Co-Director Center for School Reform

Brian  Drayton

Program/Areas of Interest

  • Inquiry in science
  • Electronic communities
  • Teacher change
  • Ecology and life science curriculum
  • Discourse analysis
  • Public understanding of science


Brian has been at TERC since 1986 (with a 4-month hiatus in 1988), working on a wide range of projects, primarily in the following fields:

  • Research: (in projects such as The Inquiry-Based Science Classroom in ContextResearching Science in the Wireless High SchoolUnder the Microscope)
  • Curriculum development: (Biocomplexity and the Habitable PlanetGlobal LabThe Ecology CurriculumAstrobiology, TERC Star SchoolsMBL)
  • Teacher Professional Development: (Hands-On Elementary ScienceTeacher Enhancement in Pedagogy through Ecology(TEPE), Lab-net)
  • Electronic communities: (Lab-netLSC-NetGlobal LabEyes to the FutureMSPNetand IGERT Resource Center; STEM Videohall)
    A new line of research on vernacular science in community groups such as garden clubs, farmers’ associations, parents’ groups, and town government is emerging, under the title “Tracing the Invisible Fabric.” The aim is to understand the content, uses, and social structure of science knowledge and discourse in everyday life.

Before coming to TERC, Brian worked as a freelance editor, ran a rest home for 3 years, and worked in the customer education department of LISP Machine, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in Plant Ecology, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in linguistics. Currently residing in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, he is married to Darcy Drayton, an artist and teacher; and they have two grown sons. Brian is also the author of numerous publications on Quaker spirituality and history.


  • 1999, Boston University, Ph.D. Plant Ecology
  • 1993, Boston University, M.A. Plant Ecology
  • 1978, Harvard University, A.M. Historical and Comparative Linguistics
  • 1975 Harvard College, A.B. Linguistics and Celtic


  • American Educational Research Association
  • British Ecological Society
  • Ecological Society of America
  • International Society for the Learning Sciences
  • National Association for Research in Science Teaching
  • Society for Conservation Biology

Highlighted Publications

Drayton, B. and G. Puttick (2016) Digital design of “smart images”: A design story. Educational Designer. 3:9.

Drayton, B. ( 2015) Interrogating and Reconstructing Practice. Section ii: Present:Within institutions, Introduction. In Eryaman, M.Y. & Bruce, B. C., eds., Handbook of Progressive Education. New York: Peter Lang. pp 231-238.

Drayton, B. and R.B. Primack (2012) Success rates for reintroductions of eight perennial species after fifteen years. Restoration Ecology Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 299–303