Science and STEM education
Documenting professional practice
Mentoring practices in professional settings
Reflective and transformational teaching practices
Professional teaching experience and learning
Preservice teacher education
Teaching strategies to enhance student understanding
Links between science education and industry and technology
I’m passionate about fostering student enthusiasm for learning science and STEM. I also strive to work closely with teachers, encouraging them to realise the potential of their learning environments.
By considering their students’ needs (intellectual, personal and behavioural) teachers can transform their classrooms into learning spaces that support people to question preconceived views, clarify ideas and ultimately, reach a position or consensus.
In these ways we can develop creative learners who can engage with and critique ideas, appreciate differing viewpoints and provide compelling reasons why they think the way they do.
As Director of Education Futures and a Monash professor, I dedicate my research to challenging accepted wisdom and practices – and traditional views of science education for more contemporary and authentic ones.
I also translate my findings into practical strategies, while contributing to curriculum and policy development at a state and federal level.
My work covers many issues across many disciplines in education. It also encompasses the demands of what it means to be a professional teacher and how to engage learners. For example, I collaborate with eight faculty leaders at Monash on an OECD international project to foster creative and critical thinking in students.
I believe teachers must go beyond simply repeating what they know. They need to challenge their students’ thinking, and engage them on a deeper level and in ways that enable students to apply their knowledge in many different settings and ways.
Educators need to recognise the different understanding and motivations for learning among students, and teach science in ways that are meaningful to their students.
Finally, I’d like to share some of my career highlights. These include winning the Deans Partnership Award and the Dean’s award for programs that enhance learning – and contributing to over 100 academic articles.
I’m also proud to be part of many collaborative projects with governments (local, national and international), schools such as the Virtual School of Emerging Sciences and community groups and organisations like the ‘Read like a Demon Partnership’ with Melbourne Football Club.
"Deb has done extensive work at state and federal level in curriculum development and policy. One of her key concerns is the need for teachers to take both context and students into account so that classrooms become more than just a place for mastering facts."