Florida State University

When I was hired at Florida State University in 1987, as professor of science education, my main mission was to rebuild the program in science education which had been placed on suspension. The vision I shared with Robert Lathrop, Dean of Education, was to create a new generation of Science Teacher Educators. This vision would be met by creating a new doctoral program that focused on what we regarded as the production of "triple threats." We expected graduates from our program to be strong in a disciplinary area such as chemistry, foundations of education, and research methodologies. This mission was the focus for the decade that I spent at FSU.

In the time I was at FSU I was major professor for 17 doctoral degree graduates from FSU and 1 from Curtin University. Of these 18 graduates, 17 were primarily involved in science teacher education and 1 became an administrator at the high school level first as a department chair and then as a school principal.

Doctoral graduates from whom I was major professor

01. Carol Briscoe (Florida State University, spring 1991). Cognitive frameworks and classroom practices: A case study of teacher learning and change. Retired from the University of West Florida.

02. Tony Lorsbach (Florida State University, fall 1991). An examination of prospective teachers' beliefs about teaching, learning, and the nature of science. Professor, Illinois State University.

03. Thomas Dana (Florida State University, spring 1992). Achieving comprehensive curriculum reform: An analysis of the implementation of the comprehensive plan for improving mathematics, science and computer education in Florida. Professor, University of Florida.

04. Peter Taylor (Curtin University, spring 1993) An interpretive study of the role of teacher beliefs in the implementation of constructivist theory in a secondary school mathematics classroom. Barry Fraser, co-major professor. Associate Professor, Curtin University, Australia.

05. Craig Bowen (Florida State University, spring 1993). But I came here to learn: Students’ interpretations of their experiences in a College class for non-science majors. Associate Director, Office of Institutional Planning & Research, University of Florida. 

06. Dorian Barrow (Florida State University, spring 1993) Restructuring college level physics for prospective elementary school teachers: A sociocultural analysis of the roles the instructor plays. Lecturer, University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.

07. Sheryl McGlamery (Florida State University, fall 1993). Science and gender: Factors that impact the science learning and achievement of women. Professor, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE.

08. Gilberto Alfaro (Florida State University, summer 1993) Chemistry teaching practices and the social construction of professionalism in Costa Rica. Professor emeritus, Universidad Nacionale, Heredia, Costa Rica.

09. Sabitra Brush (Florida State University, fall 1993) A case study of learning chemistry in a college physical science course developed for prospective elementary teachers. Associate Professor, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA.

10. Jean Olson (Florida State University, fall 1993). Semantic construction of relationships in the curriculum of Algebra II and chemistry. Retired Principal, Merriam Cherry Street Elementary School, Florida.

11. Hedy Moscovici (Florida State University, spring 1994) An interpretive investigation of teaching and learning in a college course for prospective elementary teachers. Professor, California State University-Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA (deceased).

12. Sharon Nichols (Florida State University, fall 1994). Perspectives on teacher learning and science at an elementary professional practice school. Associate Professor, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.

13. Scott Robinson, (Florida State University, fall 1995). A narrative inquiry into the understanding and learning of high school physics. Associate Specialist, Institute for Teacher Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

14. Lilia Reyes-Herrera (Florida State University, fall 1996). The science teacher in action: Relationships between context, beliefs, behaviors and goals in the classroom. Professor emerita, Universidad Pedagogica Nacional, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia

15. Sue Mattson (Florida State University, fall 1997). When world views collide: A study of interdepartmental collaboration to develop a biology curriculum for prospective elementary teachers. Biology educator, Florida.

16. Chris Muire (Florida State University, fall 1997). Analyses of science education reform in Florida: Emerging from the eclipse or trapped in the darkness? Florida Department of Education.

17. Susan Butler (Florida State University, fall 1997). Problem-based learning in a secondary science classroom. Department Chair, Social Sciences, Gulf Coast Community College.

18. Ted Boydston (Florida State University, spring 1999). Interactions of policy-stakeholder groups implementing middle school science standards-based systemic reform. (retired from the University of South Florida)

Research foci

Penny Gilmer, a colleague from the chemistry department at FSU, collaborated with me on a number of important projects to develop innovative approaches to science teacher education. Notably she opted to study doctoral level coursework in science education and to complete a Doctor of Science Education degree from Curtin University as a "second doctorate." Penny was the president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching in 2005.

Penny Gilmer (Curtin University, fall 2004). Transforming tertiary level teaching of biochemistry through action research: Utilizing collaborative learning and technology. The Nancy Marcus Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University. Tallahassee, FL.

My research and development focused on science teacher education and the teaching of science. An important project involved Sarah Ulerick, who was a teacher researcher at the laboratory school of FSU. We expanded on the work we have undertaken at Curtin University to study "why can't Sarah teach the way she wants to teach?" This study involves research on metaphors that we had initiated in Perth. The longitudinal study at Florida High expanded to include research with other teacher researchers and involved visiting scholars such as Steve Ritchie in collaborative ongoing research on teaching science.

In 1989 I collaborated with Michael Matthews from Australia and David Gruender from the Philosphy Department at FSU to obtain funding for the first conference on the History and Philosophy of Science and Science Teaching. This project launched a number of books and special issues of journals and catalyze the formation of a new association with its own journal. The association and the Journal continued to the present time.

In 1993 I was president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, commencing a 3-year cycle that included running the international conference in Atlanta.

Awards during my time at FSU

(1). 1988 AERA Award for relating research to practice (Interpretive scholarship). The award was presented in New Orleans for the paper: Title: Tobin, K.G. (1987). The role of wait time in higher cognitive level learning. Review of Educational Research, 57(1), 69-95.

(2). 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? 

(3). Cattell Early Career Award, 1989. Awarded by the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, 1989.

(4). 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.

(5). Outstanding Position Paper award 1991, Awarded by the South Eastern Association for the Education of Teachers of Science, Stone Mountain, GA. Title: Learning how to teach science. 

(6). Outstanding paper describing an exemplary science teacher education program, 1991. Awarded by the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science. Title: Enhancing science and mathematics teaching.

(7). Outstanding paper describing an exemplary science teacher education program, 1993. Awarded by the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science. Title: Reconstructing science teacher education within communities of learners.

(8). Outstanding position paper award, 1995. Awarded by the Southeastern Association for the Education of Teachers of Science. [With Nancy Davis]. Title: Learning to teach science equitably.

(9). John W. Shrum Award for excellence in the education of science teachers, 1995. Awarded by the Southeastern Association for the Education of Teachers of Science.

(10). Research in Education, 1995. Awarded by the Florida State University chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.

Transition to Urban Education

One of the more successful projects in which I was involved while I was at Florida State was situated in Miami – Dade County. With support of funding from the National Science Foundation we offered master's degrees for elementary and middle school science and mathematics teachers who continued teaching while studying for their research degrees. The program continued for several years and involved more than 300 teachers. We developed an Internet application called Connecting Communities of Learners to provide instructional resources to the participants.  We met face-to-face at regular intervals on the weekend and for intensive periods during the summer. This program that was a collaborative effort with faculty in the College of arts and sciences set the path for teachers taking master's degrees – utilizing intensive summer programs to get their science credits and doing research in their classrooms as partial fulfillment of their studies in science and/or mathematics education. This approach to graduate science teacher education was to be continued when I moved to the University of Pennsylvania. This project also set a context for my move away from FSU to become more specialized in Urban Education.

Expanding international networks

In my time at FSU I developed a number of international connections involving colleagues in Costa Rica, Spain, Taiwan, Panama, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and Singapore.

Among the visiting scholars who spent extended periods of time at FSU were: John de Laeter, Steve Ritchie, Thomas Teates, Wolff-Michael Roth, Nathan Swift, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Olu Jegede, Jane Butler Kahle, Barry Fraser, Peter Taylor, Dale Merkel, Bill Cobern, Pinchas Tamir, Jere Holman, and Jacques Desautels.

Relevant publications relating to research at FSU

55. Roth, W.M., Tobin, K., & Shaw, K. (1997). Cascades of inscriptions and the re-presentation of nature: How numbers, tables, graphs, and money come to re-present a rolling ball. International Journal of Science Education, 19, 1075-1091. 

54. Ritchie, S.M., Tobin, K., & Hook, K.S. (1997). Viability of mental models in learning chemistry. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34, 223-238.

53. Bodner, G. M., Metz, P.A., & Tobin, K. (1997). Cooperative learning: An alternative to teaching at a medieval university. Australian Science Teachers’ Journal, 43, 23-28.

52. Tobin, K. (1997). The teaching and learning of elementary science. In G.D Phye (Ed.), A handbook of classroom learning: The construction of academic knowledge (pp. 369-403). Orlando, FL: Academic Press. 

51. Tobin, K., & Tippins, D. (1996). Metaphors as seeds for learning and the improvement of science teaching. Science Education, 80, 711-730.

50. Roth, W.M., & Tobin, K. (1996). Aristotle and natural observation versus Galileo and (stacked) scientific experiment or physics lectures as rhetorical events. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33, 135-157.

49. Tobin, K. (1996). Cultural perspectives on the teaching and learning of science. In Ogawa, M. (Ed). Traditional culture, science and technology and development - Toward a new literacy for science and technology (pp. 75-99). Tokyo, Japan: Research Project, Science-Technology and Society. 

48. Tobin, K. (1996). Teacher learning, teacher education and educational reform. In Treagust, D.F., Duit, R., and Fraser, B.J. Improving Teaching and learning in science and mathematics. (pp. 175-189).  New York: Teachers College Press. 

47. Ritchie, S.M., Tobin, K., & Hook, K.S. (1995). Exploring the boundaries: A study of multiple classroom learning environments. Research in Science Education, 25(3), 307-322.

46. Tobin, K., Roth, W. M., & Brush, S. (1995). Teaching physics to prospective elementary teachers: Bridging gaps or widening chasms? Research in Science Education, 25(3), 267-281.

45. Tippins, D.J., Tobin, K., & Nichols, S.E. (1995). Constructivism as a referent for elementary science teaching and learning. Research in Science Education, 25(2), 135-149.

44. Lorsbach, A., & Tobin, K. (1995). Toward a critical approach to the study of learning environments in science classrooms. Research in Science Education, 25(1), 19-32.

43. Tobin, K., & LaMaster, S. (1995). Relationships between metaphors, beliefs and actions in a context of science curriculum change. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 32(3), 225-242.

42. Tobin, K. (1995). Teacher change and the assessment of teacher performance. In Fraser, B.J., & Walberg, H. Improving science education (pp. 145-170). Brussels: International Academy of Education. 

41. Tobin, K., & Roth W-M. (1995). Bridging the great divide: Teaching from the perspective of one who knows and learning from the perspective of one who does not know. Proceedings of the History and Philosophy of Science and Science Teaching (pp. 1204-1216). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. 

40. Tobin K. (1995). Integrating science across the curriculum. In Chemistry: Connections to our changing world (pp. 48-49). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. 

39. Tobin, K. (1995). Learning from the stories of science teachers. In A. Haley Oliphant, Exploring the place of exemplary science teaching (pp. 161-180). Washington, DC: AAAS Press. 

38. Tobin, K. (1995) Critical perspectives on constructivism, power, and the mediation of science learning In A. Hofstein, B. Eylon,& G. J. Giddings (1995). Israel—Science education: From theory to practice (pp. 301-309). The Weizmann Institute of Science. ISBN 965 281 0037. 

37. Tobin, K. (1995). Impediments to the improvement of teaching and learning practices in science classrooms in developing countries. In A. Hofstein, B. Eylon,& G. J. Giddings (1995). Israel—Science education: From theory to practice (pp. 279-287). Israel: The Weizmann Institute of Science. ISBN 965 281 0037. 

36. Tobin, K., Tippins, D.J., & Hook, K.S. (1995). Students' beliefs about epistemology, science, and classroom learning: A question of fit. In S. Glynn, & R. Duit (Eds.), Learning science in the schools: Research informing practice (pp. 85-108). New York: Erlbaum. 

35. Tobin, K. (1995). Gender equity and the enacted science curriculum. In Parker, L., Rennie, L., & Fraser, B.J. Gender Issues in Science Education (pp. 119-127). Dordrecht, NL: Kluwer.

34. Hester, M., Nichols, S., & Tobin, K. (1994). What’s happening in science in Florida’s elementary schools? Florida Science Teacher, 10(1), 19-24.

33. Tobin, K. Tippins, D.J., & Hook, K.S. (1994). Referents for changing a science curriculum: A case study of one teacher’s change in beliefs. Science, & Education, 3(3), 245-264. 

32. Hester, M.M., & Tobin, K. (1994). Mathematics in Florida’s Elementary Schools: A statewide survey of mathematics teaching and learning. Dimensions in Mathematics, 14(1), 20-30.

31. Tippins, D.J., Nichols, S., & Tobin, K. (1994). Reconstructing science teacher education within communities of learners. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 4(3), 65-72.

30. Tobin, K., Tippins, D.J., & Gallard, A. (1994). Research on instructional strategies for teaching science. In D. L. Gabel, Handbook for Research on Science Teaching (pp. 45-93). New York: Macmillan.

29. Tobin, K (Ed.). (1993). The practice of constructivism in science education. Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science Press.

ALSO published as

29. Tobin, K. (Ed.). (1993). The practice of constructivism in science education. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, & Associates. 

28. Tippins, D., Tobin, K., & Hook, K. (1993). Constructivist perspectives on the ethical dimensions of teaching. Journal of Moral Education, 22(3), 221-240.

27. Tobin, K. (1993). Referents for making sense of science teaching. International Journal of Science Teaching, 15(3), 241-254.

26. Tippins, D.J., Tobin, K., & Hook, K. (1993). Dealing with dilemmas of laboratory science: Making sense of safety from a constructivist perspective. International Journal of Science Education, 15(1), 45-59.

25. Tobin, K. (1993). Constructivist perspectives on teacher learning. In Tobin, K. (Ed.), The practice of constructivism in science education. Washington, D.C.: AAAS Press. Chapter 13, 213-226.

24. Tobin, K., & Tippins, D.J. (1993). Constructivism as a referent for teaching and learning. In Tobin, K. (Ed.), The practice of constructivism in science education (pp.  3-21). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, & Associates. 

23. Tobin, K. (1993). An interpretive account of a conference on the preparation of elementary teachers of science and mathematics. In A.L. Gardner, K.F. Cochran, & Tobin, K. (Eds). Critical issues in reforming elementary teacher preparation in mathematics and science (pp. 367-392). Greeley, NC: University of Northern Colorado. 

22. Barrow, D., & Tobin, K. (1993). Reflections on the role of teacher education in science curriculum reform. In R. Rubba, L. Campbell, & T. Dana (Eds.), Excellence in educating teachers of science. 1993 Yearbook of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science (pp. 115-130). Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.

21. Tobin, K., & Imwold, D. (1993). The mediational role of constraints in the reform of mathematics curricula. In J.A. Malone, & P.C.S. Taylor Constructivist interpretations of teaching and learning mathematics (pp. 15-34). Perth, Australia: Curtin University Press.

20. Tobin, K., & Dawson, G. (1992) Constraints to curriculum reform: Teachers and the myths of schooling. Educational Technology Research and Development, 40(1), 81-92.

19. Lorsbach, A.W., Tobin, K., Briscoe, C., & Ulerick LaMaster, S. (1992). An interpretation of assessment methods in middle school science. International Journal of Science Education, 14(3), 305-317.

18. Tobin, K. (1992). Ethical concerns and research in science classrooms: Resolved and unresolved dilemmas. Science Education, 76(1), 105-117

17. Lorsbach, A., & Tobin, K. (1992). Constructivism as a referent for science teaching. In Lawrenz, F. Research matters ... to the science teacher. Monograph number 5. Kansas State University: National Association for Research in Science Teaching. 

16. Tobin, K., & Jakubowski, E. (1992). The cognitive requisites for improving the performance of elementary mathematics and science teaching. In Ross, E.W., Cornett, J.W., & McCutcheon, G. (eds.), Teacher personal theorizing: Connecting curriculum practice, theory and research (pp 161-178). Columbia University: University Press.

15. Tobin, K., & Ulerick, S. (1992). An interpretation of high school science teaching based on metaphors and beliefs for specific roles. In Ross, E.W., Cornett, J.W., & McCutcheon, G. (eds.), Teacher personal theorizing: Connecting curriculum practice, theory and research (pp 115-136). Columbia University: University Press. 

14. Gruender, C. D., & Tobin, K. (1991). Science Education. Special issue on the History and Philosophy of Science and Science Teaching, 75(1). Special guest editors.

13. Tobin, K., & Hsiung, C.T. (1991). The process of learning through scientific experiments. Elementary Education, 31 (11, & 12), 2-5. (Article in Chinese).

12. Tobin, K., Davis, N.T., Shaw, K.L., & Jakubowski, E.H. (1991). Enhancing science and mathematics teaching. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 2(4), 85-89

11. Tobin, K. (1991). Anthropological perspectives on science classrooms: Teachers' role perceptions. Florida Science Teachers Journal, 7(1), 9,10,19.

10. Jakubowski, E., & Tobin, K. (1991). Enhancement of mathematics and science teaching. Florida Journal of Teacher Education, 6, 96-107.

09. Gruender, D., & Tobin, K. (1991). Promise and prospect. Science Education, 75(1), 1-8.

08. Jakubowski, E., & Tobin, K. (1991). Building favorable learning environments through the empowerment of teachers and students. In B.J. Fraser, & H.J. Walberg (Eds). Educational environments: Evaluation, antecedents and consequences. London: Pergamon Press.

07. Tobin, K. (1991). Learning from interpretive research in science classrooms. In Gallagher, J.J. (ed.) Interpretive research in science classrooms. NARST monograph series number four. Cincinnati, OH: The University of Cincinnati.

06. Gallagher, J.J., & Tobin, K. (1991). How to write a report of interpretive research. In Gallagher, J.J. (ed.) Interpretive research in science classrooms. NARST monograph series number four. Cincinnati, OH: The University of Cincinnati.

05. Tobin, K. (1990). Social constructivist perspectives on the reform of science education. Australian Science Teachers Journal, 36(4), 29-35.

04. Tobin, K., Briscoe, C., & Holman, J.R. (1990). Overcoming constraints to effective elementary science teaching. Science Education, 74(4), 409-420. 

03. Tobin, K. (1990). Research on science laboratory activities: In pursuit of better questions and answers to improve learning. School Science and Mathematics, 90(5), 403-418. 

02. Tobin, K. (1990). Changing metaphors and beliefs: A master switch for teaching. Theory Into Practice, 29(2), 122-127.

01. Tobin, K. (1989). Learning in science classrooms. In Curriculum development for the year 2000 (pp. 25-38). Colorado Springs, Colorado: Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. 

© Kenneth Tobin 2015