Doctoral dissertation: Karen Elizabeth Jordan
Ph.D. student: Karen Elizabeth Jordan
Dissertation title: Integrating character education and the values aspect of environmental and sustainability education: An interdisciplinary study exploring common ground, tensions, and feasibility
Main supervisor: Dr Ólafur Páll Jónsson Professor at the School of Education, University of Iceland, and co-supervisor Dr Stephen Gough Professor at University of Bath.
Opponents are Dr Randall Curren Professor at University of Rochester and Dr Elsa Lee Associate Professor at Cambridge University, Homerton College.
Expert in the doctoral committee was Dr Kristján Kristjánsson professor at University of Birmingham.
Dr Brynja Elísabeth Halldórsdóttir Head of the Faculty of Education and Diversity will conduct the ceremony.
About the dissertation:
Although fostering values is promoted within Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE), and a shift in values seen as essential for a sustainable future, many educators appear uncertain or conflicted about whether, or how, to approach values education. This interdisciplinary research aimed to explore what insights the field of character education (CE) might offer into teaching the values aspect of ESE. Three studies were conducted. Study 1, a philosophical inquiry from an Aristotelian virtue ethics standpoint; Study 2, an instrumental case study carried out at an independent, all-ages, holistic-oriented school in Scotland; and Study 3, an email-based Delphi study, essentially a facilitated group discussion, involving 12 ESE and CE experts.
The findings indicate existing common ground between ESE and CE via school climate/ethos and role-modelling; service-learning; interdisciplinarity, real-world and holistic learning; taking a whole-person or head-hands-heart approach to education; the need to address the human-nature relationship; and the need to redress the purpose of education, particularly regarding challenging instrumentalism and neoliberalism in education. The findings also reveal points of tension between ESE and CE: friction between the need for democracy and pluralism, and the normativity inherent in ESE and CE; and the perceived individualism of CE versus the communitarianism of ESE. The areas of common ground and points of tension suggest possibilities for, and barriers to integration respectively.
About the candidate:
Karen Elizabeth Jordan was born in Devon, England in 1980. She completed a BSc degree in Environmental Biology from Aberystwyth University in 2003, a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education from Oxford Brookes University in 2008, and an MA degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland in 2012. She has worked in the sustainability field for over 20 years, ranging from writing campaign briefings at the NGO Global Justice Now in Scotland, to developing a school programme for a whale museum in north Iceland. Since 2012, Karen has worked as a researcher and lecturer at the School of Education with a focus on environmental and sustainability education.
Ph.D. student: Karen Elizabeth Jordan Dissertation title: Integrating character education and the values aspect of environmental and sustainability education: An interdisciplinary study exploring common ground, tensions, and feasibility