Auli Arvola Orlander

Auli Arvola Orlander


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Mathematics and Science Education
Telephone 08-120 765 96
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 20 A, E-huset, Arrheniuslab
Room P 437
Postal address Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am Assioate Professor in Science Education and Director of Studies at the Department of Mathematics and Science Education. With a background as a teacher, teacher educator, educational consultant, etc. I have become in contact with practice-related issues in the field. I have been involved in various research and development projects within the school and kindergarten, all in close collaboration with principals and practicing teachers. My interest is in Science Education with a focus on gender issues.


In January 2020 started the project Enacting Sex Education: a practice-based study concerning an interdisciplinary knowledge content in Swedish secondary school, which is financed by Swedish Research Council. Sex education is an integrated aspect of Swedish secondary school and referred as a particular knowledge content by the Swedish Agency of Education. The aim of this four-year study is to examine how sex education is taught, experienced and can be developed as part of a variety of school subjects. The study will explore how sex education is enacted in particular school subjects from a subject didactical perspective, but also how it works in collaboration across subjects from an interdisciplinary perspective.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2016. Auli Arvola Orlander. Research in science education 46 (6), 811-829

    The aim of the study is to discuss and problematise notions of femininity and masculinity constructed in teaching situations among 16-year-old upper-secondary students studying science. The empirical examples originate from a teaching session with the theme of ‘sex and relationships’. The analysis is focused on metaphors inherent in a lesson that has its origins in the animal world. The findings show that the lesson ‘sex in the animal world’ is full of anthropomorphism, metaphors that humanise animal behaviour. Teachers and students compare the animals’ sexual behaviour with human behaviour, with the result that the animal world can be perceived as representative of natural sexual behaviour. The survey illustrates problems with how the examples are permeated by cultural values in the presentation of the animal world and how these examples form constructions of femininity and masculinity in the classroom.

  • 2015. Auli Arvola Orlander, Sharon Todd, Per-Olof Wickman. Nordic Studies in Education (3), 233-250

    This article illuminates the significance of images of femininity and masculinity in everyday school practice. Specifically, we examine role-plays concerning inter-relational dilemmas performed by 15-year-old students as a part of their work regarding the human body in science education. The results showed that the portrayal of girls, homosexuals and others who do not fit the masculine norm were presented as fragmentary in comparison with the characterisations of heterosexual boys. The images were reflections of boys’ actions and feelings. Our purpose is to discuss the possibilities that exist in order to re-symbolise and re-imagine femininity and masculinity. 

  • 2011. Auli Arvola Orlander, Per-Olof Wickman. Cultural Studies of Science Education 6 (3), 569-594

    This is a study of teaching about the human body. It is based on transcribed material from interviews with 15-year old students and teachers about their experiences of sex education and from recordings of classroom interactions during a dissection. The analysis is focused on the relationship between what students are supposed to learn about the biological body and their expressed experiences and meaning making of bodies in the schoolwork. The results indicate that the negotiations associated with the encounters between the bodies of the classroom (student, teacher, and animal bodies) are important for what directions meaning making takes and what students are afforded to learn about bodies, biologically as well as in terms of values. We suggest that these negotiations should be taken into account at schools, be regarded as an important part of the learning processes in science education and in that way open up for new possibilities for students’ meaning making.

Show all publications by Auli Arvola Orlander at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 23, 2020

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