Ana Benavides Lahnstein

Ana Benavides Lahnstein


The most recent work experience I had before starting my PhD was influential for my studies. I had a research assistant post in science education at The Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV-MTY by its acronym in Spanish) at its Monterrey unit in Mexico. There, I collaborated in a few projects, but principally in an international project called “kidsINNscience: turning kids on to science”.  At this post I had constant interaction with researchers of different backgrounds and it gave me access to attend and even to collaborate in interesting academic events.  This job was influential to my reflections about where to orient my career and to the definition of my current research project.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I wanted to explore educational research more and become trained in it. A PhD is a good opportunity to get trained with research methods and to interact with other peers across other disciplines. This training would allow me to make contributions and collaborate in my field of interest and beyond.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

The complexity of the issues I am researching. It can be overwhelming at times, but it also raises animated discussions that I believe are helpful in finding solutions.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I want to carry on working towards and encouraging peer collaboration in my area of study and across other disciplines. I am interested in working as an academic, but also collaborating with projects of different types.

Research interests

Submission Date: September 2016

My research is motivated by the idea that providing solutions to environmental issues requires not only technological development and good governance, but also an educated population. In Mexico, as in other countries, environmental education and sustainability aims are part of the basic education curricula. But, because of the complexity of environmental issues, teaching environmental education and sustainability topics can be a challenge for teachers. My study therefore has the aim of investigating this complexity by exploring primary school teachers’ views and enactment of these topics. More specifically, I am working with year six teachers, and their teaching of environmental themes in science classes. The enactment of a curriculum has many actors interacting, but for my study, I chose to focus on teachers, because of the importance of their role in enacting a curriculum. The design of this study includes: examination of curriculum documents concerning the year studied, face to face interviews with primary school teachers and observation of their science lessons in which these topics are addressed. Having analyzed the evidence gathered, this study will contribute educational policy ideas regarding curriculum design, enactment, and teacher training.