Research Norway

The research in Norway is carried out at Østfold College University by Virginia Lockhart-Pedersen and Kristine Høeg Karlsen.


Three research studies will be carried out within the project. Together the research studies provide knowledge from classroom work in primary schools as well as from teacher education. This knowledge will play a crucial role for further development regarding education and issues of sustainability, both directly at a school level, and indirectly at teacher education. These two directions will enrich the two sectors and build a strong foundation for future work on education that includes sustainability.


The research part of the project will produce at least three academic articles in peer reviewed journals, relevant for improving education for the future. Relevant journals are for example Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development and Environmental Education Research.


The articles will be presented at conferences; apart from the Storyline conference in Gothenburg 2022, we may present the results at Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), Nordisk fagdidaktisk konferens (NOFA) and European Conference on Educational Research (ECER).


The articles will also be presented in popular academic journals. Aim and research questions The overall aim of the research is to explore a meaningful, positive, constructive, active and sustainable way of teaching and learning, and to examine in what ways the implemented Storyline work in the three schools in the three countries addresses perspectives on sustainability. The study will be guided by the questions of what, how, why so, who will do what, for whom are the activities planned, which are the underlying ideas/pedagogical theories, what are the driving forces and what are the anticipated outcomes.


The intention is to elucidate these didactic principles. Research questions:

  • How are the actual lessons planned? (What are they based on theoretically, practically and from what kind of best practice?).
  • What kinds of activities are made possible through the teaching and learning activities?
  • In what way are issues of sustainability integrated in the Storyline?
  • How do the students experience the planned activities? • How is students’ emancipation encouraged through the Storyline-work?


One way of promoting reflective practice and provide a concatenated pedagogical approach, including a creative student-centred pedagogy, is to implement Storyline in educational settings, both in primary school and at teacher education programmes. Storyline is a problem-based, cross-curricular and topic-based approach that focuses on teaching and learning through an advancing narrative (Bell & Harkness, 2013, Ahlquist, 2015). It has a dynamic and flexible approach, inclusiveness towards different learners and recognises multi-sensory dimensions as essential parts of learning process. The Storyline approach has recognised the ‘power and potential of stories in learning’ (Mitchell & McNaughton, 2016, p.9) since the 1960s, when Bell, Harkness and Rendell, at Jordanhill College of Education in Glasgow, developed the Storyline approach (Bell & Harkness, 2016). A narrative frame creates the context in which a number of incidents (the plot) occur. This entails the participants’ ownership and thus control over the learning process (Bell & Harkness, 2013, p. 2). Use of the Storyline approach in the learning process generates surprising incidents in the classroom. The articles will be written in English, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian. The research study has a qualitative multiple approach design, i.e. different synthesising procedures (Brewer & Hunter, 2006, Creswell & Plano Clark, 2010). A qualitative research gives priority to the aims of the research (Morgan, 2007). Focus will be on contexts and interaction and integration, to provide in-depth information about the understanding of concepts and settings. This research design consists of three part-studies, described under each country.


Study 2 Two articles This study will be carried out in Norway, within Teacher Education, were primary and lower secondary school student teachers covering grades 5–10, placement teachers and teacher educators will work together with a Storyline where sustainability is the content of the teaching and learning. The particular Storyline is named, "The Norwegian River Delta", and will take place at Østfold University College. The Storyline will be carried out in the spring of 2021 (week 11 and 12) and will last for eight days in total. Action research (Carr & Kemmis, 1986; Furu, Lund, & Tiller, 2007) generating the following empirical material; interviews, observation and documents, will be used to explore how Storyline can empower student teachers, placement teachers and teacher educators in the teaching of transition to a resilient society. Research questions include: How does a participatory Storyline bring insight on resilience and sustainability to student teachers, placement teachers and teacher educators? What kind of voices and feelings are essential for participants to find their role in the development of an understanding of such complex themes? The result of the Storyline will give insight on how stakeholders can provide for experiences and competences needed when using Storyline as an approach for teaching and learning for sustainability. In total eight teacher educators, two placement teachers and 60 student teachers will participate in “The Norwegian River Delta”. Overall, the activities in this particular project will inform the researchers’ understanding of how to empower student teachers, placement teachers and teacher educators to teach for, and achieve, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and further, how this can give participants more confidence in working with integrated and crosscurricular approaches to teaching to engage pupils and students in purposeful and collaborative learning.

Kristine Høeg Karlsen holds a PhD in educational science from the Department of Education at the University of Oslo and is an associate professor at the Faculty of Education at OUC. She leads the larges research group at this faculty, in addition to a pilot research project funded by the Oslofjord fund, aiming to be developing a new model to support new cooperative practices within The Cultural Schoolbag. She helped establish the Nordic Journal of Dance: practice, education and research, and was the journals first editor. Her research interests are cross-disciplinarily teaching, student active learning approaches, assessment and feedback, as well as aesthetic approaches to learning and dance pedagogy. She has been awarded four times with research scholarships by Østfold University College (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020). Since 2017 she has been a Faculty board member at the Faculty of Education at OUC. She is also educated as a teacher from the Department of Primary and Secondary Teacher Education at Oslo Metropolitan 

University, with specialization in Arts & Crafts at the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design (60 credits, 1 year). Karlsen is a experienced researcher, and has among other things together with Virginia Lockhart-Pedersen published the article “... but, it's really grown on me, Storyline, as practical as it has been: A critical inquiry of student teachers' experiences of The Scottish Storyline Approach in teacher education" in the International Journal: Teaching and Teacher Education", which based on the Scientific Index (NSD, 2019), is ranked to have the highest scientific value. However, Karlsen is also educated a teacher from the Teacher Education at Oslo Metropolitan University. She has been working as a teacher at both primary and lower secondary schools in Oslo, where she carried out several Storylines.



Virginia Lockhart-Pedersen is an Assistant Professor in English and special education. She works at the Norwegian National English and Foreign Language Center and has been part of the Storyline research group since 2017, taking part of the development and implementation of the storyline projects at OUC for sustainable development. Virginia works in professional development for teachers of English in teacher education at OUC and through the National funding of competency development at the local school level at the English and Foreign Language department. As part of the organization of Norwegian national network for English teacher educators, she has contacts throughout Norway. Her research interest include language learning through cross-curricular teaching, and adaptive teaching approaches or students with reading and writing difficulties.

Camilla Blikstad Halstvedt

Hanne Eik Pilskog

Interdisciplinary teaching with creative Covid-19 solution


An article about how the Storyline Team at The Faculty of Education at Østfold University College used digital techniques for over 70 students in an Storyline about a river delta in Norway. The setting was used to work with sustainable development.