My professional journey
retired in 2006 as associate professor of science and environmental
education in the Theory
and Practice in
Department at UT, Knoxville. Since, I've continued resarch in science
and environmental education, participation in professional conferences,
writing for presentations and publication, and periodic teaching, both
as adjunct faculty conducting science teacher education courses, and in professional
development through Delta Education, INc. related to the Lawrence Hall
of Science program, FOSS.
Here is a link to my current curriculum vitae.
I earned a BS in biology from King's
College (which included
studying abroad at the University
of Leeds, England), an MS
from the Graduate School of Education (GSE), University
in Philadelphia. My Penn studies in science education emphasized
inquiry learning and I acquired a life-long zeal for inspiring kids to learn more broadly and more deeply. I became a Life Member of the National Education Association and, with my colleague George Ambrose, published my first book, Project New School (PSEA, 1972). During that time, the early '70s, many new science
programs were being developed based upon educational theorizing
emerging from the work of the likes of Piaget and Vygotsky. I began
teaching in an urban district not far from Penn in 1969 and soon became
a pilot teacher for two levels of one of the most radical of all the
new NSF-funded programs, the Intermediate Science Curriculum Study
(ISCS). I learned a lot about teaching and learning in
implementing ISCS; doing the work required to provide an all hands-on,
student-centered/differentiated program was very challenging, a
grist-mill for educational theorizing.
taught 10th grade biology at Yeadon High, but also was assigned classes
in 8th grade physical science, which I taught for 4 years. As the
youngest of my colleagues in the science department, I was appointed
faculty sponsor of the 1970 Earth Day celebration, the first Earth Day.
This was a major event for this 7-12 school, with regular classes
suspended for a day-long teach-in, the ceremonial burial of a car, and
so forth. Besides Earth Day, I also served as the sponsor for the chess
club and tennis coach. During summers I worked on my M.S. and after
that participated in a National Science Foundation-sponsored institute
in field geology and observational astronomy at West Chester State
University, a powerfully educative experience from which I learned the
value of field studies in science education.
of the school-community relationship following a failed 3 week strike
by the Yeadon Education Association,
for which I served as secretary, newsletter editor, and member of the
contract negotiating team, led to discouragement and the decision to
move on. Because we were first in the state to strike under the new law
allowing it, our School Board was uncompromising, set on
union busting so as to be an example for the other districts. The
workplace atmosphere deteriorated, factionalism emerged, and a lot of
blaming. I was a founder of the WPFT, which challenged the YEA. So, I
sought and accepted a position in my home town of
Roanoke, Virginia. From 1973-1976 I taught at Wasena Elementary School and at Garden City Elementary (Roanoke
City Schools). Fortunately, I had supportive principals who allowed me to explore pedagogy and offer
my students many opportunities for hands on science and outdoor learning experiences.
In Roanoke, I taught
science for both the 5th and 6th grades in my school, and every year took each class
on fall camping trips to North Creek in the Jefferson National Forest. Other outdoor activities included fossil
hunts, salamander walks, pond studies (one was near the school), night sky watches, spelunking, and
backpacking. Besides starting a chess club, I oversaw an after school science club and a
bicycling club that made exploration opportunities a reglar part
of schooling. It was during this period that I became involved
with the birthing of what would become the
I took charge of the Museum's "Science Explorers," which provided
pre-K-8 youth activities. During that time the fledging museum was
operating out of the garage of the art museum. I went on to serve on
the board of the science museum association and in 1980 as assistant
director in charge of programs and exhibit planning for a new site
being planned in Roanoke's Center-in-the-Square. Since that time I've appreciated the role of museums and informal education in science and environmental education.
autumn of 1976 I began full-time doctoral studies in science and environmental
My dissertation was a longitudinal study of children's wilderness
experiences during backpack hiking and camping. Before receiving the doctorate in 1985, I directed two
off-grounds master's programs for the Curry
School of Education, worked as state science supervisor for the Virginia
Department of Education, and
served as assistant director and exhibits researcher for the
Museum of Western Virginia.
My undergraduate experience abroad led to a life long interest in
international and multicultural education that included comparative
education studies at Penn and a n extended sabbatical in Melbourne,
Australia in the 90s. My sabbatical project culminated in the
publication by Rigby of the Science Timelines series of four "big books" with Teacher Guides.
1987 my wife Susan and I moved to Evanston, Illinois where she enrolled
at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary to study for the Episcopal
Church priesthood. I joined the faculty of what was then National
College of Education and later became National-Louis University. NCE/NLU had several campuses in the Chicago area. During my eight years there I directed several urban teacher education
initiatives in associated with Chicago science museums and Malcolm X
Community College. Another such project was in Waukegan, IL. These
projects were variously funded by state, federal, and Annenberg
Foundation grants and were characterized by learning through inquiry,
cooperative and project-based learning, curriculum integration,
appropriate use of technology, using the local community as a
curriculum resource, and building school-parent-community relationships.
eight years (1985-87, 1996-2001), I was a science teacher educator
at Virginia Tech. While
there, my colleague George Glasson and I directed the Geological
and Biological Change and the Nature
of Science Institute, a professional development program
for secondary teachers focusing on evolution and earth history,
State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) through
Dwight D. Eisenhower Program.
During my years at UTK, I collaborated extensively the UT Institute of Agriculture, and specifically with
Dr. Susan Hamilton, Director of the UT
Gardens These projects focused upon environmental education and earned me adjunct
status with the College
of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources,
which is active to this day. Dr. Hamilton was co-director for a project
I directed in 2005 funded by an Improving Teacher Quality grant - a
summer institute for teachers on gardens and environmental education.
We presented a paper on this work at Oxford University. In 2007 I
co-directed another ITQ grant for a professional development project
for high school teacher on teaching genetics. I received other grants
at UT to conduct research on the science education being provided for
ELL students in local schools. The results of that work with colleague
Dr Clara Brown was published in 2004 in the Academic
seven years after UT I was adjunct faculty, and the PI and director of
the Elementary Science Institute for Teachers at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, funded by a grant from the
State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) through
Improving Teacher Quality Program.
Over 200 elementary teachers from 14 school divisions (districts) in
southwestern Virgina benefitted from participating in this professional
development project. Post-Ut, I also taught courses as adjunct for Mary
Baldwin University, Radford University, and the University of Virginia.
Over my career I
have enjoyed directed masters theses and serving on doctoral
committees. I delight in knowing that some of my students have gone on
to become prominent scholars in the field. I
continue to enjoy sharing my work at state, national and international
conferences - Beijing (1987), Kingston, Ontario (1992),
Gwinganna, Australia (1993), University of Sydney (1997),
Como, Italy (1999), Mexico City (2003), Taiz University, Republic of
Yemen (2005), Oxford University (2006), Ankara University (2015),
Cambridge University (2016), and University of East London (2018).
have been fortunate to have had a career that included teaching at all levels, from elementary
to post-graduate, and have served as an educational consultant and
higher education institutions, museums and other agencies. I
have also evaluated programs for agencies that include the
University of Chicago, Sweet Briar College, the Virginia Tech
Institute for Connecting Science Research to the Classroom (ICSRC),
and the University
of Tennessee's Institute for Assessment and Evaluation (IAE). For the latter I conducted an evaluation of the Fairchild
Tropical Botanical Garden's Challenger Program.
I've also been fortunate in my career to have had many
colleagues who were also friends who helped me process my learnings
through dialog. They are numerous. Most prominent is Prof. Jim Alouf, Sweet Briar College,
my best friend since junior high. Jim has a realistic take on classroom
life, a tremendous empathy with students and classroom teachers, and a
keen understanding of the complexity of changing things as they are.
While teacher education has been my main occupation, I have also worked
in science education, including as a museum educator and administrator.
Further, I had a major role in the creation of two secondary schools:
as the founding director of the Southwest
Virginia Governor's School, a magnet high school for science
and technology; and Board Co-Chair of Community
High School, Roanoke, VA where I served in that role
from 2002 to 2010. Both schools still thrive. CHS has been voted the
outstanding high school in the Roanoke Valley by the Roanoker Magazine
2009 Perry F. Kendig Award for the Outstanding Arts Education Program
by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge.
Dr Hamilton, standing left, with our UT Gardens grant writing team.
From 2008 until 2014, I served as science eduction consultant on their expert panel for Education.com, during that time being the Internet's most extensive source of information on education for parents.
I served as guest editor and contributor for a Special Edition focusing on "nature
education in science and environmental education have always been my
principle scholarly interests. Curiosity about my interests has not
waned a bit scince retiring from UT. I relish keeping abreast of
current science (my grad school concentration was population biology
and evolution), and also follow what others are thinking regarding
education in general – work in curriculum studies, international
education, and, particularly, in the social studies of science as
applied to teaching science.
continue to write, and currently I am working with Ed Ebert on updating
two books into one, both of which we wrote with his wife, Chris Ebert. The first is The
Natural Investigator: A Constructivist Approach to Elementary
School Science (Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2000). It
was translated in 2008 into Chinese (Cengage, 2008). The second is Teaching
Constructivist Science (Corwin, 2007). Ed and I also co-authored The
Educator's Field Guide (Corwin, 2011).
the second book in progress, I am working with my long-time friend and
collaborator, Prof. Stephen Fleury, LeMoyne College, New York. Steve
and I met in 1989 at the First International Conference on the Nature
of Science in Science Education, held at Florida State, and have been
thinking together about the nexus between social studies and science
education ever since. The book we conceive would be an introduction to
In 2014, Connecting Children with Nature
(Wood 'N' Barnes), was published, which I co-edited with colleagues
Michael Mueller of the University of Alaska and Bruce Martin of Ohio