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Maria Weurlander

About me

I am an Associate professor and senior lecturer in Higher Education at the Department of Education at Stockholm University. I have a background as an upper secondary science teacher but from 2004 I have focused on higher education. My professional interest centeres around the interplay between teaching and learning in various educational settings, from both teachers’ and students’ perspectives. I have been involved in teaching at all levels; teacher education, doctoral education and teaching in professional development courses for academics. I am a member of the research group Higher Education and Learning Practice (HELP) and also sectione of the editors of the peer-reviewed open access journal Högre utbildning. 

Teaching

Currently my main teaching is in professional development courses for academic teachers, such as Research supervision and Professional development course 2: Teaching and learning in the Human Science Academic Area. I am also involved in supervising educational development projects.

I have taught courses aiming to support academics in their professional development as university teachers for a long time. I was engaged in courses in teaching and learning at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, between 2004 and 2013, and between 2013 and 2019 at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Research

I have a special interest in professional education, such as engineering, teacher and health sciences education. My research is mainly ‘practice near’ (praxisnära), i.e. focusing on various aspects of teachers’ and students’ experiences in authentic educational settings. My research interest focus broadly on three areas: the interplay between teaching and students' learning in various educational settings, students' experiences of emotionally challenging situations, and challenges and possibilities with teaching and learning in digital environments.

I have well established research collaboration with researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Linköping university, Uppsala university, and University of East Anglia, UK.

I am currently engaged in two externally funded research projects:

"Supervision of student teachers and medical students in emotionally challenging situations”. A 4-year grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) together with researchers from KTH, Karolinska Institutet and Linköping university.

"Hands-on in computer programming education: understanding educational effects and brain processes”. A 3-year grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) together with researchers from Uppsala university and University of East Anglia, UK.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • The emotional journey of the beginning teacher

    2022. Henrik Lindqvist (et al.). Research Papers in Education

    Article

    Research on the transition from teacher education to beginning to teach have focused on the ability to teach, as well as on classroom practices, and how complicated socialisation processes impede developing skills when starting to teach. The aim of the study was to investigate emotionally challenging situations during teacher education and when starting to teach, with a focus on how the participants’ perspectives and coping strategies changed over time. In this study, 20 participants were followed during their final year of teacher education and into their first year of teaching. Data was collected through interviews and written self-reports. A constructivist grounded theory methodology was adopted. We found that new teachers experience three main emotional phases as they move from teacher education and into teaching, namely (1) opposite positions, (2) enthusiasm mingled with fear, and (3) a rollercoaster of emotions. Emotions and coping strategies linked with the phases are illustrated, and practical implications are discussed.

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  • Change advocacy as coping strategy

    2021. Henrik Lindqvist (et al.). Teachers and Teaching

    Article

    Beginning to teach after teacher education is commonly depicted as an emotionally challenging period. Beginning teachers deploy strategies to cope with the emotionally challenging transition from teacher education and starting a position as a teacher. One way of coping is trying change the origin of the challenges. The aim of the study was to investigate how teachers in their last year as student teachers and their first year as teachers make meaning of a change advocacy strategy to cope with challenging situations as teachers. A qualitative interview study was performed. Twenty-five participants were interviewed while studying in their last year of teacher education, and 20 were interviewed again after having worked as a teacher for a year. In between, 68 self-reports were collected. The material was analysed using constructivist grounded theory tools. The findings show that as student teachers the participants identified two prerequisites to be able to use the change advocacy strategy as beginning teachers: (1) establishing teacher ambiguity and (2) challenging the perceived negative mindset. When utilising a change advocacy strategy as beginning teachers, the participants tried to reform teaching practices and attain a position of competence.

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  • Engineering students' strategies to learn programming correlate with motivation and gender

    2021. Maria Weurlander, Kristina von Hausswolff. 2021 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2021, 1-9

    Conference

    This full research paper reports on a study where we investigated engineering students' learning to program. In particular, we explored differences in students' strategies, how they work in the computer lab, and if this is related to their motivation, gender and overall tendency to engage in thinking. We gathered survey data from first year engineering students in an introductory, compulsory programming course. The survey consisted of established instruments and items constructed by us. 67 students answered the survey (response rate of 43 %). 18 % of the students that answered the survey did not have previous experiences of programming, and 43% were female. An exploratory factor analysis of the items relating to how students learn programming revealed three factors: 1) the individual thinker, 2) the social reader, and 3) the interactive problem-solver. We found gender differences relating to the second factor; female students reported more frequent use of the social reader strategy. There were also differences in reported used strategies and how students worked in the lab, previous experiences, need for cognition and motivation. These differences indicate that the factors individual thinker and interactive problem-solver were privileged in this programming course. Further research is needed to explore these findings in different educational contexts.

    Read more about Engineering students' strategies to learn programming correlate with motivation and gender
  • Social dimensions in the lab session when novices learn to program

    2020. Kristina von Hausswolff, Maria Weurlander. IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)

    Conference

    This full research paper reports on a study of social dimensions when students learn to program. The aim of this study is to investigate students' experiences of social dimensions in learning to program as novices in a pair-programming lab setting. Data was collected by means of individual interviews with seven students mid-way through the course. A questionnaire to 77 students gave a background of the class as a whole and was used to select students for the interviews. The interview data were analyzed using an inductive content analysis method and interpreted theoretically from a pragmatist and transactional perspective on learning. Our results show different ways that the social dynamic between the students in a pair affected 1) the emotions experienced, 2) the extent to which students actively wrote code and interacted with the computer environment, and 3) how students perceived their competence. Interviewed students report that failure and success in a programming task result in an emotional roller coaster, and that in this turbulence, the social context is of utmost importance and weighs in when students consider if they are going to pursue a programming profession.

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  • Talk of teacher burnout among student teachers

    2020. Henrik Lindqvist (et al.). Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

    Article

    Student teachers recurrently and spontaneously talk about burnout when considering challenges of teaching. The following paper aims to address burnout from the perspectives of student teachers, as well as how they prepare to deal with the threat of burnout. There is a lack of research from a student teacher’s perspective concerning burnout. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were analysed using constructivist grounded theory. The findings reveal that student teachers engaged in a learning process related to (a) making sense of the perceived causes of burnout, and (b) constructing proactive strategies. The perceived causes of burnout were understood as individual work ethics, systemic reasons, collegial negativity and personal deficits. These perceived causes were related to strategies to protect against burnout.

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Show all publications by Maria Weurlander at Stockholm University