Victoria Brennan Andrea Mallaburn Linda Seton


The aim of this current research is to investigate teachers’ perceptions of the purpose and impact of chemistry/science outreach work. Considering views of educators, both in training and practice, is an important area to explore as teachers are the gatekeepers to these experiences and consciously or subconsciously have their own views about the value of these programmes. In addition, the teacher can influence a child’s view of their scientific ability which can potentially inform an individual’s decisions and perceptions regarding science as a career. It is necessary for a teacher to be aware of their pivotal role within the classroom and how their own ‘habitus’ may have an impact on those whom they teach.

This pilot study was an illustrative exercise to analyse a small sample of data and provide a focus for a subsequent main data collection where the level of response will be much higher. The study sought to answer the following question; what do teachers in the North-West of England think about chemistry based outreach programmes, especially in the context of children’s social demography? However, no ‘conclusions’ or generalisations are derived from this small sample itself, only emerging themes are discussed. These themes highlight how teachers may perceive chemistry/science outreach to be of greater importance the higher the educational level and how these programmes may provide experiences and opportunities for students from a lower socio-economic background.