Karim Hamza 2

Karim Hamza

Ställförträdande prefekt, Docent

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Works at Department of Mathematics and Science Education
Telephone 08-120 766 06
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 20 A, E-huset, Arrheniuslab
Room E 367
Postal address Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik 106 91 Stockholm


My research concerns the development of empirically grounded didactic (in the sense of ‘belonging to the teacher profession' or ‘teacher science') tools or models that may be of use to science teachers in their day-to-day practice. I am interested both in methodological and theoretical questions of how to best develop such models in close collaboration with practicing teachers, and in producing actual didactic models. Didactic models and other didactic tools may range from specific heuristics aimed at teaching certain content, over conceptual frameworks which help teachers plan, conduct, and evaluate their teaching, to more general hypotheses for how to reach certain purposes through different ways of teaching. That these models and tools are empirically grounded requires (1) that they build on detailed analyses of teaching and its consequences for learning, and that (2) that they are tested and refined in close collaboration with teachers.

In the three-year project RiskEdu (2018-2020) financed by The Swedish Institute for Educational Research (and formerly financed by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation 2014-2018), science education researchers, subject experts, and expert teachers work together to develop both concrete didactic tools and more general principles and models for teaching about risk and risk assessment in upper-secondary science.

In the network Comparative Didactics and Professional development for Teachers, we develop theoretical and methodological grounds for didactic research to be based on functional collaboration between practicing teachers and researchers.

I currently supervise one PhD-student, Matti Karlström, with an focus on teaching at university. In the project, Matti is studying how pre-service science teachers reason as they plan teaching, how they learn to reflect on their practice also in on-campus courses, and how university teachers may support the teacher students' to develop towards actively reflective practitioners.

Research Projects

RiskEdu (PI: Karim Hamza)

In this project a team of teachers and researchers collaborate to develop didactically relevant and functional principles, or tools, for teaching about risk and risk assessment as a way to support students' scientific literacy. In order to do this we employ a set of research-based resources for teaching about risk assessment as part of a science teaching focusing on Socio-Scientific Issues, in particular issues about radiation and biotechnology, together with knowledge of how to develop professional tools for teaching through repeated cycles of planning, teaching, and analysis. Cycles are audio-recorded and the lessons analyzed for the effects that teaching about risk assessment has on students' ability to make decisions and formulate alternative courses of action in relation to socio-scientific issues, as well as for their learning of science proper. The analyses are then used by the team to draw conclusions about how teaching needs to be modified from one cycle to another. The conclusions are used for developing didactic models and principles for teaching certain science content related to risk issues. The emerging principles are repeatedly tested and refined through each consecutive cycle. Thus, the results from the project will provide a better theoretical as well as practical understanding of the conditions for students' learning of science as part of teaching about risk assessment through socio-scientific issues.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Per-Olof Wickman, Karim Hamza, Iann Lundegård. NorDiNa 14 (3), 239-249

    Didactics and didactic models in science education

    This article reviews what didactic models are, how they can be produced through didactic modelling and how didactic models can be used for analyses of teaching and learning and for educational designs. The article is as an introduction to this Nordina special issue on didactic models and didactic modelling in science education research.

  • 2019. Matti Karlström, Karim Hamza. Journal of Science Teacher Education 30 (1), 44-62

    Although microteaching is a common approach to engaging preservice teachers in reflection on teaching in on-campus courses, this reflection is usually carried out as a separate part. We examined how preservice middle school science teachers reflected amid planning a 20-min microteaching unit on sustainable development. Six groups of preservice teachers were video recorded and their conversations transcribed. We used practical epistemology analysis to analyze moments of reflection in these conversations. The preservice science teachers recurrently engaged in reflection in the course of their planning, which led to changes in perspective concerning important aspects of how to plan teaching that may be considered central for preservice science teachers to learn during their teacher education. Preservice teachers’ reflection was related to the openness of the task, as they had to make decisions about many different aspects of their teaching. Even aspects that are not on the table in a real-world setting, for instance having the possibility of deciding on the age of the target students, led to productive reflection and opportunities for learning. Our results contribute to increased awareness of the possibilities of microteaching for facilitating learning during planning. This may provide science teacher educators with better possibilities of supporting their preservice science teachers’ reflective practice.

  • 2018. Karim Hamza (et al.). Research in science education 48 (5), 963-987

    We present analyses of teacher professional growth during collaboration between science teachers and science education researchers, with special focus on how the differential assumption of responsibility between teachers and researchers affected the growth processes. The collaboration centered on a new conceptual framework introduced by the researchers, which aimed at empowering teachers to plan teaching in accordance with perceived purposes. Seven joint planning meetings between teachers and researchers were analyzed, both quantitatively concerning the extent to which the introduced framework became part of the discussions and qualitatively through the interconnected model of teacher professional growth. The collaboration went through three distinct phases characterized by how and the extent to which the teachers made use of the new framework. The change sequences identified in relation to each phase show that teacher recognition of salient outcomes from the framework was important for professional growth to occur. Moreover, our data suggest that this recognition may have been facilitated because the researchers, in initial phases of the collaboration, took increased responsibility for the implementation of the new framework. We conclude that although this differential assumption of responsibility may result in unequal distribution of power between teachers and researchers, it may at the same time mean more equal distribution of concrete work required as well as the inevitable risks associated with pedagogical innovation and introduction of research-based knowledge into science teachers' practice.

  • 2018. Karim Hamza (et al.). European Educational Research Journal (online) 17 (1), 170-186

    In this paper we present experiences from a joint collaborative research project which may be described as an encounter between a school science teaching practice and a university science didactics research practice. We provide narratives which demonstrate how the encounter between these two communities of practice interacted to produce hybridization between the two in terms of mutual influences, resulting in the conceptual and practical development of both communities of practice. We argue that what happened in the project suggests one way of reducing the gap between educational research and teaching through the emergence of practices where the roles of teachers and researchers become blurred.

  • 2018. Bengt-Olov Molander, Karim Hamza. Journal of Science Teacher Education 29 (6), 504-526

    The development of professional identity during a short-track teacher education program is studied. This article presents how individuals with a strong background in natural sciences describe the teacher education in which they participate. Individual interviews were conducted with 6 student teachers with a doctorate in natural sciences and extensive work experience in science-related professions on 5 occasions during their teacher education. We suggest that shared ways of talking about education and teaching practice can be described as phases summed up as cautiously positive, rejection, acceptance, and complexity. It is argued that problems of development of professional identities can be understood in relation to the design of the teacher education under study, and failure to acknowledge the development of a professional identity as a science teacher among these student teachers is a question of a not unproblematic transformation of professional identities. Implications for teacher education are that the design of teacher education needs to consider a joint frame for the entire education, in particular the relation between practice and theoretical courses.

  • 2017. Ilana Kaufmann (et al.). International Journal of Science Education 39 (12), 1601-1624

    This study explores first-year university students' reasoning as they learn to draw Lewis structures. We also present a theoretical account of the formal procedure commonly taught for drawing these structures. Students' discussions during problem-solving activities were video recorded and detailed analyses of the discussions were made through the use of practical epistemology analysis (PEA). Our results show that the formal procedure was central for drawing Lewis structures, but its use varied depending on situational aspects. Commonly, the use of individual steps of the formal procedure was contingent on experiences of chemical structures, and other information such as the characteristics of the problem given. The analysis revealed a number of patterns in how students constructed, checked and modified the structure in relation to the formal procedure and the situational aspects. We suggest that explicitly teaching the formal procedure as a process of constructing, checking and modifying might be helpful for students learning to draw Lewis structures. By doing so, the students may learn to check the accuracy of the generated structure not only in relation to the octet rule and formal charge, but also to other experiences that are not explicitly included in the formal procedure.

Show all publications by Karim Hamza at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 17, 2019

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