I describe the teaching I’ve done at Leeds on my university website. Here I’m posting some resources that I’ve developed and/or had a hand in developing, in hopes that others might find them useful. Do drop me a line if you have any questions or comments!
Greg Radick “HPS in 20 Objects” University of Leeds 2016
For Anybody Interested in Learning or Teaching History & Philosophy of Science: “HPS in 20 Objects” and Associated Materials
In 2007, when I was heading up the HPS unit at Leeds, I was part of a group of staff and students who banded together to start a new museum, incorporating historic scientific collections from across the University. Among other ambitions, we were eager to find ways to use the objects for the benefit of our students, as described in this report I wrote for the BSHS, which provided crucial early funding. In 2016-7, staff and students again came together for “History and Philosophy of Science in 20 Objects, ” a monthly public lecture programme featuring objects from the Museum. The lectures were very well attended, videos from them are online, and a companion volume is now in preparation. In 2020 I turned the videos into the basis for a free online informal introductory course, which has had hundreds of enrolees from around the world. Along with other Leeds colleagues I contributed to an article setting out the story of the project and its sequels, including a new undergraduate module, and an essay prize for secondary-school students.
For Anybody Interested in Learning or Teaching Introductory Genetics: The Weldonian Curriculum and Associated Materials
Oversimplification of genetic concepts, by scientists, educators and the media, can lead to an overly deterministic view of the role of genes in health and disease, which can affect decision-making on important genetic issues, such as pre-and post-natal genetic testing and reproductive decisions based on the results of such tests. In 2012-14, the Leeds Genetics Pedagogies Project designed and tested a pilot-scale experimental curriculum for introductory genetics that, taking inspiration from the work of the Oxford biologist W. F. R. Weldon (1860-1906), stressed the role of developmental and environmental contexts in modifying the effects of genes (as against the usual stress on “gene for” Mendelism). As reported in Nature in 2016 and more extensively in Science and Education in 2017, my collaborator Annie Jamieson and I found that, where students studying a Mendelian curriculum were as deterministic about genes at the end of the teaching as they were at the start, students studying the Weldonian curriculum were less deterministic about genes at the end of teaching. Annotated slides of Annie’s 9 lectures can be found here; her lecture handouts and module documents can be found here; and an early manifesto for the project can be watched here.
Greg Radick, Hints & Tips on How To Turn a Talk into a Journal Article (With Help From Shapin & Schaffer), University of Leeds 2010
Gregory Radick, For Early-Career Researchers: Hints & Tips on How To Turn a Talk into a Journal Article (With Help From Shapin & Schaffer)
For Early-Career Researchers: Hints & Tips on How To Turn a Talk into a Journal Article (With Help From Shapin & Schaffer)
In 2007-8, when the ever-sparky PhD students at Leeds hosted that year’s postgraduate conference of the British Society for the History of Science, they asked me to contribute to a session on professional skill-building. I decided to talk about the craft of writing a scholarly article, viewed as a kind of genre writing which, like all genres, can best be learned partly by practice and partly by studying good models. The article I analysed by way of example was one of Steven Shapin’s in the Society’s journal, the British Journal for the History of Science. At the time I was serving as the journal’s Book Reviews Editor, so I asked the then-Editor Simon Schaffer for his top tips for getting published, and sprinkled them throughout the talk. It seemed to go down well enough on the day, and I hatched a plan (spoiler alert: irony ahead) to turn it into an article. While that plan was brewing, I gave the talk one more outing, at another postgraduate meeting in Leeds, this one in 2010. The accompanying handout and video come from that occasion. The former was written quickly, and the latter presented informally. I never intended either to have an online life. But my dreamed-of article remains unwritten, so, in the meantime — and with deepest thanks to Berris Charnley for making and then keeping the video — I hope this draft version might be of some interest.
For School Teachers: A Lesson Plan on “Darwin & Design” for 9-11 Year-Old Students
From time to time I’m invited to do a guest spot on Darwin at a local primary school. I use the opportunity to help the students understand Darwin’s explanation of how good design in organisms comes about without a Designer. After an introduction from me on the idea of good design, the students go on to design new and improved woodpeckers, and also to explain how natural selection could bring about those improvements. Here’s the lesson plan in more detail, plus associated slides
“I used this lesson plan with two different year 6 classes at a primary school in Kent, with great success. The children enjoyed designing their own super-enhanced birds and got a good grasp on how evolution can be thought of as ‘design without a designer’. They stopped me in the playground for a couple of weeks afterwards to say how much they had enjoyed it and ask when they could have another lesson like it.” Charlotte Sleigh, University of Kent at Canterbury