2021 Contemporary Approaches to Research in Mathematics, Science, Health and Environmental Education Symposium


Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Environmental Education Research Group

Re-imagining futures in STEME

2021 Contemporary Approaches to Research in Mathematics, Science, Health and Environmental Education Symposium

Monday 22 – Tuesday 23 November 2021

Blended Symposium (online and located)

Watch this space for updates…


Register online at CAR Symposium.

Download the Contemporary Approaches to Research Symposium 2021 to share with your colleagues.

Each year the ‘Contemporary approaches to research (CAR) in mathematics, science, health and environmental education’ symposium focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of a range of research methodologies – such as cross-cultural perspectives, activity theory, capturing complexity, classroom video analysis, quantitative methods, and interviewing – which are discussed in a lively, informal setting. The symposium in 2021 will focus on practical and theoretical aspects of research methodology (as usual) and this year we are broadening our methodological focus towards post-qualitative research.

The program will include two keynote speakers and themed sessions with short presentations and longer discussion.  We do not host concurrent sessions and enjoy rich, friendly discussion.   In 2021 we hope to offer a blended approach with some of us located at Deakin Downtown (cost recovery for meals) and others with us online (free). See registration for prices.

Presentations at the symposium will be grouped into sessions of two to four with similar methodological foci, designed to promote substantive discussion of a methodological issue. Presentations might focus on a) details and settings of the application of a methodology in ways that unpack how the methodology can operate in different contexts, or b) a particular methodological issue, problem, or strategic decision that explores or extends a methodology. The methodological issues should be broadly related to mathematics, science, health, or environmental education. The presentations should provide a grounded practitioner’s perspective.

Following each group of presentations, there will be the opportunity for extended discussion of the focus methodological issue, which may explore different approaches within the methodology (in research design, instruments, theoretical framing, or approaches to analysis), or different methodological approaches to a problem (for instance making sense of teacher practice, or tracking change in learners).

Presentations will be 10-12 minutes in duration and should briefly outline the research question being addressed and may include the findings or likely outcomes of the research, but should focus mainly on the research methodology. Reports on work in progress are welcome but the focus is on the methodology.

The program starts at 9am and concludes at 5pm each of the two days.  We will host an informal book launch of the CAR Book Series at the end of the first day – 5pm Monday. All are welcome.

We will also offer an opportunity to evaluate this symposium. The link to the online survey will be emailed during the last day of the symposium.

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Paul Hart

Paul Hart is Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor of Science and Environmental Education at the University of Regina, Canada. He has authored and edited many books and journal articles, served on Canadian research awards selection committees and received local, regional, national and international awards for his publications, research, and leadership in the fields of education and environmental education (EE). He has served as Executive Editor of the Journal of Environmental Education and on editorial boards for EE journals.

Title: Challenging Established Forms of Knowledge Production: Post-Qualitative Possibilities 

Abstract: Within contexts of climate change, ecosystem destruction and social injustice, the role of education and educational research, is being challenged by a powerful constellation of philosophical, political and ethical perspectives. Despite the growth of EE since the 1970s and its elaboration as ESD, there are calls for new theory—post-qualitative, new empiricist, new (feminist) materialist—as new ethical engagements within posthumanism. These calls foreshadow new ways of researching educational learning systems at all levels. In this short presentation, I hope to at least create openings through examples of qualitative creations that draw upon ideas and concepts from theory-oriented educational scholars. Critical discussion is required as this “sea change” in thinking differently about educational inquiry is re-conceptualized in direct relation to philosophy. Although the complexity of this crucial shift in thinking can be confusing, as one works through the shift from methodological to conceptual framings for post-qualitative creations, there are many new resources that introduce main contours of theories and concepts. These resources, increasingly found within social and educational journals, and more recently in special issues of EE journals, create new openings and beginnings. Two or three examples of post-qualitative studies will be discussed. Given the evolving context of life on earth, there can be no turning back.

Dr. Robin Bellingham

Dr Robin Bellingham is a Senior Lecturer in Education, Pedagogy and Curriculum at Deakin University. In her research and teaching she is interested in how methodologies and education can respond to pressing problems of modernity such as educational and political disempowerment and disengagement, the ongoing effects of colonization, and ecological crisis. Her research has explored these through different enactments and analyses of educational, democratic and ecological agency, and examination of the ethics and values that emerge through these in different contexts. She draws on different writing genres, posthumanism, and new materialism.

Title: Reading diffractively, decolonizing methodology

Abstract: In this presentation I discuss two experiences of diffractive reading and their implications for decolonising education research. The first diffractive reading was a situated inquiry of the Great Barrier Reef as a pedagogical agent. The reading was oriented toward decolonizing pedagogies of colonial-modernity and developing a deeper engagement with pedagogical possibilities. It drew on diffracting scientific, fictional, cultural and experiential narratives of the Reef and emphasised situated, embodied experience, narrative as a material-discursive phenomenon, and Indigenous ontology. The second was an investigation reading teacher education through military imaginaries, undertaken with the aim of defamiliarizing teacher education ideology and practice in colonial-modernity. It drew on teacher education discourse and policy, and on academic and SF representations of military culture and thinking, and considered how these different disciplinary fields can in some senses be seen to be engaged in the same ideological-ontological project. In this presentation I use the two diffractive reading experiences in a further diffraction exercise. I continue the project of better understanding what it means for non-Indigenous researchers and educators to have response-able relations with eco-social systems. I attend to emergent patterns and differences of relevance to decolonizing education research including how education both co-creates and responds to ‘what matters’ in the world, and around concerns of working in education institutions in a settler-colonial present.

Expression of Interest to Present

The closing date for expressions of interest is Friday 1st October 2021.

If you are interested in presenting at this symposium please submit your expression of interest using the form below.  All submissions will be acknowledged upon receipt and reviewed mid October.  Expressions of Interest to Present form


Presentations are to be a maximum of 12 minutes long (please be respectful by keeping to time). A feature of the CAR Symposium program is the rich and collegial discussion. Presentations  can pre-recorded if preferred (for all presenters not just those online).


The draft program will be released by the end of October.


Register online at CAR Symposium.

Book Series – Contemporary Approaches to Research in STEM Education

All presenters are invited to submit a proposal for a written chapter of 5000 – 7000 words for consideration for publication in the Cambridge Scholars Publishing book series Contemporary Approaches to Research in STEM Education. Proposals for Volume 3 are due 29th November 2021. Accepted chapters are due 21st February 2022.

Methodological Approaches to STEM Education Research – Volume 1 and 2 will be showcased at the 2021 CAR Symposium.

CAR Coordinators: Alfred Deakin Professor Russell Tytler, Dr. Peta White, Dr. John Cripps Clark, and Dr. Joe Ferguson

Enquiries: please email Peta White (peta.white@deakin.edu.au)

Organised by the STEME Education Research Group in conjunction with the Research for Educational Impact (REDI) Centre.

Posted Feb 1, 2021

22 November 2021, 12:00am to 23 November 2021

Deakin Downtown (located) and online (see this page for details)

Deakin Downtown – Tower 2 Level 12/727 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3008