Introducing QUINT PhD Valgarður Reynisson

After working as a teacher for over a decade, Reynisson is now pursuing a PhD investigating instructional quality with the hope of improving educational practices and policies. 


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Being part of a Nordic PhD network is vital for Reynisson's research. Photo: Aðalbjörg Bragadóttir.

Valgarður Reynisson is part of QUINT's Nordic PhD Network and based at the University of Akureyri, School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Can you tell us about your background?

In college I majored in history with a minor in comparative religion. After I finished a diploma in education, I got my teaching license and taught various subjects at secondary schools and high school for over a decade. 

- I have always been a strong believer in the importance of education, for the prosperity of the individual as well as our society.

After finishing my M.Ed. degree in 2016, I started looking for more prominent opportunities to impact educational practices and policies. I feel this PhD project, in collaboration with the QUINT research centre, will enable me to contribute in a more substantial way.

What is your PhD project about?

The focal point is on Instructional quality in Icelandic social science classrooms, compared to other Nordic countries. It also investigates the role of technology and student engagement in class discussion.

Why are the main topics relevant?

With the PISA results showing a continuing decline in the learning outcomes of Icelandic students, there is growing concern among educators and policy makers. It is easy to quantify the types of lessons and subjects our students are attending, but the quality of the lessons has long been indiscernible for several reasons.

- Using video data as the basis of our research provides a unique insight into real classrooms across the Nordic countries. The data provides us with comprehensive evidence to identify both exemplary and lower quality instructional practices.

Our findings will provide a strong basis for more compelling teacher training and help improve the quality of education our students are receiving.  

How does being part of a Nordic PhD network support the project?

The support of my fellow PhD students and the QUINT management is vital for the progression of my research. Cross-national comparative research relies on the inherent interdependency and cooperation of researchers.

- Creating and maintaining strong relationships within the Nordic PhD network invigorates me professionally as well as on a personal level. The QUINT management has been very supportive and continues to facilitate cooperation among Nordic researchers. 

What do you like to do to relax?

I recently took up cycling and find it to be an excellent way to clear the mind and revitalise my body. I also enjoy running and playing team sports. After putting the kids to bed I like to watch quality movies and TV with my wife. But my favorite way to relax is sleep. Having three children in the last 6 years has opened my eyes to the absolute importance of sleep. It really is the ultimate relaxation and the foundation for everything else in life.   

By Larissa Lily, QUINT/UiO
Published Feb. 3, 2020 3:18 PM - Last modified Feb. 17, 2020 8:53 AM