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Reading scientist honoured for a lifetime in education

Dr John Oversby

Dr John Oversby

A long-serving member of the University's Institute of Education has been honoured for his contribution to science education.

Dr John Oversby was presented with the 2011 Education Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, for contributions to chemical education, at the society's awards ceremony in Birmingham on Friday 11 November.

Dr Oversby has spent his career advancing the profession of teaching through collaborative research with teachers, including international research, and has taught in schools across the UK and in Africa.

He is a keen proponent of helping teachers to conduct their own educational research to aid their own professional development. His citation mentions particularly the PALAVA Teacher Researcher group, which he has convened for over 14 years, which helps teachers volunteer for science education research.

The work of the group, including looking at how children learn about science most effectively, has led to significant changes in the learning of sciences in schools.

"If teaching is a profession it is not just about what we do in the classroom but being part of building up the discourse," Dr Oversby said.

"I have always been interested in people learning about my discipline and being excited by it, whether or not they are going to become scientists."

Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the Institute of Education, congratulated Dr Oversby on his achievement.

"I'm delighted that John has been recognised for a lifetime educating children and teachers, particularly in the sciences," he said.

"His work with the Institute of Education is indicative of the University of Reading's leading role in teacher training and educational research in the UK. I and my colleagues have been lucky to work alongside him for many years and he continues to make an outstanding contribution to education through his many roles."

Dr Oversby, 66, was a full-time member of staff at the University of Reading's Institute of Education from 1992 until his official retirement last year, although he continues as a part-time member of staff. He is a visiting researcher at Brunel University and has given evidence to the House of Commons education select committee as a sciences education expert.

He is now co-ordinating the Comenius Life Long Learning Network on Climate Change Education, an international venture joint funded between the European Union and Reading's Institute of Education. Dr Oversby hopes that the scheme will form a key part of the Institute's research agenda when it moves to its new £30million home at the University's London Road campus in January.

He also works as an 'embedded researcher' helping to train colleagues on the job at Prospect School, a secondary school in Tilehurst, Reading.



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