Researcher biography

Professor Robyn Gillies' major research interests are in the learning sciences, classroom discourses, small group processes, classroom instruction, and student behaviour. Professor Robyn Gillies has worked extensively in both primary and secondary schools to embed STEM education initiatives into the science curriculum. This includes helping teachers to embed inquiry skills into the science curricula so they capture students' interests, provide opportunities for them to explore possible solutions to problems, explain phenomena, elaborate on potential outcomes, and evaluate findings. In short, through these investigations, students learn how to engage critically and constructively with others' ideas, challenge and rebut proposals, and discuss alternative propositions. In so doing, they learn to talk and reason effectively together. These STEM education initiatives have been funded by research grants and contracts from the Australian Research Council, the Department of Education and Training (DET), the Queensland Museum Network (QMN), and the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT). Professor Gillies is a Chief Investigator on the Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC) where she has been instrumental in implementing two recent science-based research projects in primary and secondary schools to help teachers embed inquiry-science pedagogy into their science curricula. Her recommendations on how teachers can translate research into practice have been widely profiled in the international literature and on the website of the Smithsonian Science Education Center in Washington, DC.