Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Tamer Amin

Department of Education

Tamer Amin
Associate Professor
Curriculum Vitae

Primary Office
Office Fisk Hall 239
Extension: 3096

Short Bio

Tamer Amin is an Associate Professor of Science Education in the Department of Education and member of the Science and Mathematics Education Center (SMEC). Tamer Amin obtained an MA in Chemistry from Boston University and an MA and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Clark University. His research focuses on trying to understand the nature of scientific understanding and reasoning, how scientific concepts are learned and the implications of these processes for science education. A theme that runs through much of his work is the relationship between language and scientific thought with an emphasis on the use of metaphor in science. While his research targets issues in science education, it is conducted primarily from the perspective of cognitive developmental psychology, drawing extensively from the field of cognitive linguistics. In a parallel line of research, he examines the challenges multilingual contexts raise for science education in the Arab world.

Research Interests

Area I: Scientific Expertise, Science Learning and Teaching My primary area of research interest deals with characterizing the cognitive underpinnings of scientific expertise, how scientific expertise is acquired and the implications for designing effective science instruction. More specifically, I am interested in what is referred to as “conceptual change,” how conceptual understanding is transformed from lay understanding of the natural world to scientific understanding. This involves close examination of the nature of lay and scientific concepts, describing processes of change and the factors that drive these processes. I am particularly interested in how language (with a particular focus on metaphor) relates to conceptual understanding and its development. This work spans the disciplines of developmental psychology, educational psychology and science education and connects with various themes in cognitive science, more broadly. Area II: Multilingualism in science teaching and learning In a secondary area of research, I am interested in understanding and exploring ways to overcome the challenges that multilingualism presents to teaching and learning science, especially in the Arab world. This multilingualism stems from the use of foreign languages like English or French as a language of instruction of science and mathematics and from the diglossic nature of Arabic which comes in two varieties (Modern Standard Arabic and spoken dialects). I am interested in the impact that this linguistic context has on the quality of student learning, the nature of classroom discourse interaction and the implications for science teaching and teacher education. This is an area that I have been encouraging colleagues at the Science and Mathematics Education Center to treat as a strategic focus for the Center, given the topic’s importance in our region and around the world.


Aug 1997 - May 2002 Clark University PhD
Aug 1995 - May 1997 Clark University Master of Arts (MA)
Aug 1992 - May 1994 Boston University Master of Arts (MA)
Sep 1987 - Jun 1991 American University in Cairo Bachelor of Science (BS)

Honors and Awards

2016 Senior Fellow (EURIAS) Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study, Delmenhorst, Germany.