Necessary uncertainty: Challenging notions of science teaching and learning

Engaging Science Education Series 2016
Monash Education


Have you ever been confronted by moments of surprise, confusion or perplexity? Teachers find themselves being confronted by such moments on a daily basis. Through these moments, teachers discover conflicts between their beliefs, understandings and the context in which they operate. The moment of conflict is often characterised by feelings of uncertainty, which although may lead to feelings of discomfort, is necessary and beneficial as it sparks inquiry and results in learning. This seminar is based on research that supports the existing notions of teaching being a complex and dynamic process – it is not easy to ‘teach’, yet teaching often looks easy. The professional knowledge of practice that teachers develop is often tacit and therefore difficult to discuss and share. During this seminar, you will be invited to consider a new model for exploring the learning borne of experiences with problematic situations – moments of surprise, confusion or perplexity. The traditional notions of science teaching and learning will be challenged via an emphasis being placed upon the notion of science teachers as learners – learning through their experiences with problematic situations. The aim is to present a new way of considering teaching – one that is considered as the constant search for a steady state within complex and demanding educational landscapes.

Discussion Panel

Dr Jennifer Mansfield

Associate Professor Gillian Kidman