Dr Keith Taber
University Reader in Science Education
(+44) 01223 330569
BSc(Hons), PGCE, DPSE, MSc, PhD, MA(Cantab), CSci, CChem, FRSC, CPhys, FInstP, CSciTeach, FHEA, FRSA
Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations
- Royal Society of Chemistry (Fellow)
- Institute of Physics (Fellow)
- Association for Science Education
- British Science Association (a.k.a. British Association for the Advancement of Science)
- British Educational Research Association
- Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, manufacture and commerce (Fellow)
- Higher Education Academy (Fellow)
- Australasian Science Education Research Association
- European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction
- Association of Science Teacher Educators
- International History and Philosophy of Science Teaching Group
- National Association for Research in Science Teaching
- International Association for Science and Religion in Schools
Keith Taber trained as a graduate teacher of chemistry and physics, and taught sciences in comprehensive secondary schools in England. He moved into further education where he taught physics and chemistry to A level, science studies to adult students, and research methods on an undergraduate education programme. He acted as the mentor for trainee science teachers on placement at the college. Whilst working as a teacher he earned his masters degree for research into girls under-representation in physics and his doctorate for research into conceptual development in chemistry. He joined the Faculty of Education in 1999. Please refer to Keith Taber's web pages.
Dr. Taber was the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) Teacher Fellow for 2000-1, undertaking a project on Challenging Chemical Misconceptions (http://www.chemsoc.org/networks/learnnet/miscon2.htm). He was the CERG (Chemical Education Research Group) Lecturer for 2000. He wrote a column (Reflections on Teaching and Learning Physics) for the journal Physics Education over a period of 6 years. He led the Cambridge project on teaching about ideas and evidence in science for the National KS3 Strategy (http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/keystage3/casestudies/cs_sc_ideas).
- Academic group - Science, Technology and Mathematics Education
- Editor: Chemistry Education Research and Practice (a journal published by the RSC, available free on the internet at: http://www.rsc.org/cerp)
- Book Reviews Editor: Studies in Science Education
- Editorial Board member: Teacher Development
- Editorial Board member: International Journal of Science Education
- Editorial Board member: Foundations of Chemistry
- Board of Reviewers: Science Education
- Editorial Board member: School Science Review
- Editorial Board member: Education in Chemistry
- Editorial Board member: Centre for Education Policy Studies Journal
- Editorial Board member: Chemistry: Bulgarian Journal of Science Education
- Editorial Board member: International Review of Contemporary Learning Research
- Former Editorial Review Board member: Journal of Science Teacher Education
- Former Editorial Review Board member: Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- Former Book Reviews Editor: Teacher Development
- Reviewer for a number of other journals
- Past Chairman of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemical Education Research Group
- Former Education Board member of the Institute of Physics
- Peer Review College member: Economic and Social Research Council
- Advisory Board Member: International Association for Science and Religion in Schools
- Dr. Taber's main research interests are in aspects of teaching and learning in science: learners' ideas, misconceptions, alternative conceptions and alternative frameworks; conceptual understanding, conceptual integration and conceptual change and development; constructivism in science education; learner thinking and metacognition; explanations in science; teaching about the nature of science; challenging high attainers;
- Notions of 'giftedness' (especially in science);
- How teachers can use diagnostic assessment to explore the nature and origins of learners' thinking in science.
- Student thinking about science and religion
Current Research Projects
- Conceptual development in science: ECLIPSE - Exploring Concept Learning, Integration & Progression in Science Education
- Meeting the needs of the most able in science (collaborative project): APECS
- Learning about Science and Religion: LASAR
- Effecting Principled Improvement in STEM Education: Student Engagement and Learning in Early Secondary - School Physical Science and Mathematics - epiSTEMe
- Young Children's Reasoning About Chemistry
- MPhil in Educational Research - core team member
- Research methods lecturer on MEd and MPhil in Education programme; EdD programme
- Research supervisor - MEd, MPhil, PhD
- BA Tripos course on Creativity and Thinking
- Topics of student research projects supervised include conceptual learning about the concept of field / astronomy topics / chemistry; thought experimentation; metacognitive aspects of physics problem solving; intuitive learning in physics; using drama-based simulations in teaching chemistry; coordination of knowledge in solving physics problems; science teacher beliefs and classroom behaviour; explaining phenomena in terms of particle theory. (Informal contacts from potential graduate students considering research at Masters or Doctoral level into aspects of science education are welcome.)
- Dr Taber has previously worked in initial teacher education on the PGCE course. He is currently editing the Journal of Trainee Teacher Educational Research (JoTTER), which publishes accounts of small-scale classroom research carried out by graduate students training to be teachers whilst they are on professional placement.
Publications include: *
Taber, K. S. (2013). Classroom-based Research and Evidence-based Practice: an introduction (2nd ed.). London: Sage.
Taber, K. S. (Ed.). (2012). Teaching Secondary Chemistry (2nd ed.). London: Hodder Education. (Sample pages)
Taber, K. S. (2009) Progressing Science Education: Constructing the scientific research programme into the contingent nature of learning science. Dordrecht: Springer.
Taber, K. S. (2007) Classroom-based Research and Evidence-based Practice: A Guide for Teachers, SAGE Publications.
Taber, K. S. (Ed.) (2007) Science Education for Gifted Learners, London: Routledge.
Taber, K. S. (2007) Enriching School Science for the Gifted Learner, London: Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme.
Mclaughlin, C., Black Hawkins, K., Brindley. S., McIntyre, D. and Taber, K. S. (Eds.) (2006) Researching Schools: Stories from a schools-university partnership for educational research, Abingdon: Routledge.
Kind, V. and Taber, K. S. (2005) Science: Teaching School Subjects 11-19, London: Routledge.
Taber, K. S. (2002) Chemical misconceptions - prevention, diagnosis and cure: Volume 1: theoretical background, London: Royal Society of Chemistry; Volume 2: classroom resources, London: Royal Society of Chemistry.
Chapters in Books include
Taber, K. S. (2013). A common core to chemical conceptions: learners' conceptions of chemical stability, change and bonding. In G. Tsaparlis & H. Sevian (Eds.), Concepts of Matter in Science Education (pp. 391-418). Dordrecht: Springer.
Taber, K. S., & Adbo, K. (2013). Developing chemical understanding in the explanatory vacuum: Swedish high school students' use of an anthropomorphic conceptual framework to make sense of chemical phenomena.In G. Tsaparlis & H. Sevian (Eds.), Concepts of Matter in Science Education (pp. 347-370). Dordrecht: Springer.
Nakiboglu, C., & Taber, K. S. (2013).The atom as a tiny solar system: Turkish high school students' understanding of the atom in relation to a common teaching analogy. In G. Tsaparlis & H. Sevian (Eds.), Concepts of Matter in Science Education (pp. 169-198). Dordrecht: Springer.
Taber, K. S. (2013). Conceptual frameworks, metaphysical commitments and worldviews: the challenge of reflecting the relationships between science and religion in science education In N. Mansour & R. Wegerif (Eds.), Science Education for Diversity: Theory and practice (pp. 151-177). Dordrecht: Springer.
Taber, K. S. (2012). Molecular conceptions of research into learning. In N. M. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. SpringerReference: Springer.
Taber, K. S. (2012). Teaching and learning about the nature of science. In J. Oversby (Ed.), ASE Guide to Research in Science Education (pp. 18-28). Hatfield, Hertfordshire: Association for Science Education.
Taber, K. S. (2011). Constructivism as educational theory: Contingency in learning, and optimally guided instruction. In J. Hassaskhah (Ed.), Educational Theory (pp. 39-61). New York: Nova. (Available for free download.)
Taber, K. S. (2011). Computer-Assisted Teaching and Concept Learning in Science: The Importance of Designing Resources from a Pedagogic Model. In B. L. Russo (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Teaching and Teacher Research (pp. pp.891-916, Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World). New York: Nova.
Taber, K. S. (2011). The natures of scientific thinking: creativity as the handmaiden to logic in the development of public and personal knowledge. In M. S. Khine (Ed.), Advances in the Nature of Science Research - Concepts and Methodologies (pp. 51-74). Dordrecht: Springer.
Taber, K. S. (2010). Preparing teachers for a research-based profession. In M. V. Zuljan & J. Vogrinc (Eds.), Facilitating effective student learning through teacher research and innovation (pp. 19-47). Ljubljana: Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana.
Taber, K. S. (2010). Computer-assisted teaching and concept learning in science: the importance of designing resources from a pedagogic model. In B. A. Morris & G. M. Ferguson (Eds.), Computer-Assisted Teaching: New Developments (pp. 37-61). New York: Nova.
Taber, K. S. (2010). Learning about astrobiology: a challenge for the public understanding of science. In S. Hegedűs & J. Csonka (Eds.), Astrobiology: Physical Origin, Biological Evolution and Spatial Distribution (pp. 1-25). New York: Nova.
Taber, K. S. (2010). Intuitions, Conceptions and Frameworks: Modelling Student Cognition in Science Learning In M. S. Khine & I. M. Saleh (Eds.), New Science of Learning: Cognition, Computers and Collaboration in Education. Dordrecht: Springer, pp.163-182.
Taber, K. S. (2009). Progressing the Constructivist Research Programme to Advance Teaching and Learning about the Nature of Science. In I. M. Saleh & M. S. Khine (Eds.), Fostering Scientific Habits of Mind: Pedagogical Knowledge and Best Practices in Science Education (pp. 37-57). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Taber, K. S. (2009). Learning at the symbolic level. Chapter 4, in J. K. Gilbert and D. F. Treagust (Eds.), Multiple Representations in Chemical Education (pp. 75-108). Dordrecht: Springer. ("This chapter…should be required reading for teachers and trainee teachers at all levels", IJSE)
Taber, K. S. (2008) Of Models, Mermaids and Methods: The Role of Analytical Pluralism in Understanding Student Learning in Science, in Ingrid V. Eriksson (Ed.) Science Education in the 21st Century, pp.69-106. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science.
De Jong, O. & Taber, K. S.(2007) Teaching and learning the many faces of chemistry, in Abell, S. K. and Lederman, N. G., Handbook of Research on Science Education, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp.631-652 . (ISBN: 0-8058-4714-6)
Taber, K. S. (2004) Conceptual Development, in Alsop, S., Bencze, L. and Pedretti, E. (editors), Analysing exemplary science teaching: theoretical lenses and a spectrum of possibilities for practice, Buckingham: Open University Press, pp.127-135. [Introduction]
Taber, K. S. & Coll, R. (2002) Chemical Bonding, in Gilbert, J. K. et al., (editors) Chemical Education: Research-based Practice, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers BV, pp.213-234.
Journal papers include
Adbo, K., & Taber, K. S. (2013). Developing an Understanding of Chemistry: A case study of one Swedish student's rich conceptualisation for making sense of upper secondary school chemistry. International Journal of Science Education, 1-30. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2013.844869
Taber, K. S. (2013). Revisiting the chemistry triplet: drawing upon the nature of chemical knowledge and the psychology of learning to inform chemistry education. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. doi: 10.1039/C3RP00012E
Taber, K. S. (2012). Meeting the needs of gifted science learners in the context of England's system of comprehensive secondary education: the ASCEND project. Journal of Science Education in Japan, 36(2), 101-112.
Taber, K. S., Tsaparlis, G., & Nakiboğlu, C. (2012). Student Conceptions of Ionic Bonding: Patterns of thinking across three European contexts. International Journal of Science Education, 1-31, doi:10.1080/09500693.2012.656150.
Taber, K. S. (2012). Upper secondary students’ understanding of the forces acting in analogous atomic and solar systems Research in Science Education
Taber, K. S. (2012). Vive la différence? Comparing ‘like with like’ in studies of learners’ ideas in diverse educational contexts. Educational Research International, 2012(Article 168741), 1-12.
Taber, K. S. (2012). Prioritising paradigms, mixing methods, and characterising the 'qualitative' in educational research. Teacher Development, 16(1), 125-138.
Billingsley, B., Taber, K. S., Riga, F., & Newdick, H. (2012). Secondary school students’ epistemic insight into the relationships between science and religion – a preliminary enquiry. Research in Science Education, 18.
Taber, K. S. (2012). Recognising quality in reports of chemistry education research and practice. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 13(1), 4-7.
Taber, K. S., & Tan, K. C. D. (2011). The insidious nature of ‘hard core’ alternative conceptions: Implications for the constructivist research programme of patterns in high school students’ and pre-service teachers’ thinking about ionisation energy. International Journal of Science Education, 33(2), 259-297
Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F., & Newdick, H. (2011). To what extent do pupils perceive science to be inconsistent with religious faith? An exploratory survey of 13-14 year-old English pupils. Science Education International, 22(2), 99-118.
Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F., & Newdick, H. (2011). Secondary students’ responses to perceptions of the relationship between science and religion: stances identified from an interview study. Science Education, 95(6), 1000-1025.
Taber, K. S. (2011). Patterns in nature: challenging secondary students to learn about physical laws. Physics Education, 46(1), 80-89.
Taber, K. S. (2011). Guiding the practice of constructivist teaching. Teacher Development, 15(1), 117 - 122.
Hofstein, A., Levy Nahum, T., Mamlok-Naaman, R., & Taber, K. S. (2010). Teaching and learning the concept of chemical bonding. Studies in Science Education, 46(2), 179-207.
Taber, K. S & Tan, K. C. D. (2010). The insidious nature of ‘hard core’ alternative conceptions: Implications for the constructivist research programme of patterns in high school students’ and pre-service teachers’ thinking about ionisation energy. International Journal of Science Education, iFirst. doi: 10.1080/09500691003709880
Taber, K. S. & García Franco, A. (2010). Learning processes in chemistry: Drawing upon cognitive resources to learn about the particulate structure of matter. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(1), 99-142.
Taber, K. S. (2010). Straw men and false dichotomies: Overcoming philosophical confusion in chemical education. Journal of Chemical Education, 87(5), 552-558.
Taber, K. S. (2010). Paying lip-service to research?: The adoption of a constructivist perspective to inform science teaching in the English curriculum context. The Curriculum Journal, 21(1), 25 – 45.
Taber, K. S., & Bricheno, P. A. (2009). Coordinating Procedural and Conceptual Knowledge to Make Sense of Word Equations: Understanding the complexity of a 'simple' completion task at the learner's resolution. International Journal of Science Education, 31(15), 2021-2055.
Tan, K.-C. D., & Taber, K. S. (2009). Ionization Energy: Implications of Pre-service Teachers’ Conceptions. Journal of Chemical Education, 86(5), 623-629.
García Franco, A., & Taber, K. S. (2009). Secondary students' thinking about familiar phenomena: learners' explanations from a curriculum context where 'particles' is a key idea for organising teaching and learning. International Journal of Science Education, 31(14), 1917-1952.
Taber, K. S. (2009) College students’ conceptions of chemical stability: The widespread adoption of a heuristic rule out of context and beyond its range of application. International Journal of Science Education, 31(10), 1333-1358.
Taber, K. S. (2008) Exploring student learning from a constructivist perspective in diverse educational contexts. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 5 (1), 2-21.
Adbo, K. & Taber, K. S. (2009). Learners' mental models of the particle nature of matter: a study of 16 year-old Swedish science students. International Journal of Science Education. 31(6), 757-786.
Taber, K. S. (2008) Exploring conceptual integration in student thinking: evidence from a case study. International Journal of Science Education, 30 (14), 1915-1943.
Taber, K. S. (2008) Conceptual resources for learning science: issues of transience and grain-size in cognition and cognitive structure. International Journal of Science Education, 30 (8), pp.1027-1053.
Tan, K. C. D., Taber, K. S., Liu, X., Coll, R. K., Lorenzo, M., Li, J., Goh, N.K. and Chia, L.S. (2008). Students' conceptions of ionisation energy: A cross-cultural study. International Journal of Science Education, 30 (2), pp.263-283.
Cokelez, A., Dumon, A. & Taber, K. S. (2008) Upper secondary French students, chemical transformations and the "register of models": a cross-sectional study. International Journal of Science Education. 30 (6), pp.807-836.
Taber, K. S. & Tan, K. C. D. (2007) Exploring learners' conceptual resources: Singapore A level students' explanations in the topic of ionisation energy. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 5, pp.375-392.
Taber, K. S. (2006) Towards a curricular model of the nature of science, Science and Education. (Published on-line first, 10.1007/s11191-006-9056-4, 40 pages.) [Abstract]
Taber, K. S. (2006) Constructivism's new clothes: the trivial, the contingent, and a progressive research programme into the learning of science. Foundations of Chemistry, 8 (2), pp. 189-219.
Taber, K. S. (2006) Beyond Constructivism: the Progressive Research Programme into Learning Science. Studies in Science Education, 42, pp.125-184.
Taber, K. S. (2005) Developing Teachers as Learning Doctors. Teacher Development, 9 (2), pp.219-235.
Taber, K. S. (2005) Learning quanta: barriers to stimulating transitions in student understanding of orbital ideas. Science Education, 89 (1), pp.94-116.
Taber, K. S. (2003) Mediating mental models of metals: acknowledging the priority of the learner's prior learning. Science Education, 87, pp.732-758.
Taber, K. S. (2003) Understanding ionisation energy: physical, chemical and alternative conceptions. Chemistry Education: Research and Practice, 4 (2), pp.149-169.
Taber, K. S. (2003) Lost without trace or not brought to mind? - a case study of remembering and forgetting of college science. Chemistry Education: Research and Practice, 4 (3), pp.249-277.
Taber, K. S. (2003) The atom in the chemistry curriculum: fundamental concept, teaching model or epistemological obstacle? Foundations of Chemistry, 5 (1), pp.43-84.
Taber, K. S. (2001) Building the structural concepts of chemistry: some considerations from educational research. Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 2 (2), pp.123-158.
Taber, K. S. (2001) Constructing chemical concepts in the classroom?: using research to inform practice. Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 2 (1), pp.43-51.
Taber, K. S. (2001) The mismatch between assumed prior knowledge and the learner's conceptions: a typology of learning impediments. Educational Studies, 27 (2), 159-171.
Taber, K. S. (2001) Shifting sands: a case study of conceptual development as competition between alternative conceptions. International Journal of Science Education, 23 (7), 731-753.
Taber, K. S. & Watts, M. (2000) Learners' explanations for chemical phenomena. Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 1 (3), pp.329-353.
Taber, K. S. (2000) Chemistry lessons for universities?: a review of constructivist ideas. University Chemistry Education, 4 (2), pp.26-35.
Taber, K. S. (2000) Case studies and generalisability - grounded theory and research in science education. International Journal of Science Education, 22 (5), pp.469-487.
Taber, K. S. (2000) Multiple frameworks?: Evidence of manifold conceptions in individual cognitive structure. International Journal of Science Education, 22 (4), pp.399-417.
Taber, K. S. (1998) The sharing-out of nuclear attraction: or I can't think about Physics in Chemistry. International Journal of Science Education, 20 (8), pp.1001-1014.
Taber, K. S. (1998) An alternative conceptual framework from chemistry education. International Journal of Science Education, 20 (5), pp.597-608.
Watts, M. & Taber, K. S. (1996) An explanatory gestalt of essence: students' conceptions of the 'natural' in physical phenomena. International Journal of Science Education, 18 (8), pp.939-954.
Taber, K. S. and Watts, M. (1996) The secret life of the chemical bond: students' anthropomorphic and animistic references to bonding. International Journal of Science Education, 18 (5), pp.557-568.
Taber, K. S. (1995) Development of Student Understanding: A Case Study of Stability and Lability in Cognitive Structure. Research in Science and Technological Education, 13 (1), pp.87-97.