Profile image of Peta White

Dr Peta White



Senior Lecturer, Education (Science Education)


Faculty of Arts and Education


School of Education


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Graduate Certificate of Higher Ed. Learning & Teaching, Deakin University, 2015
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Regina, 2013
Master in Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland, 2002
Graduate Diploma of Education, Univ. of Western Australia, 1994
Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Biology (Second Class Honours), Murdoch University, 1993
Bachelor of Science, Univ. of Western Australia, 1992

+61 3 924 46885


Peta White is a senior lecturer in science and environmental education at Deakin University. She educated in classrooms, coordinated programs, supported curriculum reform, and prepared teachers in several jurisdictions across Canada and Australia. Her PhD explored learning to live sustainably as a platform to educate future teachers. Peta continues her commitment to initial teacher education leading courses, units, and programs and in-service teacher education through research-informed professional learning programs. She was recently acknowledged as a Senior HEA Fellow. Peta’s current research follows three narratives: science and biology education; sustainability, environmental, and climate change education; and collaborative/activist methodology and research.

Read more on Peta's profile

Biography summary

Professional commitment to the fields of Science, Environmental, Sustainability, and Climate Change Education

I have been a long-term activist and practitioner in the field of environmental education. As my career progresses, I adapt my leadership practices. I began as a classroom educator working with groups of young people and in local contexts. I then moved to lead and support local community groups to undertake local project and state conferences. I am currently an active member of several professional associations related to environmental education and science education. This developed into state and national executive roles where I provided leadership and engaged partners in undertaking project work and conference coordination. I currently continue this voluntary commitment and continue academic leadership roles in journals, communicating science and environmental education research and practice. My voluntary commitment is aligned to my professional capacity as a senior lecturer supporting future educators in these challenging times. I continue to practice living lightly on the earth and do what I can to support others to do the same.

Career highlights

Faculty of Arts & Education - Award for Engagement, Collaboration and Impact Through Research (2021)

Jeff Northfield Memorial Award for Excellence in Teacher Research (2021)

Senior HEA Fellowship (2021)

Finalist in the Staff Champion - Green Impact Australasian Award (2020)

Deakin University - Environmental Hero (2019)

Deakin University, Faculty of Arts and Education, International Partnerships Award (2016)

Melanson Award (2011)

Churchill Fellowship (2003)

Coordinator of the Interstate Landcare Education Study Tour (2001)

Coordinator of the Alcoa Landcare Scholarship, Wyalkatchem District High School - the recipient of the following:

  • State Landcare Education Award (1997)
  • National Landcare Awards - Finalist (1998)
  • Young Australian of the Year - Highly Commended (1997)

Research interests

Research interests of the STEME Education Research Group

Current Research Interests

  • Environmental and Sustainability Education (including socio-scientific inquiry and socially accute questioning)
  • Science Education (Primary, Secondary, and Senior Biology)
  • Inquiry pedagogy
  • Contemporary Science priactice in Schools
  • Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Education
  • Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity in Education
  • Post-qualitative, Action Orientated, Self-reflective Research Methodologies
  • Activism and Action
  • Student Engagement, Learning, and Reasoning
  • Positive Learning Environments (classroom management)
  • Teacher Education and Identity
  • ICT and Digital Technology
  • Assessment and Evaluation

PhD Research (2013)

Walking My Talk as an Intentional, Embodied (Co)constructed Environmental Educator (Link to online repositry of dissertation)
Exploring the question (how) can I use personal change to inspire educational and social/cultural change, this work was embodied and action orientated with a thesis that the doing (action) is as important as the thinking and talking about it. A three-dimensional model of exploring personal change through transformative education leading to social/cultural change was employed throughout this research. A critical poststructural ecofeminist frame undergirded an autoethnographic self-study where I changed my living practices to become more sustainable while living within society, and used this as a platform for how I could become a better environmental educator and activist. I reduced my ecological footprint from 16.4HA to 1.8HA and taught a preservice teacher course in environmental education, where I explored student resistances, power and relationships, a critique of curriculum, and personal change as a result of transformative education. One particular pedagogical strategy, the Action Learning Group Project, was developed and used to support others to undergo personal change through transformative education leading to social/cultural change. And finally, I use this work as an opportunity to undertake environmental education activism working to generate social/cultural change.

Teaching interests

Tertiary Teaching Experiences
I started my tertiary teaching experiences in 2003 with Curtin University teaching the Society and Environment Methods unit (2003) with two cohorts (online and in person). 

From the start of my graduate program in Canada (2005) I was an active and engaged member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina where I taught 14 undergraduate classes in education, supervised over 60 teacher candidates in their field placements, and managed the Science education labs (through renovation).

Additionally, I have worked for Royal Roads University in British Columbia, where, over the last four years, I taught two graduate courses in the Masters of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication program and completed fourteen Masters student research thesis supervisions (one of whom was nominated for the Governor Generals Award).

I also worked for the Arctic College, Nunavut, (through the University of Regina) in a remote Inuit community (Qikiqtarjuaq), teaching pre-service education students Assessment and Evaluation. 

Upon my return to Australia (2013) I joined Curtin University as part of the online tutoring team with Open University Australia Primary Education Program teaching the first year Introduction to Teaching unit (EDP 120) and fourth year Integrated programming (EDP 410).

At the same time I also tutored in the Southern Cross University Environmental Education unit online. 

I then undertook a full time Senior Lecturer position in Education with Edith Cowan University – South West.  In this role I enjoyed a full teaching load, initiated a small self-reflexive research project with colleagues, held a Science Extravaganza with students, and supported many on campus events such as the Engineering Day for school aged students. 

I am now employed in an ongoing position with Deakin University - Burwood Campus - Melbourne, Victoria.  In this role I become part of the exciting Science, Technology, and Environmental Education Research Group.  In 2020, I was promoted to senior lecturer.

School-based Education Experience

  • Science Specialist (years 1 - 10)
  • Biology and Human Biology
  • Social Studies/ Society and Environment
  • General Primary (years 5/6/7)
  • Mathematics
  • Permaculture (Horticulture)
  • Relief teaching in Western Australia (2006 - 2013)
  • Substitute teaching in Saskatchewan (2008- 2012)

Units taught

Deakin University

  • Knowledge for Teaching Science 7-10: Biological Science (ETM705) (2021 - current)
  • Science Knowledge and Practice (ESS102) (2021 - current)
  • Environmental Education (ESS441) (2014 – 2020)
  • Environmental Education (ESS741) (2014 – current)
  • Senior Biology Curriculum Studies (ESS467) (2014 – 2020)
  • Senior Biology Curriculum Studies (ESS767) (2014 – current)
  • Science and Environmental Issues (ESS349) (2016 – 2020)
  • Research Paper and Minor Thesis units (EDX703/4/5/6) (2014 - current) – see student completions
  • Sustainability, Inquiry & Action – a Humanities Perspective (EEO301) (2019)
  • Supporting and Leading Development of Communities of STEM practice (ETM704) (2018)
  • Senior Environmental Science (ESS442/742) (2017)
  • Primary Science EES345 (2014 - 2015)
  • Primary Technology Education: Creativity and Design EST400 (2014)
  • Research Methodology in Education (EXR791/EDX702) (2014 – 2017)

Edith Cowan University

  • Positive Learning Environments EDU 2260 (2013)
  • Practical PPA 2360 (2013)
  • Classroom Management EDU 4222 (2013)
  • Primary Science (Post Graduate) SCE 4103 (2013)

Southern Cross University

  • Environmental Education - online EDU 01286 (2013)

Curtin University

  • Curriculum Design - Society and Environment (2003)
  • Introduction to Teaching - online EDP 120 (2013)
  • Integrated Learning - online EDP 410 (2013)

Nunavut Arctic College

  • Assessment and Evaluation 215 (2012)

Royal Roads University

  • Development of Environmental Understandings (2010, 2011)

University of Regina

  • Elementary Science Methods 215 (2006)
  • Environmental Education 302 (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Post-Intern Participatory Research in Science Education  401 (2008)
  • Assessment and Evaluation 410 (2012)
  • Pedagogy - Theory and Practice 350 (2012)
  • Field Supervision of Practicum (2005 - 2012)

University of Regina - Extension (Seniors Education)

  • Sustainable Living (2009)

Professional activities

Editor-In-Chief for the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (AJEE)

Reviewer for academic journals

Judge for Awards

Service to the University

  • Course Director – Graduate Certificate of Secondary Science (2020 – current)
  • Course Director – Bachelor of Science/Master of Teaching (D304) (2016 – 2020)
  • Faculty Academic Progress Disciplinary Committee (2016 – 2018)
  • Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) Reviewer – Deakin University (2014 – 2018)
  • Master of Teaching Research Pathway Coordinator – Deakin University (2015 – 2017)

Coordination of Special Events

  • Science Week – Family Games Nights – Deakin University
  • Contemporary Approaches to Research (CAR) Symposium – Deakin University


Filter by


Regeneration time: Ancient wisdom for planetary wellbeing

A Poelina, S Wooltorton, M Blaise, C Aniere, P Horwitz, P White, S Muecke

(2022), pp. 1-18, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, Cambridge, England, C1

journal article

Theory and practice relations in design-based research: Designing professional learning with teachers teaching mathematics and science out-of-field

Russell Tytler, linda Hobbs, Jill Brown, Peta White, Coral Campbell, John Cripps Clark, Seamus Delaney, Sandra Herbert, Amanda Peters, Carly Sawatzki, Wanty Widjaja

(2021), pp. 40-65, Methodological Approaches to STEM Education Research : Volume 2, Cambridge, Eng., B1

book chapter

Ethical research with young people: The politics of youth climate strikers in Australia

Peta White, Joseph Ferguson

(2021), Vol. 2, pp. 320-335, Methodological approaches to STEM education research, Cambridge, Eng., B1

book chapter

Art-science education in the Anthropocene - Embodied metaphor with puppets and performance

Shelley Hannigan, Joseph Ferguson

(2021), pp. 163-178, Science and Drama: Contemporary and Creative Approaches to Teaching and Learning, Cham, Switzerland, B1

book chapter

Transdisciplinarity: Science and Drama Education Developing Teachers for the Future

Jo Raphael, Peta White

(2021), pp. 145-161, Science and Drama: Contemporary and creative approaches to teaching and learning., Cham, Switzerland, B1

book chapter

Methodological complexity in analysis of popular writing to critique the nature of school science.

David Symington, Russell Tytler, Peta White

(2021), pp. 281-301, Methodological approaches to STEM education research. Volume 2, Newcastle upon Tyne, Eng., B1

book chapter

Visualisation and Spatial Thinking in Primary Students' Understandings of Astronomy

Russell Tytler, Peta White, Joanne Mulligan

(2021), pp. 291-304, Contributions from Science Education Research, B1

book chapter

Sparking Learning in Science and Drama: Setting the Scene

Jo Raphael, Peta White, Kitty van Cuylenburg

(2021), pp. 1-25, Science and drama : contemporary and creative approaches to teaching and learning, Cham, Switzerland, B1

book chapter

Learning cycles: enriching ways of knowing place

S Wooltorton, P White, M Palmer, L Collard

(2021), Vol. 37, pp. 1-18, Australian journal of environmental education, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal article

The development of an elearning program on the response and recognition of the deteriorating patient using self-study methodology

V Mak, P White

(2021), Vol. 50, pp. 1-9, Nurse education in practice, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

The role of aesthetics in the teaching and learning of data modelling

J Ferguson, R Tytler, P White

(2021), pp. 1-22, International journal of science education, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

A Self-Study Exploration of Early Career Teacher Burnout and the Adaptive Strategies of Experienced Teachers

Jarrod Hogan, Peta White

(2021), Vol. 46, pp. 18-39, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Perth, W.A., C1

journal article

An interdisciplinary approach to primary school mathematics and science learning

R Tytler, J Mulligan, V Prain, P White, L Xu, M Kirk, C Nielsen, C Speldewinde

(2021), Vol. 43, pp. 1926-1949, International Journal of Science Education, C1

journal article

Contemporary science practice in the classroom: a phenomenological exploration into how online curriculum resources can facilitate learning

M Vamvakas, P White, R Tytler

(2021), Vol. 43, pp. 2087-2107, International Journal of Science Education, C1

journal article

An argument or using the Earth Carter Principles as ideological framing in award winning children's literature

Glenn Auld, Joanne O'Mara, Peta White

(2021), Vol. 44, pp. 86-95, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, Adelaide, S.Aust., C1

journal article

School strikers enacting politics for climate justice: Daring to think differently about education

P White, J Ferguson, N O'Connor Smith, H O'Shea Carre

(2021), pp. 1-14, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal article

Do creative skills future-proof your job? Creativity and the future of work in an age of exponential technological advancement.

Ruth Bridgstock, Russell Tytler, Peta White

(2020), pp. 245-258, The Future of Creative Work : Creativity and Digital Disruption, Northampton, Ma., B1

book chapter

Animation construction as cross-modal translation in senior biology

Peta White, Russell Tytler, Wendy Nielsen

(2020), pp. 209-228, Learning from viewing and creating animations in science education: innovative developments in semiotic and educational research, Berlin, Germany, B1

book chapter

Living things and environments.

Russell Tytler, F Haslam, Peta White, S Peterson

(2020), pp. 327-385, Teaching primary science constructively, B1

book chapter

100 Jobs of the Future: Research engagement and impact.

Peta White, Russell Tytler, R Bridgstock

(2020), pp. 251-270, Methodological Approaches to STEM Education Research Volume 1., Newcastle upon Tyne, Eng., B1

book chapter

A representation construction pedagogy of guided inquiry for learning data modelling

R Tytler, J Ferguson, P White

(2020), Vol. 6, pp. 5-18, Learning: Research and Practice, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

A critical analysis of ecological sustainability ideology in award-winning early children's literature

P White, G Auld, M Wells

(2020), Vol. 37, pp. 147-158, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, C1

journal article

Entangling Our Thinking and Practice: A Model for Collaboration in Teacher Education

Peta White, Jo Raphael, Shelley Hannigan, John Cripps Clark

(2020), Vol. 45, pp. 1-16, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, C1

journal article

An inquiry-based introductory volumetric titration without calculations

Kieran Lim, Peta White, John Long, Jessica Saw

(2020), Vol. 66, pp. 24-30, Teaching science, Deakin West, A.C.T., C1

journal article

Slowmation pedagogy in senior secondary biology

Peta White, W Nielsen, Russell Tytler

(2020), Vol. 66, pp. 43-52, Teaching Science, Magill, S. Aust., C1

journal article

Using self-captured video to support reflective practice in teacher professional learning communities

Peter Hubber, P White, Amanda Berry

(2019), pp. 244-259, Video-based research in education: cross-disciplinary perspectives, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

Constructivist and sociocultural theories of learning

Russell Tytler

(2019), pp. 35-49, The Art of Teaching Science : A Comprehensive Guide to the Teaching of Secondary School Science, Sydney, N.S.W., B1

book chapter

Framing and assessing scientific inquiry practices

Russell Tytler, Peta White

(2019), pp. 173-190, Asia-Pacific STEM teaching practices: from theoretical frameworks to practices, Singapore, B1

book chapter

Designing hands-on, inquiry-based activities incorporating contemporary science

Kieran Lim, John Long, Peta White, Ian Bentley

(2019), Vol. 65, pp. 48-54, Teaching science, Deakin, A.C.T., C1

journal article

'Attuning-with', affect, and assemblages of relations in a transdisciplinary environmental education

K Riley, P White

(2019), Vol. 35, pp. 262-272, Australian journal of environmental education, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal article

100 jobs of the future

Russell Tytler, Ruth Bridgstock, Peta White, Dineli Mather, Trevor Mccandless, Michelle Grant-Iramu

(2019), Burwood, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

Enlivening STEM education through school-community partnerships

R Tytler, D Symington, G Williams, P White

(2018), pp. 249-271, STEM education in the junior secondary: the state of play, Singapore, B1

book chapter

Walking my talk: taking action to learn/relearn/unlearn towards engaged pedagogy

P White

(2018), pp. 41-58, Actions of their own to learn: studies in knowing, acting, and being, Leiden, The Netherlands, B1

book chapter

Confronting, collaborating, and crafting: an enlivening methodology for academic ecojustice activism

P White, S Wooltorton, M Palmer

(2018), Women activating agency in academia: metaphors, manifestos and memoir, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Innovation 5 - exploring models of interaction between scientists and PSTs

P White, Russell Tytler, Stuart Palmer

(2018), pp. 108-135, Reconceptualising maths and science teaching and learning, Camberwell, Vic., B1

book chapter

Embodying our future through collaboration: the change is in the doing

M Palmer, P White, S Wooltorton

(2018), Vol. 49, pp. 309-317, Journal of environmental education, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Participating in research symposia: tales of reinscription, disruption, and inclusivity

P White, S Birdsall

(2018), Vol. 33, pp. 131-144, Australian journal of environmental education, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal article

Living things and environments

R Tytler, F Haslam, P White, S Peterson

(2017), pp. 268-317, Teaching primary science constructively, South Melbourne, Vic., B1

book chapter

Understanding PARRISE: Innovation and Change processes in a collaborative European Project

R Tytler, P White

(2017), Utrecht, The Netherlands, A6

research report/technical paper

Collaborative reflective experience and practice in education explored through self-study and arts-based research

S Hannigan, J Raphael, P White, L Bragg, J Cripps Clark

(2016), Vol. 9, pp. 84-110, Creative approaches to research, Melbourne, Vic., C1

journal article

Building productive partnerships for STEM education: evaluating the model and outcomes of the scientists and mathematicians in schools program

R Tytler, D Symington, G Williams, P White, C Campbell, G Chittleborough, G Upstill, E Roper, N Dziadkiewicz

(2015), Burwood, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

Building regional capacity for sustainable development through an ESD project inventory in RCE Saskatchewan, Canada

P White, R Petry

(2011), Vol. 5, pp. 89-100, Journal of education for sustainable development, London, England, C1-1

journal article

Graduate students lend their voices : reflections on the 10th seminar in health and environmental education research

J Russell, P White, T Chung Tiam Fook, J Kayira, S Muller, J Oakley

(2010), Vol. 15, pp. 74-85, Canadian journal of environmental education, Thunder Bay, Ontario, C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Enriching mathematics and science learning: an interdisciplinary approach

Prof Russell Tytler, Prof Joanne Mulligan, Dr Lihua Xu, Dr Peta White, A/Prof Leona Schauble, Prof Richard Lehrer

ARC - Discovery Projects

  • 2020: $143,869
  • 2019: $157,568
  • 2018: $154,533

Other Public Sector Funding

Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ASELL) in the secondary school sector [ASELL Schools])

Dr Alexandra Yeung, A/Prof Kieran Lim, Dr Peta White, Dr John Long

Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program

  • 2017: $75,000
  • 2016: $85,250
  • 2015: $95,000

Assessment of impact and value: Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools Program

Prof Russell Tytler, Prof Coral Campbell, Dr Gail Chittleborough, Dr Gaye Williams, Dr Peta White, Prof David Symington, Mr Garrett Upstill

CSIRO Consultancy - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

  • 2015: $99,710

Primary Mathematics and Science Specialist Professional Learning Program February/March 2015

Dr Gail Chittleborough, Prof Russell Tytler, Prof Coral Campbell, A/Prof Peter Hubber, Dr Lihua Xu, Dr John Cripps Clark, Dr Peta White

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2015: $6,818

Secondary STEM Catalysts: professional learning program

A/Prof Peter Hubber, Prof Russell Tytler, Prof Coral Campbell, A/Prof Colleen Vale, Dr John Cripps Clark, A/Prof Linda Hobbs, Dr Peta White, Dr Gaye Williams

DETVic Tender - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2018: $319,446
  • 2017: $295,146
  • 2016: $48,403

Victorian Certificate of Education Biology Benchmarking.

Dr Peta White

VCAA Grant - Research - Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

  • 2019: $6,000

Victorian Certificate of Education Biology Study Design.

Dr Peta White

VCAA Grant - Research - Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

  • 2019: $9,000

NSW Marine Education Strategy.

Dr Peta White

DPI-NSW - Department of Primary Industries - New South Wales

  • 2019: $41,112

Tech Schools Evaluation

A/Prof Linda Hobbs, Dr John Cripps Clark, Dr Seamus Delaney, Dr Peta White, Dr George Aranda, Prof Russell Tytler, Prof Christine Ure, Prof Coral Campbell

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2021: $89,471
  • 2020: $185,724
  • 2019: $112,000

Writer - Advice for Teachers - VCE Biology Research Project.

Dr Peta White

VCAA Grant - Research - Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

  • 2021: $4,669
  • 2019: $5,000

Science Teacher Toolkit

Dr Peta White, Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Joe Ferguson

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2021: $12,395
  • 2020: $53,803

Secondary Mathematics and Science initiative for out-of-field teachers.

Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Jill Brown, Dr Peta White, A/Prof Linda Hobbs, Prof Coral Campbell, Dr Sandra Herbert, Dr Carly Sawatzki, A/Prof Wanty Widjaja, Dr Seamus Delaney, Dr John Cripps Clark, Prof Damian Blake

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2022: $668,515
  • 2021: $1,984,010
  • 2020: $764,034

CIRCLS - Support program for Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative.

A/Prof Julianne Lynch, Dr Jo Raphael, Dr Carly Sawatzki, Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Jill Brown, Dr Peta White

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2022: $16,823
  • 2021: $154,545

Refinement and Validation of Science Inquiry Tasks.

Dr Peta White, Prof Russell Tytler

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2022: $20,000
  • 2021: $20,000

Industry and Other Funding

Sustainable Schools NSW Research Brief

Dr Peta White

Australian Association for Environmental Education - NSW Chapter Inc

  • 2018: $15,000

Top 100 Jobs of the Future

Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Peta White, Prof Dineli Mather

Ford Australia

  • 2018: $73,000

100 Jobs of the Future Research Extension: Online Aptitude Test

Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Peta White, Prof Dineli Mather, Prof Ruth Bridgstock

Ford Australia

  • 2018: $36,200

EIANZ Collaborative Research Research on Environmental Education.

Dr Peta White

Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand Inc

  • 2019: $3,454

AAEE Curriculum Teaching Package Project - Stand Up for Your Future / Climate: Youth activism is education.

Dr Peta White

Australian Association for Environmental Education - WA

  • 2019: $3,000

PMSS Cohort 5 Research Project

Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Peta White, Prof Coral Campbell, A/Prof Linda Hobbs

Edpartnerships International Pty Ltd

  • 2019: $58,456

PMSS Cohort 5 Research Project 2020

Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Peta White, A/Prof Wanty Widjaja

Edpartnerships International Pty Ltd

  • 2020: $35,946


Principal Supervisor

Kathryn Riley

Thesis entitled: (Re)Storying Human/Nonhuman Relationships: Posthumanist Possibilities in Researcher/Teacher/Environmental Education Worlds

Doctor of Philosophy (Education), School of Education