Universiteit Leiden

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Research theme

Developing science teachers’ knowledge and beliefs

The objective of this project is to understand the content and structure of science teachers’ knowledge and beliefs, and how these change in the context of pre-service teacher education and educational innovation.

This project has been ongoing since around 2000 and includes a variety of smaller and larger projects. One line of work concerns projects that are carried out in the context of pre-service science teacher education and focused on the general research question ‘how can the development of pre-service science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge be promoted?’. Results have directly impacted the science teacher education programs of ICLON. This work had led to numerous publications with various co-authors, both in academic and professional journals.

Other projects focused on the development of science teachers’ knowledge and beliefs in the context of science education reform. Since existing knowledge and beliefs determine to a large extent how science teachers respond to reform, and, consequently, how they implement this in their practice, understanding these knowledge and beliefs is required before a successful attempt can be made to develop these. This line of work is always closely connected to actual curriculum reform projects in the Netherlands, and aims to impact the policy and practice of these reforms. This work is done with numerous colleagues and PhD students and continues to be very productive.

Finally, some projects are of a more analytical nature, in particular, consisting of reviews of research and position papers in the domain of science teachers’ knowledge and beliefs. The aim is to sketch the progress which has been made in a certain research area, and identify directions for future research. This work is published in handbooks, encyclopedias and review journals, and, through these media, typically has a very high impact.

Selected publications:

Van Driel, J.H., Berry, A., & Meirink, J.A. (2014). Research on Science teacher knowledge. In N. Lederman (ed.), Handbook of Research on Science Education, 2 nd ed (pp. 848-870). London: Taylor & Francis.


Van Driel, J.H. (2014). Professional learning of science teachers. In C. Bruguiere, A. Tiberghien & P. Clement (eds.), Topics and trends in current science education (pp. 139–156) . Dordrecht: Springer.


Van Driel, J.H., Meirink, J.A., Van Veen, K., & Zwart, R.C. (2012). Current trends and missing links in studies on teacher professional development in science education: A review of design features and quality of research. Studies in Science Education, 48, 2, 129-160.


Friedrichsen, P., Van Driel, J.H., & Abell, S.K. (2011). Taking a closer look at science teaching orientations. Science Education, 95 (2), 358-376.


Henze, I. , Van Driel, J.H., & Verloop, N. (2009). Experienced Science Teachers' Learning in the context of Educational Innovation. Journal of Teacher Education, 60 (2), 184-199.

Collaboration with colleagues from ICLON and SEC (TU Delft) and from institutes in various countries.