Profile image of Peta White

Dr Peta White



Senior Lecturer, Education (Science Education)


Faculty of Arts and Education


SoE Arts & 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 science and environmental education senior lecturer at Deakin University. Peta has worked in classrooms, as a curriculum consultant and manager, and as a teacher educator in several jurisdictions across Canada and Australia. Peta gained her PhD in Saskatchewan, Canada where she focussed on learning to live sustainably which became a platform from which to educate future teachers. Her passion for initial teacher educator, environmental education/academic activist work, and action-orientated methodologies drives her current teaching/research scholarship. Peta’s current research interests follows three directions including science and biology education, sustainability, climate change, and environmental education, and collaborative/activist research.

Read more on Peta's profile

Biography summary

Contribution to the community: I have been a long-term activist in the environmental education field. I am currently an active member of several professional associations related to environmental education and science education.  To demonstrate this commitment, while I lived in Canada, I became the president of the Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association (SOEEA) for five years and then a life-time member and was awarded the 2011 Melanson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Environment and Outdoor Education. I am a life-time member of the Canadian Network of Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM), I sat on the Board (as Secretary), and I was Conference Chair for the EECOM 2011 Conference. I was also the North American Co-Chair of the 2012 Conference for the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) and strand leader for the Socioecological Education strand and I am a life-time member of this important international association. Upon returning to Australia and moving to the eastern side of the country in 2014, I took on an executive role (Secretary) in the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) for 4 years.  I also took on an executive position (Treasurer) for Environmental Education Victoria (the Victorian Chapter of AAEE) for 4 years.  I review for several academic education journals.  I have recently assumed the role of Associate Editor for the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (AJEE) and have been the Book Review Editor for 6 years (which I have now handed on) and a Guest Editor of AJEE for the AAEE Conference Special Editor twice (2016 and 2018).

Career highlights

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 an exciting Science, Technology, and Environmental Education team.  In 2019, 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

  • Senior Biology (ESS467/767) (2014 – current)
  • Environmental Education (ESS441/741) (2014 – current)
  • Research Paper and Minor Thesis units (EDX703/4/5/6) (2014 - current) – see student completions
  • Science and Environmental Issues (ESS349) (2016 – 2019)
  • Sustainability, Inquiry & Action – a Humanities Perspective (EEO301) (2019)
  • Supporting and Leading Development of Communities of STEM practice (ETM704) (2018)
  • Research Methodology in Education (EXR791/EDX702) (2014 – 2017)
  • Senior Environmental Science (ESS442/742) (2017)
  • Primary Science EES345 (2014 - 2015)
  • Primary Technology Education: Creativity and Design EST400 (2014)

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

Associate Editor for the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (AJEE)

Reviewer for academic journals

Judge for Award

Service to the University

  • Course Director – Bachelor of Science/Master of Teaching (D304) (2016 – current)
  • 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


Learning cycles: enriching ways of knowing place

S Wooltorton, P White, M Palmer, L Collard

(2020), pp. 1-18, Australian journal of environmental education, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal article

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

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

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

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

Peta White, Roger Petry

(2011), Vol. 5, pp. 89-100, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 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: $115,095
  • 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])

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

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

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

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

  • 2015: $99,710

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

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

  • 2015: $6,818

Secondary STEM Catalysts: professional learning program

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

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

Sustainable Schools NSW Research Brief

Dr Peta White

  • 2018: $15,000

Top 100 Jobs of the Future

Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Peta White, Prof Dineli Mather

  • 2018: $73,000

Victorian Certificate of Education Biology Benchmarking.

Dr Peta White

  • 2019: $6,000

Victorian Certificate of Education Biology Study Design.

Dr Peta White

  • 2019: $9,000

NSW Marine Education Strategy.

Dr Peta White

  • 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, A/Prof Coral Campbell

  • 2020: $142,328
  • 2019: $112,000

Writer - Advice for Teachers - VCE Biology Research Project.

Dr Peta White

  • 2019: $5,000

Science Teacher Toolkit

Dr Peta White, Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Joe Ferguson

  • 2020: $18,181

Industry and Other Funding

100 Jobs of the Future Research Extension: Online Aptitude Test

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

  • 2018: $36,200

EIANZ Collaborative Research Research on Environmental Education.

Dr Peta White

  • 2019: $3,454

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

Dr Peta White

  • 2019: $3,000

PMSS Cohort 5 Research Project

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

  • 2019: $58,456

PMSS Cohort 5 Research Project 2020

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

  • 2020: $6,960


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