Niklas Gericke is an active researcher in the field of science education, that is, teaching and learning in the natural science subject areas. Gericke is director and head of research at the SMEER Centre (Centre of Science, Mathematics, Engineering Education Research, https://www.kau.se/en/smeer), which is the coordinating body of subject-specific education research in the natural sciences, mathematics and technology at Karlstad University.
A consistent focus of Gericke's research has been on how subject content is translated from academic discipline into subject knowledge taught in schools, and the impact of such transformations for students' understanding of content. The relationship between knowledge content in the form of theoretical models and how epistemological aspects of these are addressed in teaching are central issues in Gericke's studies. To a great extent his research has been related to genetics education in biology, and since 2017 Gericke has been heading a project funded by the Research Council called "Epigenetic literacy and the implementation of epigenetics in school biology", aiming to explore how epigenetics can be transformed in biology education.
A further area of interest is in the field of sustainability education. In 2012-2015 Gericke led the Research Council funded project "Investigating the underlying factors contributing to schools’ success in education for sustainable development", which took a large-scale quantitative approach to mapping and analysing the effects at student level regarding the implementation of sustainability education in Swedish schools. In addition, the importance of leadership and organisation in schools was studied to identify structural factors affecting the implementation process. Based on the results of this study, Gericke has initiated a major practice-related research and development project funded by the Swedish Institute for Educational Research called "Education for Sustainable Development: A Longitudinal Implementation Study", which, as indicated in the title, centred on the implementation process over time. In 2018, Gericke, in collaboration with the project leader Farhana Borg, Dalarna University, was granted funding by the Research Council for a project to study the importance of eco certified pre-schools for children's sustainability awareness.
Gericke is a member of the management team for the research group ROSE (Research on Subject-Specific Education, https://www.kau.se/en/rose), which receives additional research funding from Karlstad University on its way towards meeting the criteria of excellence as a research group. He is also the leader of a ROSE sub project, studying how the sustainability concept is translated into teaching content in different school subjects.
Gericke is a qualified teacher and worked as a teacher in primary, secondary and adult education for nine years before embarking on an academic career. Presently, he teaches science education courses in teacher education programmes for all school levels, with a focus on secondary education, particularly as a supervisor of degree projects, which are expected to be informed by research.
Gericke's research and education interest is firmly linked to the professional practice of teaching and learning. This requires working in conjunction with the education system. In many projects Gericke has worked with teachers in research circles and further development initiatives to develop teaching. The Swedish National Agency for Education has also commissioned Gericke to lead major projects to develop teaching material for the further training module "models and representations" and digital teaching material on the human body for the association Science and Technology for All (NTA). Gericke has been the chairperson of the Swedish Association for Science Education, which organises joint conferences for teacher and researchers, and is a member of the editorial board for a journal. founded by the national resource centre for science and technology education (NATDID), which presents research results to teachers.
Gericke, N., Hudson, B., Olin-Scheller, C., & Stolare, M. (2018). Powerful knowledge, transformations and the need for empirical studies across school subjects. London Review of Education, 16 (3): 428–444.
Wahlberg, S. & Gericke, N. (2018). Conceptual demography in upper secondary chemistry and biology textbooks’ descriptions of protein synthesis: A matter of context? CBE—Life Sciences Education, 17(3): 1-14.
Gericke, N., Boeve‐de Pauw, J., Berglund, T. & Olsson, D. (2018). The Sustainability Consciousness Questionnaire: The theoretical development and empirical validation of an evaluation instrument for stakeholders working with sustainable development. Sustainable Development, DOI: 10.1002/sd.1859.
Olsson, D., & Gericke, N. (2016). The adolescent dip in students’ sustainability consciousness. The Journal of Environmental Education, 47(1), 35-51
Olsson, D., Gericke, N. & Chang Rundgren, S. N. (2016). The effect of implementation of education for sustainable development in Swedish compulsory schools - assessing pupils’ sustainability consciousness, Environmental Education Research. 22(2), 176–202.
Gericke, N. & Smith, M.U. (2014). Twenty-first- Century Genetics and Genomics: Contributions of HPS –Informed Research and Pedagogy, 423-467. In M.R. Matthews (Ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching, Vol. I, Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Gericke, N.M., Hagberg, M., Santos, V.C., Joaquim, L.M., & El-Hani, C.N. (2014). Conceptual variation or incoherence? Textbook discourse on genes in six countries. Science & Education, 23(2), 381-416.
Thörne, K., Gericke, N. M., & Hagberg, M. (2013). Linguistic challenges in Mendelian genetics: teachers’ talk in action. Science Education, 97(5), 695–722
Gericke, N. M., & Hagberg, M. (2007). Definition of historical models of gene function and their relation to students’ understanding of genetics. Science & Education, 16 (7 – 8), 849 – 881.