Robert’s musings 1


14 March 2016


A Gendered Science Controversy: Are Science Teachers Scientists?


In partial response to Roland’s post of a discussion thread between James Davis and Mike McGarry on 14 March 2016


As the debate/argument/discussion around “Gendered science” between James Davis and Mike McGarry unfolded I was aware how easily I began to agree/disagree with what was being said.   However, I have resisted the temptation to spontaneously join in, either to add support to or challenge the validity of particular comments/statements; or simply to express my own views/opinions on the matter. This reluctance to add my ‘voice’ to that of James and Mike was because I didn’t need to engage in their ‘debate’ to address Roland’s question: Interesting historical reflection, especially the part where James points out that Science Teachers are not Scientists. Any thoughts? However, I did take an initial interest in their ‘discussion’/argument/debate’ from the perspective of what appears to be ‘sabre’ rattling around questions of ‘honour’: and in defence of or the challenge to what appears to be two ‘contrasting/competing’ perspectives of teaching, namely ‘natural science’/social science’.


In my attempt to better understand the nature of this ‘conflict’ between Mike and James. To try and understand their positions/perspectives I read:


Glaciers, gender, and science: Dr. Mark Carey


As I was not able to find the reference “objectivity” (Daston, L., & Galison, P., (2010) suggested by James, I read instead :


200 years of science education reform: teaching science as enquiry: by Eugene L. Chiappetta (Chapter 2)


[Copy the URL into your browser]



Having gleaned some ‘insights’ into both sides of the McGarry/Davis controversy or difference of opinion I wondered about James’ background/biography.


I found the following informative:


Step Up - Transforming secondary mathematics and science pre-service teacher education in Queensland

 Scientific Inquiry in the Classroom


    This project will deliver a learning experience that helps pre-service teachers to understand and teach science in the same way that scientists undertake research.



James Davis is a researcher and sessional academic at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. James has a background in qualitative and quantitative research in health and science education. His current research focuses on analogical reasoning in science teaching and learning, the sociology of emotions in high school science classrooms, and research applications of ethnomethodology.


James is a science educator with prior experience as a clinical researcher in the stroke unit at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. While at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, James managed randomized controlled drug trials in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, and multidisciplinary clinical health research in collaboration with local universities. His practice of clinical science inquiry has involved a range of qualitative and quantitative research designs.


Likewise the following two sites fleshed out more of the detail. The first


Step Up - transforming pre-service teacher education: QUT


Provided a description of the ‘Step Up’ program. The second described the interconnection with ASTA/CONASTA 2015/16.


Step Up CONASTA 2015 Awards



I now turned my attention to Mike McGarry. I accepted his ‘invitation to visit the ‘website’ in anticipation of discovering aspects of his background/biography:


“ … you might consider downloading from my “Middle School Science” web pages on ASTA MOODLE my Biological Sciences Module 3 on “Neuroscience and Teenage Brains” to see how I incorporate self-efficacy theory of Albert Bandura and growth-mindset theory of Carol S. Dewck?”


Unfortunately, not being a member I was denied access.


At this point I lost interest in the McGarry/Davis’ ‘ideological’ debate. However, I did find ‘The Flying Circus’ sketch most apt/insightful/amusing:


Argument Clinic: Monty Python’s Flying Circus

In my next post I will turn my attention to Roland’s question of interest:
Science Teachers are not Scientists. Any thoughts?


Dr. Robert