Reporter 411, 1 December 1997


Professor Rosalind Driver

Rosalind Driver died on 30 October 1997 Ros was appointed as a lecturer in physics and science education at the University of Leeds in 1974, and was awarded a personal chair in 1989. In 1995, she took up the Chair of Science Education at King’s College, London. Her work drew together ideas on cognitive behaviour in children and how they influenced the manner in which pupils learned science. Her PhD thesis was radical at the time – she argued that children’s learning was dependent upon existing ideas about a phenomenon, rather than being limited by a child’s developmental stage.

Her most influential work stems from her period as Director of the Children’s Learning In Science Project (1982-1989) and the Children’s Learning in Science Research Group (1990-1995). Teachers changed their perceptions of children’s learning, and started to respond to children’s thinking more directly in their teaching. During the 1990s, she extended the scope of her work to look at students’ learning of science at undergraduate level. Ros created an atmosphere whereby university researchers and classroom teachers could work together on problems of children’s learning.

In 1995 Rosalind Driver moved to London and was working to develop initial teacher education at King’s, to establish contacts with local teacher networks and to contribute to continuing professional development programmes, as well as to develop her own research. She continued this work with an astonishing energy throughout her fight against cancer.

Her untimely death signals the loss of a major figure from the international science education community. The moving messages of condolence from so many science teachers and science educators bear elegant testimony to the high esteem in which Ros was held. We shall all miss Ros’s energy, her scholarly interests and wisdom and her warmth and friendship.

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David Sugden School of Education

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