The relationship between science, technology, and society

Dr Nasser Mansour

"I started out working in Egypt as an assistant lecturer and did my masters in science education, studying student’s creativity at Tanta University in Egypt. Then, when it came to applying for my PhD I wanted a leading university, which meant either Europe or the US. I was attracted to Exeter because of its very good science education team and felt very lucky to be accepted here.

"My PhD was about science, technology and society (STS); the relationship between these things and how they influence each other from the perspective of science teachers. I also looked at how teacher’s own views affected their teaching of controversial issues and how that can affect the learning of students. During this time, I focused my interest in the relationship between science and religion into a project called ‘Religious beliefs: A hidden variable in the performance of science teachers in the classroom’, for which I was lucky enough to get published and receive an EERA (European Educational and Research Association) award for the best paper at the conference.

"I was later part of a big project, Science Education for Diversity, funded by the European commission (FP7), regarding cultural issues in relation to science education. Working with a wonderfully diverse group of partners, all from countries where science education was successful, we were able to evaluate the curriculum and teaching methods of the partners that took part in the research. It allowed us to collect excellent data around teacher views about diversity which are unique in Europe as well as giving us data which helped to understand why and why not a student becomes interested in science and which practices may help shift this attitude.

"I am currently focused on studying the integration of  STEM into the science curriculum and identify the influences and concerns that arise. Also I am studying science teachers’ and students’ argumentation skills and their understandings about Nature of Science in the context of controversial socio-scientific issues. Our experiments consist of helping teachers support students who have a wide range of views about science.

"If this ‘black box’ of sociocultural contexts in which science teachers are embedded is better understood, it may be possible to identify specific aspects related to educational organizations that act as either supports or barriers to educational reform or to implementing innovations in science education. Only by conducting such research can any real insights be gained into how science teachers actually respond to issues of diversity and of practice in the science classroom."

View Dr Nasser Mansour's staff profile page