Pioneers of Science Education

Maria Edgeworth

Richard Dawes

Jane Marcet

James M. Wilson

Thomas Huxley

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In this series we will look at some of the pioneers of science education, either in terms of pedagogy, curriculum development or science education research. Some of them have an Irish connection, but all have had an influence on the teaching and learning of science in Ireland. In PoSE #1 we looked at Maria Edgeworth, who was a friend of Jane Marcet (PoSE #3), and in PoSE #2 at Richard Dawes, a pioneer of child-centred science in context. In PoSE #3 we looked at the life of Mrs Jane Marcet, one of the earliest popularisers of science, especially for women. PoSE #4 looked at J.M. Wilson, who served on a Royal Commission with Thomas Huxley (PoSE #5), who also promoted technical education as did Br. James Dominic Burke did in Cork (PoSE #6), who also used inquiry in science teaching as did Henry Armstrong (PoSE #7). Armstrong’s ideas were brought to Ireland by William Mayhowe Heller (PoSE #8), one of his early disciples. In England Christ’s Hospital school was important as a test-bd in putting Armstrong’s ideas into practice, and through the work of Gordon von Praagh (PoSE#9) learning by discovery found its way into the Nuffield chemistry courses. In PoSE #10 we move to a more contemporary Pioneer, Alex Johnstone, who only died in 2017. He had a major effect on chemical education worldwide from the 1970s onwards. PoSE #11 features David Waddington, Emeritus Professor Chemical Education at the University of York, who is still alive, and was pioneer in introducing context-based science courses.

  • #1 Maria Edgeworth

  • #2 Richard Dawes

  • #3 Jane Marcet

  • #4 James M. Wilson

  • #5 Thomas Huxley

  • #6 Br James Dominic Burke

  • #7 Henry Armstrong

  • #8 William Mayhowe Heller

  • #9 Gordon von Praagh

  • #10 Alex Johnstone

  • #11 David Waddington

Br James Dominic Burke

Henry Armstrong

William Mayhowe Heller

Gordon von Praagh

Alex Johnstone

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Chemistry Education Research Group (CERG)