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 9:00 a.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

UPDATED: Police investigating possible link between shooting and crash in Langford

One person in custody, another driver fled following crash on Kelly Road

Saanich’s Marcus Davis hits old football ground Tuesday

Davis played for the Mount Douglas Rams before winning national title for UBC and making CFL

Esquimalt requests public feedback as it plans for plastic bag ban

An online survey aims to gather information before the ban comes into effect in January 2020

Pacific FC puts its best foot forward for inaugural game

Players ‘counting down’ to kick-off day

Belmont students help West Shore residents spring out of hunger

Spring Out Of Hunger food drive takes place on April 24

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

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

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

Most Read