The first PhD Fellows join SEAS

Having experiences as a teacher and and a school psychologist respectively, Eva Roelandt and Hanna Røkenes will through the SEAS-project contribute with important knowledge towards sustainability competencies.

Eva Roelandt and Hanna Røkenes

Eva Roelandt and Hanna Røkenes are the first PhD Fellows to joing SEAS (Photo: Ghent university/Magnus Heie).

How to act in facing climate change

Originally from Finland, Hanna Røkenes is trained as a psychologist, and has a master`s degree in pedagogy. She will use insights gained from psychology and from having worked in collaborative and interdisciplinary contexts to study ways and forms in which agency emerges and develops  when teachers, students, and other stakeholders face climate change issues. She started as a doctoral student at The Department of Teacher Education and School Research at The University of Oslo in March.

– We already know what to do in facing these challenges, but how to do it? I think we can learn a lot more about agency and how to go about different solutions by discussing with different people, Hanna states.

Working as a school psychologist in Finland, Hanna experienced first-hand that young people can be especially creative when their experiences are listened to, when they are encouraged to imagine pathways to solutions and when they are helped by adults. Learning how young people are listened to, encouraged and helped can increase the understanding of how to act in the face of climate change.

In her PhD-project, she will interview varied groups of people, beginning with young people that in some way or another have had personal experiences connected to climate change. She will later interview people from different age groups and with different experiences.

Locally relevant sustainability challenges

– I’m working on a Belgian local network where we support pilot schools and  an environmental education centre to collaborate with local stakeholders on locally relevant sustainability challenges, Eva Roelandt explains. She started as a doctoral student at the Centre for Sustainable Development at Ghent University in February.  

– The tool we use for collaborative planning of open schooling is LORET: locally relevant teaching. Our goal is to upscale LORET in open schooling based on the lessons learned in these pilot cases, and to develop a manual with practical guidelines on the LORET-methodology, she explains.  

Roelandt and her colleagues want to disseminate the LORET-practice through a database with lesson plans, a conference and a train-the-trainer for professionals that will support schools in implementing the tool (e.g. the coaches of the Belgian Ecoschool programme MOS). Eva holds a master´s degree in moral sciences and a teaching degree, and has been teaching what is called value education in primary school for the last eight years. Her ambitions and hopes for joining the SEAS-project is to develop sustainable citizenships:

– I hope that in the co-creation of different stakeholders inside and outside the school, we can experience the sciences as human undertakings which also involves values and political interests. The SEAS-project makes the political and ethical choice to utilise science education for transforming our living conditions towards sustainability, she explains. 

It would be great if we contribute  to the development of concepts, tools and good practices towards sustainable citizenship and a conception of science education that includes capacities such as: critical thinking, reflexivity, empathy and agency, Eva states.

By Magnus Heie, Department of Teacher Education and School Research
Published Mar. 16, 2020 2:42 PM - Last modified Dec. 3, 2020 1:16 PM