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This book brings together researchers from different countries to share projects that aim to enhance student engagement in science and chemistry in particular. The authors, who are from the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Israel are all concerned with how students can be encouraged and motivated to engage with science, either directly through student projects or through teacher education programmes.

Student engagement and participation in science and chemistry has been the focus of much debate in recent years, as many countries report declining numbers of students who choose to study chemistry beyond compulsory schooling or follow chemistry-related careers. Curriculum developments that have focused on the relevance of chemistry to students’ lives have been influential and many projects reported here build on previous work in the areas of context-based and enquiry-based learning. The range of projects shows how different conditions and approaches in learning environments are conceptualised and implemented to promote student engagement. The rationale for much research in this field is the need to raise aspirations of young people with regard to studying science and following science or chemistry-related careers.

The book includes chapters that show how quality learning environments can be created to optimise student interest and participation, and how interest and relevance can be enhanced by practical research projects or by making links with industry, either through visits to companies by students or teacher–industry partnerships. Other chapters report on outreach projects, where students work with researchers and teachers in a university or other out-of-school setting. These projects provide insights into ways in which outreach experiences can be influential on student engagement.

Curriculum requirements and teachers’ knowledge and experience are critical features of success in many programmes. Through a range of exemplary projects, the book aims to illustrate how engagement can be defined and incorporated into motivating and relevant experiences for young people, and how teachers and other stakeholders can be part of those experiences.

Shirley Simon

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