Research Design and Methodology

The project uses a predominantly qualitative study with a distinctly ethnographic orientation that focuses on the microstructures of teaching and learning in the science classroom.

Video Data
Video capture of classroom is the main method of the study Data is collected by means of the ethnographic observation of lessons and video studies, which facilitate inter-cultural comparison. Two or three cameras are used in each classroom, with one camera focused on the teacher and another on a small group of children who serve as a focus group. If a third camera is available it is used to provide a video of the whole classroom.

Other data sources:

  • Student and teacher stimulated recall interviews post lesson
  • Pre- and post-tests of a range of knowledge including the use of science ideas, reasoning, procedural understandings, and understanding of the nature of science
  • Student generated artefacts
  • Field notes, observations

The respective national studies are carried out by the researchers listed on this website . In each country, four to six primary school classes of different teachers were selected for video recording.  The teachers selected and invited to participate are teachers who have been recommended by their principals or peers as  “good “ teachers –  quality teachers.

Selection of lessons
A sequence of lessons that constitute the teaching of a topic are videoed. The number of lessons varies, but ranges from 8- 18 lessons.

The topics selected are mainstream and significant science knowledge in all cultures. They are:

  1. Physics: Forces (e.g. force and motion, floating and sinking, flight … )
  2. Chemistry: Changes to matter / state of matter (e.g. water)
  3. Biology: Living things in their environments
  4. Earth Science: Basic astronomy (e.g. night and day, plants, phases of the moon…)

The Sharing of Data
The shared repertoire outlines the protocol for the sharing of data.  The sharing of data is a key part of the project. Issues of translation, data protection and ethical concerns have been discussed and a shared understanding has been established.

Case Studies
We consider each teacher as one case study and try not to generalise the finding. Each case study is unique; The teachers who participated in the research were identified by their peers as representing quality in science teaching, within their education system and when approached, they volunteered to participate. The cases are not necessarily typical or representative of the country. The list below shows the current tally of case studies and the science topics that were taught, which have been completed as part of this research project.

Deakin University Team

  • Flight and Gravity (Year 4 class)
  • States of Matter (Year 4 class)
  • Flight (Year 4 class)
  • Water (Year 4 class)
Freie Universität Berlin Team

  • Levers (year4-6)
  • Moon  (Year 4)
Edith Cowan University Team

  • Astronomy (Year 4 )
  • Forces (Year 4)
Taiwanese Team

  • Moon
  • Stars
  • Aquatic Plants
  • Aquatic Plants/Environment