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Doctoral presentation on how teachers learn

On Thursday May 3, Ellen Ramvi defends her doctoral thesis at Roskilde University Center in Denmark on Learning by Doing? A Psychoanalytical View on How Teachers Learn.

The thesis is an empirically based investigation of junior high school (Britain: comprehensive school) teachers' opportunities and conditions for "learning by doing" in the special meaning of the term given by W. Bion in his psychoanalytical theory. Data have been collected from observations and from more or less structured conversations with teachers at two Norwegian junior high schools (comprehensive schools).

Learning gets blocked
The material has been analyzed in two steps: First a phenomenological analysis closely related to the teachers' descriptions and reflections on their own work and its challenges and difficulties, followed by adopting a psychoanalytical perspective on the phenomenological results of the analysis.

The analysis shows an ordinary situation for the teachers and a school organization where "learning by doing" is largely thwarted in a combination between teachers' avoidance of their identity threatening and anxiety filled experiences in connection with the basic challenges of teaching (mainly in relation to their pupils) and the inability of the school to make room for a processing of these experiences.

Workplace environment and health
Ellen Ramvi has an master's degree in special education and is originally a nurse with experience from health and social work. She has carried out research on work and health at Rogaland Research before getting a research fellowship at the Center for Behavioral Research at the University of Stavanger. Ellen Ramvi now works in the Department of Health Studies at UiS.

Her doctoral work has been supervised by Birger Steen Nielsen at Forskerskolen i Livslang Læring at the Institut for Psykologi og Uddannelsesforskning at Roskilde University Center (RUC). Gerd Abrahamsen has been assistant supervisor at UiS.

The members of the expert committee are Kirsten Weber, professor at the Institut for Psykologi og Uddannelsesforskning, RUC, Judy Gammelgård, assistant professor, dr.phil. at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, and Peter Henrik Raae, assistant professor, ph.d at the Institut for Filosofi, Pædagogik og Religionsstudier, University of Southern Denmark,

The doctoral presentation will take place at St. Plenum, Pavillion 11, Roskilde University Center, Denmark at 10:15 hrs.

Ellen Ramvi will give a lecture based on her presentation on May 4, at 14:00 -15:00 in Aud. A3 at Kjell Arholm's House, University of Stavanger.

There will also be a report on her thesis in the next issue of UniverS.