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About my “Adventures in Oceanography and Teaching“

Welcome to my blog, where I mostly write about

  • Interesting ideas on learning and teaching: I write about my own ideas and experiences, but also about literature, conversations, conferences, … that touched me in some way and that I am currently thinking about
  • #KitchenOceanography are experiments that can be done with household items, and how to use them in teaching and science communication, and just for my own enjoyment (and most recently: in freediving!)
  • #WaveWatching is about hyper-local expeditions to connect theoretical concepts with the real world (here I show you lots of pictures from where I encounter water in my daily life, and I promise you’ll never look at water the same way as before!)

I started my blog in 2013 when I was a postdoctoral researcher in physical oceanography at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, to have a place to document my #KitchenOceanography. But I kept blogging when I then went to Hamburg University of Technology as educational developer, to the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) for a stint in educational and science communication research, to GEO as a science communicator. Right now, I am an academic developer both at the Center for Engineering Education, Lund University, and at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen. Through all the changes in my career and life, my blog stayed, and grew with me, documenting my “Adventures in Oceanography and Teaching”.

Guest post by Kirsty Dunnett: “Thinking about my positionality as a teacher and researcher in physics education and academic development”

I thought a lot, and wrote (e.g. here), about my positionality in relation to my work recently, inspired by conversations with, and nudging by, Kirsty. Below, I am posting her response to my blog post, where she shares her reflections on her own positionality and also on why and how we need to be careful with demanding, or expecting, or even just implying that we think people should be, sharing that kind of information. Definitely worth a read, thank you so much for sharing, Kirsty!

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Currently reading about how to successfully organize team work in student groups

Quick summary of this month’s iEarth Journal Club article: Clinton & Smith (2009) focus on how to “make” students take on responsibility in team work through team contracts and peer evaluation, in the context of cooperative learning. My summary below, and the strong recommendation to read what Oakley et al. (2004) have to say about “Turning student groups into effective teams” (see also featured image). That latter article is really one of the most useful articles I have come across over many years of reading, including a great FAQ section, and templates.

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Currently Reading “Advancing Student Engagement in Higher Education: Reflection, Critique and Challenge” (Lowe, 2023)

Students can engage in higher education in different ways: behavioral, emotional, cognitive, or in any combination of those. Traditionally, this is seen as engagement with the curriculum inside the classroom, but increasingly the view of student engagement is widened to include forms where students take more ownership of their own learning, for example when becoming involved in (re)designing curriculum as student partners who are currently taking a course (or not), co-creating learning with a whole course, influencing learning on a program level (whether enrolled in the program or not), or influencing the bigger setting through engagement with services like university libraries, or in developing religious diversity training. In the book “Advancing Student Engagement in Higher Education: Reflection, Critique and Challenge”, Lowe (2023) brings together 25 chapters from 36 contributors, exploring and highlighting different aspects from very different perspectives. I am summarizing my personal main takeaways below.

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Exploring another serious game for teaching for sustainability

Yesterday evening I joined a group of 14 teachers who met up to learn from, and support, our colleague, Ester Barinaga, who wanted to try a new game for teaching purposes and needed guinea-pigs to test it on. The topic was money: contrary to popular belief, money is not at all neutral, and what currency is available, who distributes money and how, what rules exist for trading, … have huge effects on how an economy develops. We explored different aspects through variations of a very simple setup and had space to express emotions and reflect on what happened under different conditions.

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Currently reading about wicked problems in teaching for sustainability

As part of my “Teaching for Sustainability” course, participants find & summarize articles that are relevant for developing their own teaching. From their summaries, the two articles below on using “wicked problems” in teaching for sustainability seemed so interesting that I had to go and read (and summarize) them myself…

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Summarizing more literature on trust between students and teachers

The assumption that teacher-student relationships are important has been around for a long time and is probably uncontested. But when it comes to describing what exactly makes a good relationship, there is no consensus yet, and many aspects, like a sense of belonging, or the teacher caring, or trust in teachers, have been investigated. Here comes my summary of some of the relevant literature on trust that students have in teachers, and how that trust can potentially be fostered and grown.

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Mindfulness in teaching (Brendel & Cornett-Murtada, 2019)

Recently I was very provoked by a colleague’s comment about how mindfulness practices lead to people’s focus being so inward that they will only strive to optimize their own lives and forget about the world outside that needs attention, and how it is “cruel optimism” to suggest to people that all can be well if only they do their mindfulness practices. Toxic positivity like that is never good, and neither is detaching from the world and stopping working against systemic injustices. However, mindfulness (and breathing practices, like we do for freediving training) can also be used to draw energy and inspiration from within in order to use it to change the world, and one application of just that in teaching is explored in the study that I am summarizing below.

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