Addressing the learning needs of children, teaching students and teachers in an informal context

David Overton

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


There are over ninety local Children’s Universities (CUs) throughout the United Kingdom (UK) and throughout the World including in Australia. CUs aim to meet learning needs of children through extracurricular provision. This paper describes a detailed exploration of the factors underpinning the needs of stakeholders, including children, teachers, teacher education students and Higher Education (HE) tutors, during the formation of a local CU. This qualitative study used unstructured interviews employing a constructivist grounded theory approach. The research identified a common need for science education across all stakeholders and that the unique approach adopted by this CU benefited all stakeholders by providing a context within which children, teachers, teacher education students and HE tutors could learn science in an informal way. There was simultaneous acquisition of scientific knowledge and skills by children, their teachers, teacher education students, at point of delivery by the tutor. Teachers considered tutor as a trusted expert supporting their professional development through modelling what they described as innovative pedagogy. Tutor credibility was enhanced in the eyes of teacher education students. The implications for science teacher education, professional development and the role of specialist science teachers in primary schools will be explored.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015
EventAustralasian Science Education Research Association Conference 2015 - The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Duration: 1 Jul 20153 Jul 2015
Conference number: 46th


ConferenceAustralasian Science Education Research Association Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleASERA 2015

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