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

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

Langford light up celebration was the biggest one yet

The city spends about $25,000 annually on Christmas lights

Victoria Literacy Connection needs volunteers for new Reading Partner program

The program will be in five Greater Victoria elementary schools

Inspired by her kindergartners, Oak Bay teacher organizes fundraiser

Sally Hallam’s class is creating calendars to help plant trees

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

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

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

Most Read