Doctoral projects

Promoting young children’s ecoliteracy through multiliteracies pedagogy and design thinking

Chin-Chin Wong (Chinny)

My PhD study addresses the need for new pedagogical approaches that can support young children’s (under 10 years old) ecoliteracy. Ecoliteracy refers to the ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and how the Earth’s ecosystems sustain the web of life. It is thought to be essential to understanding complex sustainability issues and the creation of sustainable societies. Integrating multiliteracies, the pedagogy which I develop aims to engage children in exploring their interrelations with natural systems through holistic learning across imaginative stories, art, science, and empirical experience in the natural environment. This study also examines how a design thinking approach can support teachers applying the pedagogy to create ecoliteracy learning activities. By studying the perspectives of children, teachers and education-practitioners in two case studies of applying the pedagogy, my PhD project intends to gain a holistic understanding of the intervention needed to enhance ecoliteracy learning, thus guiding curriculum development.

My research is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture Finland through the  ‘MOI: Joy of Learning Multiliteracies’ research and development program and the KONE foundation. 

Publications included in the dissertation: 

Wong, C. C., Kumpulainen, K., & Kajamaa, A. (2021). Collaborative creativity among education professionals in a co-design workshop: A multidimensional analysis. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 42, 100971.

Wong, C. C. & Kumpulainen, K. (2020). Multiliteracies pedagogy promoting young children’s ecological literacy on climate change. In K. Kumpulainen & J. Sefton-Green (Eds.), Multiliteracies and Early Years Innovation: Perspectives from Finland and Beyond. London: Routledge.

Exploring children’s aesthetic experiences and collective aesthetic reflection in nature through arts-based methods

Jenny Renlund

Addressing the need to develop pedagogies that encourage environmental attentiveness and care, my PhD study aims to investigate the potential of aesthetic experience and collective aesthetic reflection through arts-based methods to support young children’s (3-9 years) care for nature. In doing so, the goal is to generate new research knowledge for children’s aesthetic literacy within environmental education. Drawing on data from workshops with children, my study examines how aesthetic experience and collective aesthetic reflection through arts-based methods interact with children’s care for nature and their social, cultural, and material awareness of themselves as part of nature. Consequently, my PhD research will provide insights into the potential of utilising arts-based methods for developing pedagogies that promote children’s attentiveness and care for nature. Such pedagogical methods can offer educational practitioners relevant resources for exploring the complex and difficult questions of environmental issues with young children.

My PhD research is funded by the Australian Research Council and by the Maj and Tor Nessling foundation.  

Publications included in the dissertation:

Renlund, J, Kumpulainen, K, Byman, J & Wong, C-C. (2021). “From My Balcony I Smelled the Sound of Winter”: Children’s Digital Storying of Their Sensory Aesthetic Experiences in Nature. In K. Kumpulainen, A.  Kajamaa, O. Erstad, Å.  Mäkitalo, K.  Drotner, S. Jakobsdóttir (eds.) Nordic Childhoods in the Digital Age: Insights into Contemporary Research on Communication, Learning. Routledge

Speculating and Lingering in Environmental Education and Research – an ethnographic study of children’s attuning-with socio-ecological worlds

Jenny Byman

In my research, I explore speculative fabulating as a pedagogical method through a two year long ethnographic study in a Finnish primary school, to address parallel timespaces in children’s (7-10 years) storying with socio-ecological worlds. My study adopts digital storytelling, Finnic Baltic myths and multispecies storytelling, to support children to express and share their affectively entangled and meaningful experiences with more-than-human worlds.  Consequently, my PhD research will provide insights into how unexpected, mundane, speculative and unruly storying may offer unexplored educational possibilities to invite children to consider and re-story their relations with socio-ecological worlds, thus providing further pedagogical interventions, such as workshops and pedagogical resources, to schools and early childhood education.  

My PhD research has received funding from the Australian Research Council and by the Kone foundation.

Publications included in the dissertation:

Byman, J., Kumpulainen, K., Wong, C. C. &  Renlund, J. (2022) Children’s emotional experiences in and about nature across temporal-spatial entanglements during digital storying. Literacy (Oxford, England), 56 (1).

Byman, J., Kumpulainen, K., Renlund, J., Wong, C.-C., & Renshaw, P. (2023). Speculative spaces: Children exploring socio-ecological worlds with mythical nature spirits. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 0(0).

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