Academic at Research in Didactics of Biology ConferenceGeneral

From left: Clas Olander (Sweden), Anat Yarden (Israel), Dirk Jan Boerwinkel  (The Netherlands), Edith Dempster, Bill McComas (USA), Pierre Clément (France), Michael Reiss (UK) and Yeung Chung Lee (Hong Kong).From left: Clas Olander (Sweden), Anat Yarden (Israel), Dirk Jan Boerwinkel (The Netherlands), Edith Dempster, Bill McComas (USA), Pierre Clément (France), Michael Reiss (UK) and Yeung Chung Lee (Hong Kong).

Senior Research Associate in the School of Education, Dr Edith Dempster, participated in the biennial conference of European Researchers in the Didactics of Biology (ERIDOB) held in Karlstad, Sweden.

Dempster took part in a plenary session identifying future research in Biology Education.

Speaking about her involvement, Dempster said: ‘The Conference is a wonderful opportunity to engage with a group of specialists in teaching Biology. One plenary session was devoted to future directions in research in teaching Biology. I was privileged to participate in this panel discussion.

‘After short presentations from each of the panellists, the convenor Professor Bill McComas identified the common challenges in Biology education. Identifying pedagogical content knowledge specific to Biology teaching was one grand challenge. He said that solutions should be informed by research.

‘The second challenge relates to Biology curriculum. The panel issued a challenge to identify what makes biology unique within science education research. The unique nature of biology should then be used to structure curriculum,’ said Bester.

‘The third challenge identified relates to the preparation of biology teachers. Research should focus on optimal conditions for Biology teacher education including optimal practice teaching.

‘McComas ended by appealing to researchers to replicate novel and effective research studies and work towards generalisability.’

Dempster believes conferences of this nature are important because ‘they bring together researchers who share a common interest in a specialised field’.

Melissa Mungroo