Michelle Yuen Sze Tan

Scarfe 2126
6048225201

Title

Assistant Professor

Ways of Teaching and Learning Science

Biology Education

Outdoor Learning

Outdoor Education

Place-based Learning

Educational Neuroscience

Teacher Professional Development; Collaborative Teacher Inquiry (Learning Study; Lesson Study; Action Research)

Curriculum Reforms and Initiatives

Bio

I am a science, biology and teacher educator. My teaching and research interests include Science Education, Outdoor Education and learning, collaborative teacher inquiry, and teacher education. My research focuses on equipping teachers (both pre- and in-service teachers) with innovative pedagogical tools to support learning, both for science learners and beyond the domains of science. My research program is further constituted by the following emphases:

  • Promoting teachers’ learning about their own pedagogies. Within this strand, I engage in research examining teachers’ beliefs and classroom teaching with the purpose of drawing implications for teaching, teacher education programs and policy-making. I also explore the use of different teacher education and professional development approaches, such as the learning study and action research.
  • Theorizing about pedagogy, which includes close examination of curricula and related resources, learning theories and pedagogical approaches from multi-disciplinary contexts. My larger research goal focuses on encouraging teachers to expand their ideas of science teaching and learning beyond the boundaries of Science Education through a more expansive and holistic approach to their synthesis of ideas. Currently, I am interested in how place-based theories, as offered through Outdoor Education provisions, and educational neuroscience (brain-based theories) could intersect and promote new approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Theorizing of how teachers learn in a variety of contexts, such as within teacher research approaches, in formal classroom settings, in the outdoors, and when using digital media production and community focused pedagogies.

Located within different educational levels, my research spans from working with teachers in classroom contexts to collaborating with policy makers in their curriculum conceptualization efforts.  I mainly employ qualitative approaches and take special interest in phenomenographic methods of analysis.

My ongoing research projects include teachers’ engagement with educational neuroscience theories through action research; developing brain-based and place-based theories-framed approaches to teaching and learning; resilience-nurturing environments and classroom practices of “Turnaround” teachers; and students’ engagement with community-based learning through digital media production. My previous research studies focused on beliefs and practices of beginning and experienced science teachers tasked to incorporate scientific inquiry into their classrooms; Singapore teachers’ perceptions of Outdoor Education to support the development and implementation of a new Outdoor Education curriculum; teachers’ engagement with professional learning communities; and science teacher professional development in a collaborative teacher inquiry approach, namely, the learning study.

Before joining UBC, I was a research fellow at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, and taught at the graduate level and in school leadership programmes. Coupled with my experiences as a plant biology major, former high school teacher of biology, and designer and reviewer of science curriculum materials, these experiences provide the platform by which I theorize and explore the phenomena of teaching and learning.

Read Full Profile

Invited Presentations

Tan, Y. S. M. (2017, Feb). Beyond “place” in place-based learning: Developing a culturally-sensitive approach to teaching. Invited seminar presentation to visiting scholars from South China Normal University and Southwest Normal University in China, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Amiel, J., Tan, Y. S. M., Webb, M., Saskoley, E., & St-Amour, D. (2017, Feb). Using current educational neuroscience to improve assessment. Workshop seminar, Independent Schools Association of BC (ISABC) Professional Development Day, Canada.

Amiel, J. & Tan, Y. S. M. (2016, October). Educational Neuroscience-framed Learning Study. Invited presentation, West Point Grey Academy, Canada.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2016, July). An introduction to conducting semi-structured interviews: Practical tips and concerns. Invited seminar/workshop, Office of Education Research Professional Development Series, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M., & Amiel, J. (2016, May). “Place-based Brain-based” Approach to Outdoor Learning: Promoting Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching. Invited seminar presentation, Newly Qualified Teacher Programme (Independent Schools Association of BC), Canada.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2015, Nov). Introduction to Inquiry-based Learning. Invited presentation, West Vancouver Secondary School, Canada.

Tan, Y. S. M., & Atencio, M. (2014, Oct). Outdoor Education Curriculum in Singapore through a “Deliberative” Perspective: Local and International Outlooks. Invited seminar presentation, National Institute of Education, Singapore.

Atencio, M., & Tan, Y. S. M. (2014, Oct). Singapore Teachers’ Perceptions Of Outdoor Education (OE): Extending The Conversation. Seminar and Dialogue with Singapore OE Teachers. Invited seminar presentation, National Institute of Education (and Ministry of Education), Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2013, Jul). Teacher Professional Development in Singapore: Introducing a learning study approach. Invited presentation, EDCI 8970 – Seminar in Teaching and Learning – doctoral seminar, Georgia State University, USA. (delivered online)

Tan, Y. S. M. (2009, Jul). Learning Study’ approach as professional development for secondary biology teachers: An Introduction to the approach. Invited presentation, Methodist Girls’ School, Singapore.

Selected Publications

Caleon, I. S., Tan, Y. S M., Cho, Y. H. (2017). Does teaching experience matter? The beliefs and practices of beginning and experienced physics teachers. Research in Science Education. Doi:10.1007/s11165-016-9562-6

Tan, Y. S. M., & Atencio, M. (2016). Reflecting upon researchers’ and policymakers’ tensions in the collaborative inquiry process: ‘What do different commonplaces contribute to curriculum deliberation?’ Educational Action Research. Doi: 10.1080/09650792.2016.1173565

Tan, Y. S. M., & Atencio, M. (2016). Unpacking a place-based approach – ‘What lies beyond?” Insights drawn from teachers’ perceptions of Outdoor Education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 56, 25-34.

Tan, Y. S. M., & Caleon, I. S. (2016). Dealing with the ambiguities of Science Inquiry. The Physics Teacher, 54(3), 168-171.  

Tan, Y. S. M., & Caleon, I. S. (2016). Problem finding in professional learning communities: A learning study approach. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 60(2), 127-146.

Atencio, M. J., & Tan, Y. S. M. (2016). Teacher deliberation within the context of Singaporean curricular change: pre- and in- service PE teachers’ perceptions of outdoor education. The Curriculum Journal, 27(3), 368-386.

Tan, Y. S. M., & Nashon, S. M. (2015). Promoting teachers’ collaborative exploration of a new science curriculum: the case of a Singapore learning study. Professional Development in Education, 41(4), 671-689.

Atencio, M. J., Tan, Y. S. M., Ho, S., & Chew, T. C. (2015). The place and approach of outdoor learning within an emerging holistic curricular agenda: Development of Outdoor Education practice in Singapore. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 15(3), 181-192.

Atencio, M. J., Tan, Y. S. M., Ho, S., & Chew, T. C. (2015). ‘The strawberry generation… they are too pampered’: Pre-service Physical Education teachers’ perspectives of Outdoor Education in Singapore. European Physical Education Review, 21(1), 31-50.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2014). A researcher-facilitator’s reflection: Implementing a Singapore case of learning study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 37, 44-54.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2014). Enriching a collaborative teacher inquiry discourse – Exploring teachers’ experiences of a theory-framed discourse in a Singapore case of lesson study. Educational Action Research, 22(3), 411-427.

Tan, Y. S. M., & Nashon, S. M. (2013). Promoting teacher learning through learning study discourse: The case of science teachers in Singapore. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(5), 859-877.

More Publications

Book Chapters:

Tan, Y. S. M. (2016). Advancing teacher knowledge – Considerations for a learning study approach. In K. Tan, M. A. Heng, & C. Lim-Ratnam (Eds.), Curriculum Leadership for (Singapore) Schools: Theory, Design and Practice . (pp. 212-228). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Ho, S., Atencio, M., Tan, Y. S. M., & Chew, T. C. (2016). Inclusion of outdoor education in the formal school curriculum: Singapore’s journey. In B. Humerstone, H. Prince & K. Henderson (Eds.), Routledge international handbook of outdoor studies (pp. 277-287). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Tan, Y. S. M., & Caleon, I. S. (2015). Exploring the Process of Problem Finding in Professional Learning Communities Through a Learning Study Approach. In Y. H. Cho, I. S. Caleon, & M. Kapur (Eds.), Authentic Problem Solving and Learning in the 21st Century (pp. 307-326). Singapore: Springer.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2015). Applying disciplinary intuitions into classroom contexts: A constructivist perspective. In K. Y. T. Lim (Ed.), Disciplinary Intuitions and the Design of Learning Environments (pp. 41-52). Singapore: Springer.

Conference Presentation Papers:

Atencio, M., Tan, Y. S. M., & Farnik, H. (2016, Jun). Physical Education Teachers’ Perceptions of Outdoor Education in the Urban Environment: Research into both Singaporean and Californian Case Contexts.  Paper presented at the 2016 International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AISEP) International Conference, University of Wyoming, USA.

Tan, Y. S. M. & Caleon, I. S. (2016, May). Science Education for Learners in Different Academic Streams: Physics Teachers Beliefs and Practices in Singapore. Paper presented at the 2016 National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Annual International Conference, Balitmore, USA.

Tan, Y. S. M. & Atencio, M. (2016, May). Revisiting the Roles of Teachers, Policymakers and Researchers in Curriculum Inquiry: Tensions, Perspectives and Insights. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting 2016, Washington DC, USA.

Caleon, I. S., Tan, Y. S. M., & Cho, Y. H. (2016, May). Resolving an Integrative Conundrum: The Beliefs and Practices of Beginning and Experienced Physics Teachers. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting 2016, Washington DC, USA.

Tan, Y. S. M. & Atencio, M. (2015, Jun). Outdoor education as a context to foster 21st Century competencies and character development? Examining Singapore teachers’ perspectives. In Y. S. M. Tan (Chair), Situating Singapore Outdoor Learning in 21st Century Education. Symposium conducted at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M. & Caleon, I. S. (2015, Jun). Singapore Physics Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching and Learning: Fragmented views of learning in the Context of Science Reforms. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2013, Jun). Rethinking about teaching and learning: Promoting teacher reflection through a learning study discourse. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M. & Caleon, I. S. (2013, Jun). Problem Finding In Professional Learning Communities: A Singapore Case of Learning Study. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Atencio, M. J. & Tan, Y. S. M. (2013, Jun). Teachers’ perceptions of Outdoor Education curricular discourse in Singapore: Insights into teachers’ practical needs and engagements. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Caleon, I. M. & Tan, Y. S. M. (2013, Jun). Experienced and beginning Physics teachers’ beliefs and instructional practices in promoting conceptual and procedural learning of low-achieving students. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2013, Apr-May). Self-study of a researcher-facilitator’s experience: Insights for implementing learning study as a professional development approach. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting 2013, San Francisco, USA.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2012, Nov). Understanding those dissonances: A self-study in organizing and implementing a learning study in Singapore. Paper presented at the World Association of Lesson Studies (Wals) International Conference 2012, Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M. & Nashon, S. M. (2012, Jun). Teacher learning and professional development through a hybridized action research: The case of learning study approach to teaching unfamiliar content in high school Biology in Singapore. Paper presented at the 4th Annual International Conference, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega, Kenya.

Tan, Y. S. M. & Nashon, S. M. (2012, Apr). Advancing teacher knowledge and research through the ‘learning study’ approach. American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting 2012, Vancouver, Canada.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2010, May-Jun). Connecting biology teachers’ professional development to the enactment of a new genetics curriculum – the ‘Learning Study’ approach. Paper presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) Annual Conference 2010, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2009, Jun). Learning Study approach to biology teachers’ professional development. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2008, May). How can we collaboratively bridge our classroom knowledge to theory, in hope to enhance our students’ learning? Introduction to a ‘Learning Study’ approach. Poster presented at the Investigating our Practices Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Tan, Y. S. M. (2007, May). A Classroom study aimed at increasing students’ understanding of genetics through the application of the theory of variation. Paper presented at the Investigating Our Practices Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Research Projects

“Lessons from Resilience-Nurturing Environments: Classroom Practices of “Turnaround” Teachers”. Funded by the National Institute of Education (Singapore), Nanyang Technological University (approx. $228,411 CAD), Research Collaborator. 2016-2019.

“Developing Brain-based and Place-based Theory-framed Approaches to Science Teaching and Learning.” Funded by UBC Faculty of Education HSS Seed Grant ($6,970 CAD), Principal Investigator. 2016-2017.

“Asian Canadian Multimedia Production: Developing Curriculum Materials for Ethical Practices of Community Engagement”. Funded by UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) ($24,450 CAD), Co-Applicant. 2016-2017.

“Supporting Beginning Science Teachers’ Experiences of Teaching: A Case of Learning Study in Canada”. Funded by UBC Hampton Research Endowment Fund ($9,966 CAD), Principal Investigator. 2015-2017.

“A researcher-instructor’s reflection: Promotion of preservice science teachers’ application of theoretical frameworks in their teaching practice”. Funded by UBC New Faculty Start-up Grant ($12,000 CAD), Principal Investigator. 2015.

“Development of an Outdoor Education Curriculum in Singapore through ‘Deliberative’ Perspective – Inclusion of the Commonplace of the Teacher”. Funded by the National Institute of Education (Singapore), Nanyang Technological University (approx. $93,445 CAD), Principal Investigator. 2012-2014.

“Beginning and Experienced Physics Teachers’ Pedagogical Content and Instructional Practices”. Funded by the National Institute of Education (Singapore), Nanyang Technological University (approx. $95,261 CAD), Co-Principal Investigator. 2012-2014.

“A Value-Mediated Approach to Studying Professional Learning Communities in Singapore Schools.” Funded by the National Institute of Education (Singapore), Nanyang Technological University (approx. $238,142 CAD), Co-Principal Investigator. 2012-2014.

Courses Taught

At The University of British Columbia (UBC)

EDCP 556: Theory and Research in the Social Context of School Science

EDCP 512A: Education Action Research

EDCP 453: Biology for Teaching: Topics and Pedagogical Approaches – Secondary

EDCP 354: Biological Sciences – Secondary: Curriculum and Pedagogy

 

At The National Institute of Education (Singapore)

MTC 803: Curriculum Planning and Enacting

MED 871: Educational Inquiry I

MLS (Curriculum projects): Management and Leadership in Schools