Next Article in Journal
Using Restorative Practices to Prepare Teachers to Meet the Needs of Young Adolescents
Next Article in Special Issue
Understanding Plant Nutrition—The Genesis of Students’ Conceptions and the Implications for Teaching Photosynthesis
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Development, Uptake, and Wider Applicability of the Yo-yo Strategy in Biology Education Research: A Reappraisal
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 130;

Biology Education: The Value of Taking Student Concerns Seriously

Institute of Education, University College London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 25 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology Education)
Full-Text   |   PDF [233 KB, uploaded 29 August 2018]


This article examines the question of how biology courses can take student concerns more seriously than they often do. The focus is on school biology although the arguments apply to other biology courses too. The article begins by examining Michael Young’s argument that schools should provide students with access to powerful knowledge—the sort of knowledge that they are unlikely to obtain from elsewhere—and compares this with John White’s argument that the curriculum should enable student flourishing, and that as part of this, there should be more student choice about what they study. It then discusses recent work on the benefits of independent research projects, in which students undertake authentic investigative work where they have considerable control over the work, and concludes that these generally motivate students and are a good source of learning for them. It goes on to examine what lessons might be learnt for school biology from the informal learning sector, such as Natural History Museums, where visitors have great autonomy with regard to what they study. Finally, it looks at the concept of ‘worldviews’ and argues that this provides another argument for taking student concerns seriously. The article concludes that taking student concerns seriously in school biology would facilitate human development, in particular, development towards greater student autonomy, and that this can be done in ways that have been tried and allow for high quality biology teaching and learning. View Full-Text
Keywords: biology education; student voice; independent research projects; informal science learning; autonomy; worldviews biology education; student voice; independent research projects; informal science learning; autonomy; worldviews
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Reiss, M.J. Biology Education: The Value of Taking Student Concerns Seriously. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 130.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Educ. Sci. EISSN 2227-7102 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top