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.
Margaretha Häggström University of Gothenburg, Faculty of Education
This article studies how environmental sustainability is integrated in a Storyline, which include learning about and through sustainability, conducted in two primary school classes, Grade 2 (children’s age 8-9) in Sweden. It examines the significant aspects of the Storyline approach in relation to democratic values and young pupils’ sense of agency. In addition, it examines how pupils comprehend the concept of sustainability, and the Storyline approach itself. The empirical material consists of classroom observation and individual semistructured interviews with 20 pupils and 2 teachers. Theories of relational pedagogy are used to analyze the material. The results show that Storyline work depends on a skilled, compassionate and caring teacher, who creates an open climate in the classroom. It is argued that both a pedagogical theoretical foundation, such as relational pedagogy, and a deliberate teaching and learning approach, such as Storyline, are crucial when implementing issues of sustainability in primary school education.
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.
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.
The research group has begun work on the various intellectual outputs according to the schedule. The three action research studies is lead by Kristine Høeg Karlsen and Virginia Lockhart-Pedersen at Østfold College University, Norway, Ann-Catherine Henriksson at Åbo Academy, Finland, and Margaretha Häggström at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Each action research will be carried out separately, although the collected empirical material will be compared and used for at least one common article.
Action research 1, led by Margaretha Häggström has been conducted during spring 2021, in a school, where all teachers and classes already work with The Storyline Approach. It has resulted in three academic articles; one is submitted to an academic journal, two will be proofread first. A review of these articles is in progress and will be published at the project's website in the end of the autumn, 2021.
Action research 2, led by Virginia Lockhart-Pedersen and Kristine Høeg Karlsen is now in progress. Østfold College University had to adjust their research due to the restrictions of Covid. They have conducted a Storyline with student teachers, and have initiated three interviews with students and the teacher educators involved. In addition, they have video-taped the planning meetings before, during, and after implementation, as a base for an article that investigates teachers' planning for Storyline. Two outside schools have been contacted for initial opportunities for teacher observation and participation in a Storyline at the University and observation and implementation of a Storyline at the public schools.
Action research 3, led by Ann-Catherine Henriksson, is in progress. Teachers in a primary school are planning to start a new project "Pupils as agents for sustainability" in autumn 2021.