students (between the ages of 9 and 16) in an effort to inv...
Article
This paper reports some of the findings from a study of the ecological understandings of children aged 5‐16 years in schools in the north of England. Children's ideas about selected ecological concepts were elicited through a series of written tasks and individual interviews set in a range of contexts, referred to here as probes. Responses of about...
Article
This paper reports some of the findings from a study of the ecological understandings of children aged 5‐16 years in schools in the north of England. Children's ideas about selected ecological concepts were elicited through a series of written tasks and individual interviews set in a range of contexts, referred to here as probes. Responses of about...
Article
This paper provides an introduction to a study of the ecological understandings of children aged 5‐16 years in schools in the north of England. Children's ideas about selected ecological concepts were elicited through a series of written tasks and individual interviews set in a range of contexts, referred to here as probes. Responses of about 200 p...
Article
The view that knowledge cannot be transmitted but must be constructed by the mental activity of learners underpins contemporary perspectives on science education. This article, which presents a theoretical perspective on teaching and learning science in the social setting of classrooms, is informed by a view of scientific knowledge as socially cons...
Article
This interview study explored the thinking of eighteen Mexican primary teachers regarding ideas about scientists and their views on teaching about scientists. It was done in the context of the most recent science education curriculum reform which introduced a concern to communicate ideas about the world of science into the official pedagogical disc...
Article
Claims have been made in the science education research literature that one teaching sequence typically results in better student learning than another. In such studies, 'teaching sequence' typically describes the sequence of activities presented by teachers to students. The sequences tend to be designed on the basis of a detailed analysis of the s...
Article
The research reported in this paper is part of a research project aiming to evaluate upper secondary school and undergraduate students' conceptual understanding of chemical kinetics in the light of the aims of the Turkish chemistry curriculum. The study is based on written responses given by 191 upper secondary school students (ages 15-16) and pre-...

Citations

... This trend causes challenges to make a difference in teachers' attitudes towards and beliefs about shifting practices. As teachers are not open to changes and use their experiences only to teach, they do not follow educational research (Costa, Marques and Kempa, 2000;Ratcliffe et al., 2002). Therefore, as Weiss (1991) states results of educational research are slowly appreciated by practitioners and requires a certain period of time. ...
... 'Teachers will not take up attractive sounding ideas, albeit based on extensive research, if these are presented as general principles which leave entirely to them the ask of translating them into everyday practice -their classroom lives are too busy and too fragile for this to be possible for all '. Studies have suggested that research-informed diagnostic materials can enable teachers to identify teaching and learning needs, support non-specialist teachers and have a positive impact on student learning (Millar, Leach & Osborne, 2006). A key challenge for science educators is to transform research evidence into resources and pedagogical approaches that are accessible to teachers. ...
... In addition, what seems to be applicable to the researcher might not be evident to the teacher as studies have found that teachers have difficulty reading and understanding research reports in addition to locating and acquiring them (Cordingley, 2008;Levin, 2013;Nelson, Leffler, & Hansen, 2009;Ratcliffe et al., 2004;See, Gorard, & Siddiqui, 2016). Research knowledge may also be too general and theoretical for the teacher to decide whether it is plausible and feasible in his/her highly specific context situation (Cain, 2015;Kessels & Korthagen, 1996;Tan & Gilbert, 2014) and how to act on it in his/her classroom (Ratcliffe et al., 2004;Lewis, 2015;Herrington & Daubenmire, 2016). ...
... Research involving secondary and tertiary Turkish students has shown that students have difficulties in defining ''rate'' (Cakmakci and Leach, 2005;Cakmakci et al., 2006;Cakmakci, 2010). Some alternate conceptions pointed out by these studies include students defining reaction rate as simply reaction time or that rate depends on both the concentrations of reactants and products. ...
... The important purpose of experimental work in science education is to help students make connections between real objects, materials, and events and the abstract world of thoughts and ideas [47]. Tiberghien [51] believes that experimental work can help students develop an understanding of the connection between the two levels of knowledge: the level of objects and observations and the level of ideas. Abrahams and Millar [47] found that experimental work is also crucial for students to learn how to use laboratory equipment, but educators should pay careful attention to improving its efficiency in facilitating students' learning based on the data collected for the development of scientific ideas. ...
... On the other hand, rigidly relying on developmental stages may lose valuable teaching moments (Metz, 1995). Therefore, using educational strategies such as contextualizing aspects of NOS and leaving room for experiential learning can be used to prevent unnecessary omissions (Akerson et al., 2011;Erduran & Dagher, 2014;Leach et al., 1997;Leden & Hansson, 2017). Therefore, further investigations on RFN-based instruction, especially an overall systematical integration to the science content of the earlier education years, are needed. ...
... In response, Carlsen (1991) developed a sociolinguistic framework for research into teacher questioning which incorporates three features of questions: the context, content and the responses and reactions. It is possible to accept any evidence-based identification of teaching sequences as illustrative of teacher talk; however, teachers' expertise in their TDMs has more importance in this issue in terms of staging those activities for the benefit of the learners (e.g., Leach & Scott, 2000;Mortimer & Scott, 2003). Therefore, this extended critical review aims to make the point that research into teaching sequences has been undertaken in an isolated manner ignoring the centrality of TDMs that are indisputably necessary in any teaching sequence. ...
... Esta secuencia tiene como principal mérito ayudar a que el alumnado del primer ciclo de secundaria (12-14 años) sea capaz de explicar con el modelo de ósmosis los problemas de deshidratación o hiperhidratación en peces y algas a nivel celular. Esto facilitará la progresión de modelos hacia explicaciones más sofisticadas en niveles superiores (Bachillerato) con el gradiente de concentración, el equilibrio dinámico y la difusión como ideas clave y, por tanto, esta secuencia debe ser considerada como precursora a la construcción del modelo de membrana celular (Hind, Leach y Ryder, 2001) y su funcionamiento. ...
... The result of that updating process depends on the uncertainty of existing scientific knowledge, which is then expressed in the prior. In this way, Bayes' theorem applied to the scientific process, or Bayesian reasoning, emphasizes that science and scientific knowledge are always situated in context (Szu & Osborne, 2012) and society (Driver et al., 1994). These ideas about Bayesian reasoning can be captured in the following three principles that can be used as conceptual "tools" for teachers and learners: ...
... Knowing is an adaptive process that organizes an individual's experiential world within a social setting (Kelly et al. 2012). There is evidence, for example, that what students report in a survey or an interview about science is different from what they do in science learning activities (Leach 2006;Kelly 2008;Wickman 2004). Examining students' practices of physics will shed light on our comprehension of students' personal epistemologies in school science settings. ...