Sindhu Mathai

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Science Education
  • Curriculum Studies
  • Research Methodologies


I have a background in science education, having completed a Ph D from the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, on visuospatial reasoning among middle school children. My recently concluded collaborative research project is on graphical literacy and associated pedagogic practices across school curricular stages. Over ten years at the University I was able to explore the area of Curriculum Studies through teaching as well as myriad experiences in school settings and while mentoring post-graduate students. My research and writing interests are quite eclectic. A previous research project was in the area of informal science learning. This study attempted to characterise hybrid spaces’ that children create and develop while learning science, merging their socio-cultural and science worlds within and outside school. A few of my articles describe experiences and learnings from teaching at the University. During some idyllic years as an undergraduate student pursuing Zoology, I have briefly engaged with research in animal behaviour, primarily through research projects studying butterflies and bees, in the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. I continually reflect on a memorable year-long experience being a teacher of biology at The School, Krishnamurthy Foundation of India, Chennai.


A list is given below. Complete publications are accessible at my ResearchGate site

  • Mathai, S. (2021). The good, the popular and the bad: different shades of theory’ use in educational research. Contemporary Education Dialogue 18(2), pp: 250 – 258. CED. This was based on the conference presentation at the Tenth Annual International Conference of the Comparative Education Society of India, 9 – 11 December 2019. New Delhi: Zakhir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. 
  • Mathai, S. (2020). Critical reflections on making school-level science inclusive and inviting for all. The New Leam 15th September 2020. The New Leam
  • Mathai, S. (2018 a). Children’s funds of knowledge and the role of the school (among other settings) in developing science-related capabilities. Proceedings of the Conference epiSTEME‑7, Mumbai: Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education. 
  • Mathai, S. (2018 b). Gender and Science: Reflections of Women Scientists. Paper presentation at the Ninth Annual International conference of the Comparative Education Society of India. Vadodara: Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. 
  • Mathai, S. (2017). Exploring hybrid spaces through an informal science learning programme. Working Paper No. 8. August 2017. Bengaluru: Azim Premji University. Working Paper Series
  • Mathai, S. (2017). Examining our conditionings: A session with post-graduate students on Critical Pedagogy. Proceedings of the Eighth Comparative Education Society of India international conference, Jammu, India: University of Jammu.
  • Mathai, S. (2014). The role of science textbooks in influencing pedagogical practices: implications for teacher education. In Focus 2.0. February 2014. A newsletter of the Azim Premji Foundation.
  • Mathai, S. (2013). Have humans evolved from apes? An inquiry-based approach to understanding evolution. Learning Curve, Issue on Innovative Teaching Learning Practices, XIX, April 2013. Bengaluru: Azim Premji University.
  • Mathai, S. (2013). Schematisation in biological diagrams: A historical analysis. In Nagarjuna, G., Jamakhandi, A. and Sam, E.M. (Ed.). Proceedings of the Conference epiSTEME‑5, Mumbai: Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR.
  • Mathai, S. (2012). Deconstructing theory practice debates in education: Analogues from Mathematical Biology and Cognitive Science. Proceedings of the Regional Seminar on the Philosophy of Education, 3 – 5 Oct. 2012, Puducherry. Bengaluru: Azim Premji University. PoE conference Paper
  • Mathai, S. (2011). Visuals and Visualisation of the human body in middle school students. Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
  • Mathai, S. and Ramadas, J. (2009). Visuals and Visualisation of Human Body Systems. International Journal of Science Education, Visual and Spatial Modes in Science Learning, 31 (3), pp: 431 – 458.
  • Ramadas, J. and Mathai, S. (2008). Book Review. Visualization in Science Education. John K. Gilbert (Ed.), 2005 Dodrecht: Springer. International Journal of Science Education 30 (15), pp: 2091 – 2096. IJSE-book-review
  • Mathai, S. and Ramadas, J. (2007). Visualising structure and function of the digestive system. Abstract for Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science and Education, Bryant University, RIUSA.
  • Mathai, S. (2007). Visual Thinking in the Classroom: Insights from the research literature. In Natarajan, C and Choksi, B (Eds.) Proceedings of the Conference epiSTEME‑2, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai: Macmillan.
  • Mathai, S. and Ramadas, J. (2006). The visual and verbal as modes to express understanding of the human body, In Barker-Plummer, D, Cox, R. and Swoboda N. (Eds.) Diagrammatic Representation and Inference, Diagrams 2006, LNAI 4045, pp: 173 – 175. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
  • Mathai, S. and Ramadas, J. (2004). Putting Imagery back into Learning: The Case of Drawings in Human Physiology, Proceedings of the Conference epiSTEME‑1, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai.
  • Ramadas, J., Kawalkar, A. M., Mathai, S. (2004). Small Science Class 1 & 2 Teacher’s Book (English), Mumbai: Oxford University Press.