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I came to the Department in 1982, after 8 years teaching physics and general science in schools in the Edinburgh area. Before that I had graduated in Natural Sciences from Cambridge (Part II in Theoretical Physics), done a PhD in Medical Physics at the University of Edinburgh, and trained as a science teacher at Moray House College.
I contribute to all the teaching programmes in educational studies at York: undergraduate (BAES), PGCE, and higher degrees. I am also Chair of the Departmental Research Committee. I have directed (or co-directed) several large science education projects, most recently as co-ordinator of the Evidence-based Practice in Science Education Research Network, which was part of the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme.
I have also been involved in several major curriculum development projects, including Salters Science, Salters Horners Advanced Physics, AS-level Science for Public Understanding and A-level Science in Society. I co-direct the Twenty First Century Science project, which has developed a suite of GCSE courses with a scientific literacy core, designed to provide a more flexible set of options for schools and students.
My main research interests are: the teaching and learning of conceptually demanding topics in science, especially in physics; the role of science in the school curriculum; the implications of scientific literacy as a curriculum aim; practical work in science, and the relationship between research and practice in science education.
Abrahams, I. (2005) Between rhetoric and reality: the use and effectiveness of practical work in secondary school science.
Saglam, M. (2003) Students’ understanding of electromagnetism at upper secondary school level in England and Turkey.
Kanari, Z. (2000) Children’s performance in tackling science investigations and their reasoning about evidence.
Barker, V. (1994) A longitudinal study of 16-18 year old students’ understanding of basic chemical ideas.
Arnold, M. (1992) Teaching a scientific mental model. A case study: using analogy to construct a model of thermal processes.
Five studies are currently in progress on: improving the teaching of ideas about electric circuits at upper secondary school level; developing better instruments to monitor school students’ understanding of the nature of science; assessing the impact of changes in assessment practices in schools in Bahrain; exploring changes in secondary school pupils’ understanding of fields; impact of CPD courses on the practice of experienced science teachers.
See also Publications 2011
Millar, R. (2011). Reviewing the National Curriculum for science: Opportunities and challenges. The Curriculum Journal, 22 (2), 167-185.
Millar, R. (2010). Analysing practical science activities to assess and improve their effectiveness. Hatfield: Association for Science Education.
Millar, R. (2010). Increasing participation in science beyond GCSE: The impact of Twenty First Century Science. School Science Review, 91(337), 41-47.
Millar, R., & Abrahams, I. (2009). Practical work: Making it more effective. School Science Review, 91(334), 45-50.
Ratcliffe, M., & Millar, R. (2009). Teaching for understanding of science in context: Evidence from the pilot trials of the Twenty First Century Science courses. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(8), 945-959.
Abrahams, I., & Millar, R. (2008). Does practical work really work? A study of the effectiveness of practical work as a teaching and learning method in school science. International Journal of Science Education, 30(14), 1945-1969.
Millar, R., Leach, J., Osborne, J., and Ratcliffe, M. (2006). Improving subject teaching: lessons from research in science education. London: Routledge.
Millar, R. (2006). Twenty First Century Science: insights from the design and implementation of a scientific literacy approach in school science. International Journal of Science Education, 28(13), 1499-1521.
Saglam, M. and Millar, R. (2006) Upper high school students’ understanding of electromagnetism. International Journal of Science Education, 28 (5), 543-566.
Kanari, Z. and Millar, R. (2004) Reasoning from data: how students collect and interpret data in scientific investigations. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41 (7), 748-769.
Osborne, J., Ratcliffe, M., Collins, S., Millar, R. and Duschl, R. (2003) What ‘ideas-about-science’ should be taught in school science? A Delphi study of the ‘expert’ community. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40 (7), 692-720.
Tiberghien, A., Viellard, L., Le Maréchal, J-F., Buty, C. and Millar, R. (2001). An analysis of labwork tasks used in science teaching at upper secondary school and university levels in several European countries. Science Education, 85 (5), 483-508.
Millar, R., Leach, J. and Osborne, J. (eds.) (2000) Improving science education. The contribution of research. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Millar, R. (2000) Energy. In D. Sang (ed.) Teaching secondary physics (pp. 1-43). London: John Murray.
Barker, V. and Millar, R. (1999). Students’ reasoning about chemical reactions: what changes occur during a context-based post-16 chemistry course? International Journal of Science Education, 21 (6), 645-665.
Millar, R., Le Maréchal, J-F. and Tiberghien, A. (1999) ‘Mapping’ the domain - varieties of practical work. In J. Leach and A. C. Paulsen (eds.), Practical work in science education: recent research studies (pp. 33-59). Roskilde, Denmark: University of Roskilde Press/Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.
Millar, R. (1998) Rhetoric and reality: what practical work in science education is really for. In J. Wellington (ed.), Practical Work in School Science. Which way now? (pp. 16-31). London: Routledge.
Millar, R. and Osborne, J. (eds.) (1998) Beyond 2000. Science education for the future. London: School of Education, King’s College London.
Millar, R. and Osborne, J. (eds.) (1998) (PDF , 141kb)
Driver, R., Leach, J., Millar, R. and Scott, P. (1996) Young people’s images of science. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Millar, R. (1996) Towards a science curriculum for public understanding. School Science Review, 77 (280), 7-18.