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Jonathan Osborne


My research focus is a mix of work on policy and pedagogy in the teaching and learning of science. In the policy domain, I am interested in exploring students' attitudes to science and how school science can be made more worthwhile and engaging - particularly for those who will not continue with the study of science. In pedagogy, my focus has been on making the case for the role of argumentation in science education both as a means of improving the use of a more dialogic approach to teaching science and improving student understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry. I have worked on four major projects in argumentation. The first from 1999-2002 was on 'Enhancing the Quality of Argument in School Science Education'. From this we developed the IDEAS (Ideas, Evidence and Argument in Science Education) materials to support teacher professional learning funded by the Nuffield Foundation. From 2007-2010 I was co-PI on the project 'Learning to Teach Ideas, Evidence and Argument in School Science' which explored how to build teachers competency with the use of this pedagogy in four schools. Most recently, I have worked with Mark Wilson of UCB on a project to develop and test a learning progression for Argumentation in science. Some of this work can be found on the website:

My other area of interest in pedagogy is the teaching of reading and the facilitation of discussion. I have published a book entitled 'Language and Literacy in Science Education' and we are just completing a five year IES funded project - 'Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate' exploring how we can support the teaching of reading in science. We have developed a web site with some of our materials:

And a MOOC called 'Reading to Learn in Science" which is offered by NovoEd and will be run again from Jan 13, 2016 for 12 weeks.

Finally, much science, if not more, is learned outside the classroom and how young people learn in that environment and what it has to offer formal education is another focus of my work and I was one of the partners in the NSF funded Centre for Informal Learning and Schools (2002-7) and have several publications in this field.

Other Titles

Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Education

Program Affiliations

CTE: Science Education

Research Interests

Professional Development | Science Education | Teachers and Teaching

See a full list of GSE Faculty research interests >

Recent Publications

Reigh, E., & Osborne, J. (2020). Dialogic approaches to supporting argumentation in the elementary science classroom. ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF LANGUAGE AND SCIENCE, 164–77.

Osborne, J. F. (2019). Not "hands on" but "minds on": A response to Furtak and Penuel. SCIENCE EDUCATION.

Osborne, J., & Rafanelli, S. (2019). A response to Saleh et al.: The wrong call to action. JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, 56(4), 529–31.

Jonathan Osborne in the News & Media

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