Curtin University of Technology

In 1987 the Western Australian Institute of Techology (WAIT) was renamed Curtin University of Technology, in honor of Australia's wartime Prime Minister, John Curtin. 1987 was the year I left to assume a position at Florida State University. Because of the time taken to obtain a visa I spent much of the year in Perth, based at Curtin University. By coincidence, I was a physics student when the WAIT was founded at the Bentley campus in 1966. As a student I completed an undergraduate degree in physics, a graduate diploma and master's degree in physics, and a graduate diploma in administration (education) at WAIT. Also I served as a senior lecturer in the Science and Mathematics Education Center at WAIT for several years in the 1980s. Is the mid 1990s I returned to Curtin University to undertake research during a sabattical leave.

Phase 1: Master’s degree

I undertook research for my master’s degree in applied physics in the area of physics education. This research began in 1973 and involved a study of wait time and primary science achievement. The study was situated in the southern suburbs of Perth, in a number of primary schools.

The effect of an extended wait-time on concept formation and problem solving for children in senior primary grades. July, 1977. Masters Thesis (Western Australian Institute of Technology) Supervisor: Dr. Warren Walker.

The research provided a foundation for my doctoral studies at the University of Georgia and involved external written and oral examinations. My external examiners were Barry McGaw and David Boud. Barry provided the suggestion that my follow up research should involve more classroom process data, such as student engagement, advice I followed in the design of my doctoral study.

Publication: Master’s degree

Tobin, K. (1980). The effect of an extended wait-time on science achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, l7, 469-475.

Phase 2: Faculty (1984-86)

I joined the Science and Mathematics Education Centre for three years, although I spent on year of that time at the University of Georgia on a Fulbright award.

Fulbright Award: Senior Scholar category, 1985. The scholarship was awarded for a research and teaching program at the University of Georgia during 1985/1986.

Exemplary practice study in science and mathematics education. This study was an empirical study of exemplary teaching practice, designed to extend the research initiated in the United States: In Search of Excellence.

Awards: Exemplary practice study

04. The Patron's Award for the outstanding paper presented at the 1987 meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. The paper was presented at the annual meeting of NARST at Lake of the Ozarks, MO, April 1988. Title: Tobin, K., & Fraser, B. J. (April, 1987). What does it mean to be an exemplary teacher?

03. Award of merit for a paper published in Science Education in 1987/88. The paper was co-authored with Patrick Garnett. Title: Exemplary practice in science classrooms.

02. Outstanding paper award, 1988. Awarded by the American Association for the Education of Teachers of Science, St Louis, 1988. The award was for a synthesis of research findings with implications for teaching and learning science. Title: Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. What can be learned from studies of exemplary practice?

01. Best paper award, 1989. Awarded by the Special Interest Group on the Study of Classroom Learning Environments, American Educational Research Association, San Francisco. Title: Psychosocial environment of exemplary teachers' classrooms.

Publications: Exemplary practice study

22. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1991). What can we learn from exemplary teachers of science and mathematics? In H. Waxman, & H. Walberg, (Eds) Effective teaching: Current research (pp. 217-236). Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing Company.

21. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1990). What does it mean to be an exemplary science teacher? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 27, 3-25.

20. Tobin, K., & Malone, J. (1989). Differential student participation in whole-class activities. Australian Journal of Education, 33(3), 320-331.

19. Korbosky, R., Fraser, B.J., & Tobin, K. (1989). The potential of case studies of exemplary mathematics teaching. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 20(6), 885-896.

18. Ciupryk, F.A., Fraser, B.J., Malone, J.A., & Tobin, K. (1989). Exemplary grade 1 mathematics teaching: A case study. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 4(1), 40-50.

17. Fraser, B.J., & Tobin, K. (1989). Student perceptions of psychosocial environment in classrooms of exemplary science teachers. International Journal of Science Education, 11(1), 19-34.

16. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1989). Case studies of exemplary science and mathematics teaching. School Science and Mathematics, 89(4), 320-334.

15. Tobin, K., Deacon, J., & Fraser, B.J. (1989). An investigation of exemplary physics teaching. The Physics Teacher, 27(3), 144-150.

14. Garnett, P.J., & Tobin K. (1989). Teaching for understanding: Exemplary practice in high school chemistry teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 26, 1-14.

13. Fraser, B., & Tobin, K. (1989). A study of exemplary science and mathematics teachers. In Matyas, M. L., Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (Eds) Looking into windows: Qualitative research in science education. Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

12. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1988). Investigations of exemplary practice in science and mathematics teaching in Western Australia. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 20, 369-371.

11. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1988). Investigations of exemplary practice in Australian mathematics classes. The Australian Mathematics Teacher, 44(1), 5-8.

10. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1988). Investigations of science and mathematics teaching in exemplary classrooms. Australian Journal of Education, 32, 75-94.

09. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1988). Investigations of exemplary practice in Australian science classes. Australian Science Teachers Journal, 34(1), 23-29.

08. Fraser, B.J., Tobin, K., & Lacy, T. (1988). A study of exemplary primary science teachers. Research in Science and Technology Education, 6(1), 25-38.

07. Tobin, K., Treagust, D.F., & Fraser, B.J. (1988). An investigation of exemplary biology teaching. The American Biology Teacher, 50(3), 142-147.

06. Tobin, K., & Garnett, P. (1988). Exemplary practice in science classrooms. Science Education, 72(1), 197-208.

05. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (Eds). (1987). Exemplary practice in science and mathematics education. Perth: Curtin University of Technology.

04. Taylor, P., Fraser, B.J., & Tobin, K. (1987). Exemplary practice in grade 8 mathematics teaching. The Journal of Science and Mathematics in South East Asia, 10(2), 7-15.

03. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1987). Results and discussion. In Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (Eds). Exemplary practice in science and mathematics education (pp. 201-215). Perth: Curtin University of Technology.

02. Tobin, K. (1987). A comparison of exemplary and non- exemplary teachers of science and mathematics. In Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (Eds). Exemplary practice in science and mathematics education (pp. 15-27). Perth: Curtin University of Technology.

01. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (1987). Introduction to the exemplary practice in science and mathematics education study. In Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (Eds). Exemplary practice in science and mathematics education (pp. 1-13). Perth: Curtin University of Technology.

Research in high school science

When Jim Gallagher came to visit SMEC we designed a study of high school science teaching and learning. The study included a number of graduate students and was situated in suburban Perth, Western Australia.

Awards: High school science

The JRST Award for the outstanding paper published in the Journal of research in Science Teaching in 1987/88.

Title: Tobin, K., & Gallagher, J.J. (1987). The role of target students in the science classroom. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24, 61-75.

The 1987 article published with Jim Gallagher, The role of target students in the science classroom. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24, 61–76, was selected as 1 of the 13 most influential articles published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Re-published 2003 in a special edition of JRST, edited by William Holliday.

Publications: High school science

13. Tobin, K. (1988). Improving science teaching practice. International Journal of Science Education, 10(5), 475-484.

12. Tobin, K. (1988). Target student involvement in high school science. International Journal of Science Education, 10(3), 317-330.

11. Tobin, K. (1988). Differential engagement of males and females in high school science. International Journal of Science Education, 10(3), 239-252.

10. Tobin, K., & Gallagher, J. J. (1987). What happens in high school science classrooms? Journal of Curriculum Studies, 19, 549-560.

09. Gallagher, J.J., & Tobin, K. (1987). Teacher management and student engagement in high school science. Science Education, 71(4) 535-555.

08. Tobin, K. (1987). Forces which shape the implemented curriculum in high school science and mathematics. Teaching and Teacher Education, 4, 287-298.

07. Tobin, K., & Garnett, Pamela (1987). Gender related differences in classroom processes in science activities, Science Education, 71, 91-103.

06. Tobin, K., & Gallagher, J.J. (1987). The role of target students in the science classroom. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24, 61-75.

05. Tobin, K. (1987). High school science. Australian Science Teachers Journal, 32(4), 22-30.

04. Tobin, K. (1986). Laboratory activities in science, European Journal of Science Education, 8(2), 199-211.

03. Tobin, K. (1986). Student task involvement and achievement in process-oriented science activities. Science Education, 70, 61-72.

02. Tobin, K. (1984). Student engagement in science learning tasks. European Journal of Science Education, 6, 339-347.

01. Tobin, K. (1984). Student task involvement in activity oriented science, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 21, 469-482.

Windows into science classrooms

When Jane Butler Kahle and Floyd Nordland came to visit SMEC we undertook a large study of two science teachers at a high school in the southern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. Leonie Rennie, then at the University of Western Australia was a collaborator on this study, as was Maggie Gremlie, from Singapore.

Publications: Windows into science classrooms

07. Tobin, K., Kahle, J.B., & Fraser, B.J. (Eds). (1990). Windows into science classrooms: Problems associated with higher-level learning. London: Falmer Press.

06. Tobin, K., Kahle, J.B., & Fraser, B.J. (1990). Conclusion: Barriers to high level cognitive learning in science. In Tobin, K., Kahle, J.B., & Fraser, B.J. Windows into science classrooms: Problems associated with higher-level learning (pp. 222-241). London: Falmer Press.

05. Tobin, K. (1990). Teacher mind frames and science learning. In Tobin, K., Kahle, J.B., & Fraser, B.J. Windows into science classrooms: Problems associated with higher-level learning (pp. 33-91). London: Falmer Press.

04. Tobin, K. (1990). Methods and background. In Tobin, K.,Kahle, J.B., & Fraser, B.J. Windows into science classrooms: Problems associated with higher-level learning (pp. 14-32). London: Falmer Press.

03. Tobin, K., Kahle, J.B., & Fraser, B.J. (1990). Learning science with understanding: In search of the holy grail? In Tobin, K., Kahle, J.B., & Fraser, B.J. Windows into science classrooms: Problems associated with higher-level learning (pp. 1-13). London: Falmer Press.

02. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B. (1989). Barriers to higher-level cognitive learning in high school science. Science Education, 73, 659-682.

01. Tobin, K. (1989). Teachers as researchers: Expanding the knowledge base of teaching and learning. In Matyas, M. L., Tobin, K., & Fraser, B.J. (Eds) Looking into windows: Qualitative research in science education. Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research on senior colleges

John Williamson, Barry Fraser and I undertook an evaluation study of the senior colleges in Western Australia. The comprehensive study included research on learning environments and uses of the nominal group technique to identify priorities to be addressed in these new institutions – second chance institutions for adult learners.

Publications: Senior colleges

03. Fraser, B.J., Williamson, J.C., & Tobin, K. (1988). An evaluation of some senior colleges. Journal of Educational Administration, 26(3), 311-330.

02. Fraser, B. J., Williamson, J. C., & Tobin, K. (1987). Use of classroom and school climate scales in evaluating alternative high schools. Teaching and Teacher Education, 3(3), 219-231.

01. Fraser, B.J., Williamson, J.C., & Tobin, K. (1987). Evaluating alternative high schools in terms of their classroom environments. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 13, 211-217.

Visiting scholar scheme

An innovative visiting scholar scheme was introduced at SMEC, allowing leading researchers to visit for a period of time to undertake collaborative research. As well as Jane Butler Kahle and Jim Gallagher, Arthur Lucas also visited and worked with me to co-author a paper during his visit. This scheme was a catalyst for new ideas, including research foci and methodologies.

Publications: Process skills

Lucas, A.M., & Tobin, K. (1987). Problems with control of variables as a process skill, Science Education, 71, 685-690.

Co-authoring papers with students

David Treagust and I often discussed the idea of research groups and the obligations for graduate students to publish their work. During my career I have 68 refereed publications with current/former students. While at Curtin I was involved in coauthoring 8 papers with students 5 in the preceding lists and 3 papers listed below.

Papers with students (68 total, 8 at Curtin)

03. Chandran, S., Treagust, D.F., & Tobin, K. (1987). The role of cognitive factors in chemistry achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24, 145-160.

02. Tobin, K., Treagust, D.F., & Chandran, S. (1990). Author's response to the comments and criticisms of Dr. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 27, 611-613.

01. Beresford, R., & Tobin, K. (1988). Variables influencing student attitudes to science homework tasks. Australian Science Teachers Journal, 34(1), 77-80.

Phase 3: Sabbatical leave

In 1994 I undertook a sabbatical leave at Curtin University. The research we undertook during this leave involved a study of the teaching and learning of science in a school identified as challenging. The school catered for working class youth in a southern suburb of Perth, Western Australia.

Handbook

I have maintained continuous collaboration with Barry Fraser. Notably, we co-edited two massive handbooks.

02. Fraser, B. J., Tobin, K. G., & McRobbie, C. J. (Eds). (2012). Second international handbook of science education. Dordrecht: Springer.

01. Fraser, B.J., & Tobin K. (Eds). (1998). International Handbook of Science Education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

Kenneth Tobin 2015