Dr Phil Johnson
After gaining a degree in Chemistry at Imperial College (1977) and a PGCE at Southampton (1979), Philip Johnson taught for thirteen years in comprehensive schools before joining the School of Education (1992). Since then he has taught and supervised students on a wide range of courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
For his PhD (part-time), Philip conducted a three year longitudinal study into the development of pupils' understanding in Chemistry (started whilst teaching in his last school and completed in 1995). His research into students' understanding in Chemistry has continued and broadened to include other substantive areas of science and procedural understanding with respect to data and evidence. Recently, he completed an ESRC funded project (2008) which developed a computer-based assessment instrument in Chemistry to collect large-scale data. Rasch analysis indicates the existence of a learning progression with widespread application. Moreover, the findings highlight a severe mismatch between the curriculum and students' needs as learners (click here for a two-page summary).
Overall, this work seeks to inform our understanding of conceptual change and curriculum design. The research is pointing to previously unidentified inadequacies (flaws) in the specification of the 'standard' science curriculum. Seen from this perspective, the widely recognised problems of science education are only to be expected. Therefore, the research is fundamental in nature and holds the prospect of achieving a significant positive impact on science education.
Enquiries from potential postgraduate students wishing to pursue thesis studies into students' scientific understanding, in all subject areas and at all levels, are welcome.
- Conceptual change
- Curriculum development
- Science education
Journal papers: academic
- Johnson, P. & Papageorgiou, G. (2008). Explaining melting and evaporation below boiling point: can software help with particle ideas? Research in Science and Technology 26(2): 165-183.
- P. Johnson & G. Papageorgiou (2005). Do particle ideas help or hinder pupils' understanding of phenomena?. International Journal of Science Education 27(11): 1299-1317.
- P. Johnson, E. Pekmez & R. Gott (2005). Teachers' understanding of the nature and purpose of practical work. Research in Science & Technology Education 23(1): 3-23.
- P.M. Johnson (2005). The development of children's concept of a substance: A longitudinal study of interaction between curriculum and learning. Research in Science Education 35(1): 41-61.
- P.M. Johnson (2002). Children's Understanding of Substances, Part 2: Explaining Chemical Change. International Journal of Science Education 24(10): 1037 - 1054.
- P.M. Johnson (2000). Children's Understanding of Substances, Part 1: Recognising Chemical Change. International Journal of Science Education 22(7): 719-737.
- R. Gott & P. Johnson (1999). Science in Schools: time to pause for thought? School Science Review 81: 21-28.
- P.M. Johnson (1998). Children's Understanding of Changes of State Involving the Gas State, Part 1: Boiling Water and the Particle Theory. International Journal of Science Education 20(5): 567-583.
- P.M. Johnson (1998). Children's Understanding of Changes of State Involving the Gas State, Part 2: Evaporation and Condensation Below Boiling Point. International Journal of Science Education 20(6): 695-709.
- P.M. Johnson (1998). Progression in Children's Understanding of a 'Basic' Particle Theory: A Longitudinal Study. International Journal of Science Education 20(4): 393-412.
- R. Gott & P. Johnson (1996). Constructivism and Evidence From Children's Ideas. Science Education 80(5): 561-577.
Journal papers: online
- Johnson, P.M. & Papageorgiou, G. (2009). Rethinking the introduction of particle theory: A substance-based framework. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 47(2): 130-150.
- Papageorgiou, G., Grammaticopoulou, M. & Johnson, P. (2009). Should we teach primary pupils about chemical change? International Journal of Science Education (iFirst Article).