About the project

Project Title:   School-based pedagogies and partnerships in primary science teacher education

Lead Institution:   Deakin University

Partner Universities:

  • The University of Tasmania
  • Australian Catholic University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • RMIT University
The STEPS research team 2013

Each university has a number of sites where the school-based teaching occurs. As part of the research project, data including video, audio, images, and text is being collected at some of these sites to create representative case studies.

The project is funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching over 2 years (2013–2014).

Researchers in the STEPS project

The eight researchers in the STEPS Project have expertise in primary science education. They are teacher educators experienced in implementing and managing school-based science education programs at their respective universities.

Dr Linda Hobbs
(Project Leader)
Deakin University
Waurn Ponds campus

Assoc Professor Coral Campbell
Deakin University
Waurn Ponds campus

Dr Gail Chittleborough
Deakin University
Burwood campus

Dr Sandra Herbert
Deakin University
Warrnambool campus

Dr John Kenny
The University of Tasmania

Dr Mellita Jones
Ballarat campus

Dr Christine Redman
The University of Melbourne

Dr Andy Gilbert
RMIT University

In Memoriam

Dr Jeffrey King

In memory of Jeffrey King who inspired hundreds of future teachers as a lecturer at RMIT. Jeff embodied a spirit of inquiry and inspired his students by developing their curiosity and a love for all things science. He used this sense of wonder to help develop his students ability in science content as well as enacting their inquiry science lessons during primary school placements. In his time as part of the STEPS Project, Jeff brought energy and inspiration to the project and will be sorely missed.

Universities in the STEPS Project

The universities in the STEPS project come from Victoria and Tasmania and represent urban, regional and rural locations. The school-based teaching occurs in connection with primary science education course/units at each university.

Units/courses included in the STEPS Project
University Campus Degree Course /Program Data collection in 2013
Deakin University Burwood, Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool Victoria Bachelor of Education EES340 Primary Science Education 2 a core unit in the third year of a four year program of study.
The University of Tasmania Launceston Tasmania Bachelor of Education Fourth year elective unit on science education.
Australian Catholic University Ballarat Victoria Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education EDST201/EDST261 Science and Technology Education. A core unit in the fourth year of each of the Bachelor programs.
The University of Melbourne Melbourne Victoria Masters of Teaching EDUC 90376 Science and Technology Education. A core second year unit.
RMIT University Melbourne Victoria Bachelor of Education TCHE2332/2305 Science & Technology 2: Investigating in the Sciences. A core third year unit.

Partner schools in the STEPS Project

There are a variety of models of school-based delivery of science education involving school/university partnerships. School-based programs that provide authentic teaching experiences for pre-service teachers depend on strong working relationships between the teacher educators, the pre-service teachers and the staff and children at the schools. The STEPS project is an opportunity to acknowledge and recognise the children and staff at schools as critical members of the partnerships in each of the cases. The STEPS Project will explore the mutual benefits of the partnerships.

Phases of the STEPS Project

There are four phases in the Science Teacher Education Partnership with Schools (STEPS) Project:

  1. Sharing of current practice within the team (1 - 6 months)
    1. Generating case studies of current practice
    2. Cross-case analysis
    3. Drafting of principles and an Interpretive Framework.
  2. Situating the models into the contemporary literature and practice (3-7 months)
    1. Compilation of an annotated bibliography
  3. Analysis of current programs of the research team (5 - 15 months)
    1. Data collection, critique and analysis of current case studies to inform interpretive framework
  4. Examination of approaches employed by other universities (16 - 22 months)
    1. Scoping of school-based models used across Australia
    2. Further development of Interpretive Framework informed by data from 1,2,3,4.

The Projected Deliverables of the STEPS Project

The STEPS project will deliver:

  • Annotated Bibliography and list of school based science teacher education in Australia
  • Case Studies from each of the 7 research project sites
  • Presentations of Results - this includes project reports, newsletters, media reports, presentations at academic conferences, and publications in academic journals.
  • An Interpretive Framework that informs, develops and supports school-based approaches to pre-service teacher education. This framework will draw on various models of school-based practice.