NAFOL profile: Elisabeth Iversen

Elisabeth Iversen. Foto.The outdoors and the learning both contribute to form my identity. I have always loved the outdoors as it affects my leisure interests. I chose to take a Master’s degree in natural management and resources. This is an education in which humans and nature are seen in holistic processes. To get a holistic perspective it is necessary to understand several parts of science (biology, geology, chemistry and physics). Within the management concept, an understanding of relevant legislations has been important. For a short period of time I worked with the county governor, before I was employed at NMBU as a university lector. In the latter, I contributed with the education of teacher students. I got firsthand experience about outdoor science education when the teacher students had outdoor education in their practice periods and when I conducted outdoor education with the teacher students. During this period I saw that learning could happened in the outdoors, however, this was not put into practice, especially in high schools. This was also reflected in the research literature. Further, when employed as teachers I saw that some formerly teacher students were motivated for conduction outdoor science education, but when meeting the everyday life this was hard to do. In my PhD, I want to contribute so that teachers can conduct outdoor science education to bring the real life into science.

I study the matter of how teachers can practice outdoor science education on a high school level. Despite the fact that teachers may want to practice outdoor science education, there are at the same time many challenges that can constrain the outdoor education. These constraints have been identified by earlier research. Some of them are lack of time, founding, equipment, clothing and the fact that the teachers are unsecure of their own role. I have developed an outdoor teacher design based on earlier research. I will test and adjust the teaching design to fit a Norwegian high school context in three cycles. I am now in my second cycle. One of the purposes of the teaching design is to address the mentioned challenges. Two teachers and their science classes at the same high school are participants in the study.

I use design-based research as an approach to my study. How I negotiate with the practice field in a design-based research project will be the topic of my presentation at the ESERA-conference (European Science Education Research Association) and could be the basis for one of the articles in my PhD thesis. 

The NAFOL graduate school offers varied and exciting courses well adjusted to where I am in my research process. Furthermore, it could be considered to be positive that there is a spread in the PhD students’ academic background and studies, a fact that contributes to fruitful discussions and different experiences about educational research, and about how it feels to be a PhD student in this field.

Abstract (docx-file)