The Learning and Teaching of Science Education

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To enhance the learning and teaching of science education in both primary and secondary schools in England, education professionals have made reforms in the curriculum. This has helped to ensure that what is taught in schools is relevant. Despite the benefits associated with making reforms in the curriculum, the majority of the teachers appear to be reluctant in embracing the change in the curriculum and, if they happen to embrace it, they fail to implement it as required by the curriculum policymakers. The research was conducted in one of the secondary schools in England based on a single science curriculum reform.

For proper implementation of a new curriculum, the teachers need to have adequate knowledge of the curriculum and understand how it should be implemented. However, many studies have shown that the fact that teachers have the appropriate skills and understanding of the curriculum reforms does not necessarily warrant the success of its implementation. In addition, the fact that different teachers have varying skills and knowledge in their areas of specialization cannot be used to explain why some teachers will embrace curriculum change.

Therefore, this study was aimed at finding out why different teachers will respond differently to a quest for curriculum change though they have the same professional qualifications and are aware of the implications of curriculum change on education. The following research questions were used:

  1. What are the opinions of secondary science teachers regarding the curriculum change?
  2. What are the factors that influence these experiences?

Previous studies on the same topic concentrated on teachers’ characteristics. For instance, their knowledge of the subject content and their attitude towards teaching are some of the characteristics. In response to this, other studies have shown that such a perspective is individualistic. Therefore, it does not have a great influence on the matter of social and institutional context. Various perspectives might have an impact on the teachers’ views of the curriculum change. The first one is the external context which consists of the national reforms. The second one is the internal context which consists of school and departmental settings.

Finally, there is the personal context which focuses on the teacher’s knowledge of the subject and teaching skills. These three contexts should be incorporated into specific educational backgrounds to make the curriculum reform successful (Goodson, 2003). The study focused on how both the external and internal contexts affect the teachers’ view of the science curriculum reforms. It was noted that the curriculum reforms presented in England were meant to provide greater flexibility in schools by providing a range of science courses which enabled teachers to match this with the students’ needs. These reforms also emphasized the need to teach socio-scientific issues and the nature of science which was meant to support the development of scientific literacy.

The method of data collection used in the study interviewed. The interviews were conducted among teachers in schools between 2008 and 2009. Interviews were held during the third year after the beginning of curriculum reforms implementation. The larger sample consisted of 56 teachers selected from 19 public schools in England. Each of the selected schools was represented by the Head of Science and two other science teachers with different specializations.

To collect the right information, the Heads of Science decided to select teachers who responded more positively on the issue of reform and teaching. On this basis, 22 teachers were selected from the larger sample of 56 teachers. The sample ensured a proper balance of the gender, science specialization, managerial role, and the number of years one had been teaching. Each interview took between 40 to 60 minutes, and the questions asked were mostly related to the teacher’s preparation for the introduction of reforms, students’ responses to the new science courses, opportunities, and challenges arising from the reforms among others. Interviewers used an interview schedule that was not fixed.

The information was presented in a tabular form. The table showed each teacher’s gender, area of specialization, teaching experience, response to reform, school-age range, and school specialization. Information gathered about three teachers’ influential contexts was also summarized in a table. The study revealed that various factors influenced teachers’ perceptions of reforms. These factors were grouped into three, concerning Goodman’s framework of external, internal, and personal contexts. It was discovered that to fully understand the teacher’s response to curriculum change, it was critical to study their three contexts.

The study also revealed other additional factors that influenced teachers’ experiences. For instance, within the internal setting of the school, factors such as the nature of the student intake played a role in influencing teachers’ experiences. Concerning teachers’ view of the reform, it was revealed that their perceptions were shaped by the interaction of the three contexts. If the teachers’ contexts were aligned, then they embraced the reforms but if they were not in alignment, such teachers always acted as barriers to implementing the reforms.

Considering the role that teachers’ views play in the implementation of a curriculum, it is necessary to consider first the three contexts during curriculum reforms. For instance, when carrying out professional development activities which relate to the teaching of science education, the focus should be mainly given to the way how such teaching affects various contexts e.g. achieving scientific literacy for all, preparing students for further studies in science, and so on.

Most science teachers argue that the different curriculums do not help students and that is why they reject their implementation. Therefore, a critical analysis should be done before the implementation of the curriculum to ensure that it adds value to the science education system.

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"The Learning and Teaching of Science Education." ChalkyPapers, 21 July 2022,


ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'The Learning and Teaching of Science Education'. 21 July.


ChalkyPapers. 2022. "The Learning and Teaching of Science Education." July 21, 2022.

1. ChalkyPapers. "The Learning and Teaching of Science Education." July 21, 2022.


ChalkyPapers. "The Learning and Teaching of Science Education." July 21, 2022.