Dr Ralph Levinson

    • B.Sc (Hons), MA, PGCE, Ph.D
    • Reader in Education
  • Department:
  • Summary:
    • Having taught science in London comprehensive schools for 12 years I moved into higher education at the Open University writing a chemistry course and the distance learning science PGCE. My research interests are science literacy and its relations to democracy, teaching and learning of socio-scientific issues and risk, learning chemistry, support of pre-service teachers, enhancing the relationship in schools between science and the arts. I am project leader of an international consultancy team supporting capacity-building of science teacher education in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. I also have strong international links with teachers and researchers in Brazil, Netherlands, France, Portugal, Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Teaching:
    • MA in Science Education (Programme Director)
      PGCE Science
      Ph.D supervision
  • Research:
  • Postgraduate Research:
    • My main areas of interest are:
      - teaching and learning of socio-scientific issues and risk
      - scientific literacy and democracy
      - pedagogy and politics;
      - chemistry teaching and learning.

      Research students
      Sandra Campbell (reflection in student science teachers)
      Alex Dawes (chemistry education)
      Eithne Flynn (professional development of science teachers)
      Angela Hall (design of online tutorials)
      Edward Mifsud (role of dioramas in biology education)
  • Professional Activities:
    • Membership of Editorial Board of:
      International Journal of Science Education
      Reflecting Education
      Pesquisa em educacao ambiental/Research in Environmental Education
      Ways of Knowing (2001 - 2002)

      External Examining:
      PGCE Secondary Science, St Martin's College, Lancaster, 2003 -2006
      PGCE Secondary Science, University of Brighton, 1999 – 2003
      PGCE Secondary Science, University of Hertfordshire, 1998-01; Principal External Examiner, 2000-01
  • Conferences/presentations:
    • Invited Keynote lectures:
      Encontro Nacional de Pesquisa em Educacao em Ciencias (VIII ENPEC): Science Education for democracy: catchphrase, illusion or promise? (7th December, 2011, Campinas-SP, Brazil)
      'The Educational Process in the 21st Century: Facts and Challenges', Conference at An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine (October 17th/18th 2009; funded by The British Council)
      CITizEd conference, Citizenship and Science Education, Manchester (November 2004)
      BioLive conference, Hamilton, New Zealand (July 2003; funded by The British Council)
      Journal of Biological Education sponsored Keynote speaker, ASE, Birmingham (January 2003)
      Valuable Lessons: Stakeholder Conference, Royal College of Pathologists, London (December 2001)
      SPSG Presentation on Valuable Lessons, House of Commons, 2001
      Congresso Brasileiro de Qualidade na Educacao, Brasilia, Brazil (October 2001, invited and funded by Brazilian Ministry of Education)
      Latin American IOSTE conference, Sao Paulo, Brazil (January 2000)
  • Personal Country Knowledge:
    • Palestine - science teacher education
      Brazil - science education and environmental education
  • Languages Spoken:
    • French (basic)
      Portuguese (basic)
  • Languages Written:
    • French (basic)
      Portuguese (basic)
Dr Ralph Levinson

Staff profile

Contact details


  • Levinson, R., Kent, P., Pratt, D., Kapadia, R. and Yogui, C. (2012) 'Risk-based decision-making in a scientific issue: a study of teachers discussing a dilemma through a microworld', Science Education 96(2), 212-233.
  • Levinson, R. (2011) 'How Science Works: teaching controversial issues' R.Toplis (ed.), How Science Works. London: Routledge.
  • Hand, M. and Levinson, R. (2011) 'Discussing controversial issues in the classroom: some helps and hindrances, Educational Philosophy and Theory', Educational Philosophy and Theory
  • Pratt, D., Ainley, J., Kent, P., Levinson, R., Yogui, C. and Kapadia, R. (2011) 'Role of context in risk-based reasoning', Mathematical Thinking and Learning 13 (4), 322 - 345.
  • Levinson, R., Kent, P., Pratt, D., Kapadia, R. and Yogui, C. (2011) 'Developing a pedagogy of risk in socio-scientific issues', Journal of Biological Education 45 (3), 136 – 142.
  • Levinson, R, (2010) 'Planning for progression in science' Frost, J.(ed.), Learning to Teach Science in the Secondary School. London: Routledge, pp 118 – 130.
  • Levinson, R. (2010) 'Science education and democratic participation: an uneasy congruence?', Studies in Science Education 46 (1), 69-118.
  • Levinson, R. and Rodd, M. (2009) 'Pre-service teachers' conceptions of risk: a pilot study', Revista de Estudos Universitários 35(2), 85 – 99.
  • Levinson, R. and Neumann, T. (2008) 'Designing a mixed mode Masters module in Science Education to support shared construction of knowledge and critical reflection', Reflecting Education 4 (1), 92-102.
  • Levinson, R. (2008) 'Promoting the role of the personal narrative in teaching controversial socio-scientific issues', Science and Education 8/9 (17) , 855 - 872.