How can we awaken interest in science and then keep that interest alive?
After completed secondary education, I worked as substitute teacher in primary schools. I knew immediately that this was something for me so I studied at the Institute of Education and became a teacher in 1975. Later I complemented with studies in mathematics and science and that way I became an Assistant lecturer.
Already during my first semester as a teacher at primary and elementary schools, I was struck by how invisible science was as a subject. Especially physics and chemistry was absent in the daily teaching. That triggered me to try to find ways and methods for a concrete and creative science education in the primary years of school. I tried to develop hands-on, thoughtful experiments with simple equipment. My focus was on how you can raise the pupils interest in science? Another important question was of course also how to keep the interest alive.
After working for 20 years as a teacher in primary school, I was asked to do in-service training for other active teachers. The courses where called “Concrete and creative science and technology”. They immediately became very popular and after doing them for some years in the school where I worked as a teacher they moved to the Institute of Education in Stockholm, where I started to teach and where I was promoted to Assistant Professor.
After some years the Institute of Education became a part of Stockholm University, where I worked part-time at the institution called MND (www.mnd.su.se) Some of the courses I have been responsible for are Curious about science, Creative science and Crosscurricular Science-Math.
I am currently working full time as author and independant science consultant with my own company Science and Music Stocholm AB.
In parallel to my teaching, I have written more than 20 books. These are textbooks and handbooks for teachers. In the year 2000 I was awarded the the prestigious Carl von Linné-medal for the book “Curious about science” as ”Best non-fiction book for children and youth.” The entire series of books with experiments in physics, chemistry and biology are translated to English as “Reactions” and I am also published in Japan. I have also been involved in several television productions.
I have travelled all over Sweden inspiring teachers and also lectured in many other countries: United States, Japan, New Zealand, England, Finland, etc.
I am a board member of CESI (Council for Elementary Science International) and 2010-11 I´m chairman forNSTA’s International Advisory Board.
In 2004 I received the big Swedish Knowledge Prize for my overall work as science communicator and school developer for “an extraordinarily inspiring and comprehensive work as a teacher”.
After ASE conference (The Association for Science Education) at The University of Birmingham 3-6 January 2007:
One experience left all of the other sessions in the shadows: Hans Persson at the Swedish National Centre for Education in Physics (and Stockholm University, Institute of Education) had two sessions: “Creativity in the Science Classroom” and “Curious About Science?
His approach to science teaching was so fresh, vital and inspiring that the session ended in the audience giving standing ovations (the first time I’ve experienced such after a conference lecture).”
— Erik Fooladi, Volda University College
Hello Mr. Persson:
I wanted to let you know that I found your NSTA presentation deeply inspiring and helped me think about teaching science in new ways.