Science educator Larry Yore at Pioneer Park.

Retired UVic education professor earns international science literacy award

Larry Yore recently honoured as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award.

  • Mar. 6, 2012 1:00 p.m.

Larry Yore calls himself Johnny thug of the buzzard reading group.

What might come off as a slightly bizarre statement is very telling of the retired professor’s early motivation behind his career. Yore’s unpretentious attitude made him a legend in education research, as well as the latest recipient of an international award.

“Reading was very, very difficult for me,” Yore said, about being pigeonholed as a bad reader in school. “I had tremendous difficulty in connecting symbols and sounds, but I was in the top math group. I left elementary school with a very low self-concept. I thought because I couldn’t read I couldn’t think.”

Yore went on to study math and sciences in university before eventually completing a PhD focused on language, literacy and science education. He has spent 41 years in education research at the University of Victoria, where he has investigated the relationship between language and learning. His hope is to boost science learning and literacy – an area where he was recently honoured as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award from Virginia-based National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

“The basic assumption by educators is that mathematics is the natural language of science, so when scientific ideas are presented to learners, they’re quickly formalized into abstract equations and formulas – then the problem becomes one of mathematical understanding, rather than the intuitive aspects of what the science is all about,” Yore said. “You might hear, ‘I couldn’t do science because I wasn’t good at math.’”

Robert Anthony, chair of the department of curriculum and instruction, worked alongside Yore on a project within Pacific CRYSTAL, Centre for Research in Youth, Science Teaching and Learning, a research initiative aimed at the promotion and application of science teaching within public schools that ran from 2005 through 2011. Anthony calls Yore not only a mentor, but an open and generous man and an “old-fashioned academic.”

“He’s not territorial. He’s very open with his material,” Anthony said, noting Yore’s continued research despite having technically retired last spring. “He’s present. He’s here. He’s engaging with colleagues all the time. His contributions as a professional colleague have been tremendous.”

The department’s legendary prof – one of UVic’s first two distinguished professors and curriculum and instruction’s longest-serving faculty member – is known to grad students simply as “Uncle Larry.”

“He’s a very much liked man,” Anthony added. “To be his student is to be brought into the circle of the leaders in the field of science education. … He really reflects the best of the kind of contribution that an academic can make and reflects well on the stature that universities aspire to.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

Sidney Lions dish $4,000 to help build on growing trishaw bike charity

Cycling Without Age Society draws attention as far off as Washington

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Most Read