Dr Syafiq Mat Noor

Dr Syafiq Mat Noor

Profile

I am a Lecturer in Climate Change Education. I joined the School of Education at the University of Leeds in August 2023, having previously undertaken three international postdoctoral fellowships in Scotland, England, and Brunei Darussalam.

At present, I am advancing research and scholarship in science education, with a particular focus on climate change. These endeavours aim to enhance both the national and international reputation of the School of Education. Alongside this, I am involved in teaching across various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, incorporating my expertise into science and climate change education. As a curriculum developer, I am presently collaborating with the Priestley Centre for Climate Futures on the creation and refinement of new academic modules and programmes centred around climate change education. This endeavour is enriched through interdisciplinary collaborations spanning natural science, social science, and the arts and humanities and aligns with the University of Leeds’s ambitious 10-year climate principles and its redefined curriculum programmes.

During my most recent postdoctoral fellowship at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, I pioneered the STEMFunds project, designing a climate change curriculum alongside indigenous communities in Brunei Darussalam using funds of knowledge and participatory action research approaches. The outcome of this project was a benchmark climate change curriculum suited for primary and lower secondary schools. This research project also succeeded in mapping out indigenous funds of knowledge as valuable resources for curriculum designers, academics and researchers. 

During my second postdoctoral fellowship at University of Lincoln, I was involved with the Research-2-Practice project, led by Professor Ian Abrahams and Dr Anita Backhouse. We synthesised thousands of pedagogic research articles and produced 40 research summaries and lesson plans. These encapsulated the best pedagogic practices tailored for teaching nuanced science topics across primary and secondary schools in England. Not only were the research summaries presented in a teacher-friendly language, but they also aimed to foster a deeper engagement with evidence-based research. Thus, these lessons stand as invaluable tools for busy teachers keen on grounding their practices in research.

During my first postdoctoral fellowship at University of Dundee, I was part of a project team led by Professor Samia Khan that explored funds of knowledge. This project investigated the STEM knowledge resources cultivated by children and their families in specific Scottish communities. We facilitated a bi-weekly professional learning community comprising teachers, parents, and community members. The project's objective was to assist STEM teachers in making science education more meaningful and relevant for students, thereby increasing their engagement with the subject. Consequently, we developed STEM curricula centred on bird and energy themes for Scottish primary schools.

Responsibilities

  • Programme Lead for MA Education

Research interests

My academic trajectory is rooted in pedagogical practices in science education, with a particular emphasis on inquiry-based teaching and learning. I focus on primary science, aiming to enhance pedagogical practices that cultivate an understanding of the nature of science and thereby advance scientific literacy. During my PhD and first postdoctoral role, I explored classroom and collaborative action research methodologies. During my second postdoctoral role, I ventured into evidence-informed science education and curriculum development. In collaboration with colleagues, I helped design lesson plans based on empirical research to assist teachers in explaining complex scientific concepts.

In more recent times, climate change education has become a central aspect of my research. I aim to translate the latest climate science insights into school curricula, encompassing professional development for teachers. My goal is to establish a curriculum that not only clarifies the complexities of climate change but also inspires children to take meaningful climate action. This specific research interest evolved during my third postdoctoral position, where I led a nationwide climate change curriculum development initiative, collaborating with a diverse group of stakeholders. I believe that in areas like climate change, the curriculum should act as a driving force to foster community involvement and awareness.

Participatory action research is the philosophy and methodology that underpins my research approach. This perspective is deeply informed by my first and third postdoctoral research experiences. I support participatory and community-based research approaches, believing that impactful research is rooted in deep community and stakeholder engagement. This is particularly relevant in the context of rural and indigenous education, where the theme of social justice resonates. Within participatory action research, I have explored the funds of knowledge constructs developed by children and their families. This approach ensures that education aligns closely with the lived experiences of its main beneficiaries.

 

Research projects

Co-PI: Developing a funds of knowledge, inquiry-based (climate change) primary science curriculum with rural communities in Brunei Darussalam: A critical participatory action research study (Universiti Brunei Darussalam) (2022-2023)

PI: Supporting educators in Malaysia to conduct classroom action research during the COVID-19 pandemic (Susan Noffke Action Research Foundation) (2022-2021)

Research Fellow: Research-2-practice: Research informed science lesson plans for busy teachers (The Wellcome Trust) (2020-2021)

Research Fellow: Enhancing Professional Learning in STEM: Funds of Knowledge (Enhancing Professional Learning in STEM, Education Scotland) (2019-2020)
 

Publications

My publication record caters diverse audiences, encompassing both practitioners and academics. My role as a curriculum developer has seen me design a wide array of curricula, most significantly during my postdoctoral research.

During my first postdoctoral research, I collaborated in crafting bird and energy-themed STEM curricula for primary schools in Scotland. In my second postdoctoral role, I was instrumental in co-constructing research summaries and science lesson plans for both primary and secondary schools in England. In my third postdoctoral position, I worked with colleagues in Brunei Darussalam to develop a climate change curriculum for primary and lower secondary schools.

Within the academic field, I contribute scholarly articles to international and reputable journals and am currently involved in authoring monographs and books. Beyond the academic context, I am committed to crafting publications tailored for practitioners, ensuring it remains both accessible and relevant. Furthermore, I actively collaborate with teachers, encouraging them to delve into research and evidence-based practice. Reflecting my cultural pride, I also write pieces in my native language, Malay.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Qualifications

  • PhD in Science Education (University College London, UCL)
  • MA with Distinction in Education (Science, Maths and Technology)
  • BTeach with Honours (Primary Science Education)

Professional memberships

  • Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN)
  • Association for Science Education (ASE)
  • European Science Education Research Association (ESERA)
  • Malaysian Action Research Network (MARNet)

Student education

I contribute to a range of courses in education, science, climate change education and research methods for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. I particularly welcome prospective PhD students from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities, both from the UK and the global south, who are interested in climate change education, science education, primary science, curriculum development, educational action research, and participatory action research. If these areas align with your research interests, I encourage you to get in touch with me to discuss your ideas and proposals.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Curriculum, Pedagogy and Policy
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>