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Prof Rob O’Donoghue

Contact details:

Rob O’Donoghue
Phone: +27 (46) 603 7275
e-mail: r.odonoghue@ru.ac.za
Qualifications: M.Ed (UKZN) PhD (Rhodes)


Rob O’Donoghue is an Associate Professor and Director of the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University. In his research on environmental education processes of learning-led change, he has given close attention to indigenous knowledge practices, social theory and environmental learning in post-colonial curriculum and community contexts. Recent work with critical realism has been probing generative research and transformative social learning to inform the Fundisa-for-Change teacher professional development programme and the Amanzi-for-Food initiative on local food production with rainwater harvesting to mitigate the emerging patterns of climate change in eastern southern Africa. Rob teaches curriculum on the PGCE education studies programme, a B.Ed (Hons) in Environment and Sustainability Education and on the Masters in Education (EE) as well as supervising PhD studies.

Publications in Peer Reviewed Journals


1.  O'Donoghue, R. B. (1986). Environmental education and evaluation: An eleventh hour reconciliation. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 3 (November): 18-21.
2.  O'Donoghue, R. B. (1987). Environments people and environmental education: A story of bananas, frogs and the process of change. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 5 (August): 11-14.
3.  O'Donoghue, R.B. and Taylor, J. (1988). Towards participant-centred resource development for Environmental Education. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 7: 3-5.
4.  O’Donoghue, R. and McNaught, C. (1989). Environmental education: the development of a curriculum through ‘grass roots’ reconstructive action. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 10: 16-23.
5.  McNaught, C., Taylor, J. and O’Donoghue, R. (1990).Participatory evaluation: the case of the natal primary science project of the urban foundation. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 11: 8-12.
6.  O'Donoghue, R.B. and Mc Naught, C. (1991). Environmental Education: The development of a curriculum through 'grass-root' reconstructive action. International Journal of Science Education, 13 (4): 391-404.
7.  O’Donoghue, R. B. (1993). Clarifying environmental education: A search for CLEAR ACTION in Southern Africa. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 13: 28-38.
8.  O’Donoghue, R. B., Taylor, J. and Clacherty, A. (1993). A Critique of the Proposed Council for the Environment National Core Syllabus for Environmental Education in South Africa. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 13: 39-44.
9 . O'Donoghue, R. B. (1994). A grand plan for earth-love education in southern Africa: The dream becomes a nightmare. So, what went wrong? Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 14: 35-45.
10. O’Donoghue, R.B. (1996). Science, Technology and Environment: Interchange workshops amongst Master of Education students, University of Durban-Westville and Rhodes University. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 16: 77-79.
11. O’Donoghue, R.B. (1999). Participation: An under theorised icon in research and curriculum development. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 19: 14-27.

12. O’Donoghue, R.; Lotz-Sisitka, H.  (2002). Insights on the Gap.  Environmental Education Research 8(3):261-271. UK and New York, Carfax Publishing, Taylor and Francis.
13. O’Donoghue, R. (2003). Indigenous Knowledge: Towards learning materials and methodologies that respond to social processes of marginalisation and appropriation in Eastern southern Africa. Australian Journal of Environmental Education 19: 57-68.
14. O’Donoghue, R.B. and Russo, V. (2004). Emerging patterns of Abstraction in Environmental Education: A review of materials, methods and professional development perspectives. Environmental Education Research  Journal 10(3): 331-351. UK and New York, Carfax Publishing, Taylor and Francis.
15. O’Donoghue, R.B. (2005). Cholera in KwaZulu-Natal: Uncovering blind spots in taken for granted institutional perspectives. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education 22: 60-73.
16. O’Donoghue,R.B and Lotz-Sisitka, H.B.  (2005). Towards a better grasp of what matters in view of the 'posts'. Environmental Education Research Journal.  11(8), 445-454.
17. O’Donoghue, R.  (2006).  Locating the environmental in environmental education research: a review of research on nature’s nature, its inscription in language and recent memory work on relating to the natural world.  Environmental Education Research Journal. 12 (3-4): 345-358.
18. O'Donoghue,R and Lotz-Sisitka,H. (2006b). Situated environmental learning in southern Africa at the start of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Australian Journal of Environmental Education.  22(1), 105-113.
19.  Shallcross, T, Loubser, C, Le Roux, C, O'Donoghue, R and Lupele, J. (2006). Promoting sustainable development through whole school approaches: An international, intercultural teacher education research and development project. Journal of Education for Teaching.  32(3),283-301.
20. O’ Donoghue, R. (2007). Environment and Sustainability Education in a Changing South Africa: A critical historical analysis of outline schemes for defining and guiding learning interactions. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education (Special Edition). 24: 141-157.
21. Lotz-Sisitka, H.B., O’Donoghue, R, and Robottom, I. (2007). Editorial. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education (Special Edition). 24: 5-7.
22. Schudel,, I.,  Roux, C,  Lotz-Sisitka, H,  Loubser, C,  O'Donoghue, R. and Shallcross, T. (2008). Contextualising  learning  in advanced certificate in education (environmental education) courses: synthesising contexts and experiences. South African Journal of Education. 28,543-559.
23.  Lotz-Sisitka, H.B, Ellery, K, Olvitt, L, Schudel, I.J and O’Donoghue, R. (2010). Cultivating a scholarly community of practice. Acta Academica. 1,130-150.
24. Lotz-Sisitka,H.B., O’Donoghue,R.B. and Wilmot, P.D. (2010). The Makana Regional Centre of Expertise: experiments in social learning. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development.4(1), 73-92.
25. O’Donoghue, R. B. (2011). A Search for Conjunctions at a Time of Direction-setting Review and Synthesis. Rhodes University, South Africa. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education. Vol. 28.
26. O’Donoghue, R.B. (2014). ThinkPiece: Re-thinking Education for Sustainable Development as transgressive processes of educational engagement with human conduct, emerging matters of concern and the common good.  Southern African Journal of Environmental Education. Vol. 30.
27. O’Donoghue R. (In Press) ESD and GCE: Two sides of the same coin in emerging trajectories of learning-led change.

Edited Books:

O’Donoghue, R.B., Shava, S. and Zazu, C. (2013). African heritage knowledge in the context of social innovation.  United Nations University Institute for Advanced Studies. Tokyo, UNU-IAS.

Chapters in books:

1.  O’Donoghue, R. (1994). Environmental education in South Africa: Some historical trends and recent developments. In Levy, S. (Ed.). Projects Speak for Themselves. Houghton: Sharon Levy.
2.  Masuku-van Damme. L, and O'Donoghue, R. (2002). Indigenous Knowledge in/ for /as Environmental Education. In: The Long walk to Sustainability. A publication prepared for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, August, 2002. Johannesburg: Information Handling Services.
3.  O'Donoghue, R.B. (2002). Towards an endogenous re-appropriation of indigenous knowledge. In: Crossman, P. (2002) (Ed.) Teaching Endogenous Knowledge in South Africa: Issues, approaches and aids. University of Pretoria.
4.  O'Donoghue,R. (2004).  Marrying indigenous ways of knowing and Western Science through Environmental Education.  In: Naidoo, P. (2004) (Ed.) School Science in Africa. Juta Gariep, Cape Town. Pg. 180-190.
5.  O’ Donoghue, R. (2005). A review of biodiversity and water education activities in southern African school and community contexts. In: O’Keefe, J. (2005) (Ed.) A global Review of Biodiversity, With Particular Reference to Freshwater Ecosystems. WWF.
6.  O’Donoghue, R.B., Moate, M., Goduka, L. & Wieme-vanBaren, J. (2005). Indigenous ways of knowing. In: le Roux, C. (2005) (Ed.) Our Environment, Our Stories: A collection of case stories of environmental education research in southern Africa. Pretoria, University of South Africa. Pg. 197-205.
7.  Lotz-Sisitka,H, Schudel,I, O'Donoghue,R and Irwin,P. ( 2005). Schools and sustainability in South Africa: Piloting a reflexive model for accredited in-service teacher education. In: McKeown, R . (2005). (Ed.) Good Practices in Education for Sustainable Development. UNESCO. Paris. (1), 1.
8.  O’Donoghue, R., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Asafo-Adjei, R., Kota, L. and Hanisi, N.  (2006). Exploring learning interactions arising in school-in-community contexts of socio-ecological risk. In: Wals, A (2006). (Eds.) Social Learning towards a sustainable world.  Kluwer Academic Publishers (Netherlands). Pg. 435- 447.
9.  Lotz-Sisitka,H.B. and O'Donoghue,R. (2008). Participation, situated culture and practical reason. In: Participation and Learning- In A. Reid, B. Jensen, J. Nikel & V. Simovska (Eds.), Participation and learning: Perspectives on education and the environment, health and sustainability, (Pg. 111–27). Dordrecht: Springer.
10. O’Donoghue, R. (2012). Towards a Change Practices approach to enhance Sustainable livelihoods in Makana.  In: Fadeeva, Z., Payyappallimana, U. and Petry, R. (2010). (Eds.). Towards more sustainable consumption and production systems and sustainable livelihoods. Pacifico-Yokohama: United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies. Pg.28-33.
11. O’Donoghue, R. (2012). RCE Makana and Rural Eastern Cape: Recovering and Expanding Bio-cultural Diversity. In: Payyappallimana, U. and Fadeeva, Z. (Eds.). Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity. Pacifico-Yokohama: United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNH-IAS). Pg.114-119.
12. Payyappallimana, U., Fadeeva, Z. and O’Donoghue, R. (2013).”Traditional knowledge and biodiversity within Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development”.  In Innovation in Local and Global Systems for Sustainability: Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity-Learning Contributions of the Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. UNU-IAS, Yokohama, Japan. Pg.8-21.
13. O’Donoghue, R. (2013). “RCE Makana and Rural Eastern Cape: Recovering and Expanding Bio-cultural Diversity” In Innovation in Local and Global Systems for Sustainability: Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity-Learning Contributions of the Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. UNU-IAS, Yokohama, Japan. Pg.114-119.
14.  O’Donoghue, R. (2013). “RCE Makana: Towards a Change Practices Approach to enhance Sustainable Livelihoods in Makana” In Innovation in Local and Global Learning Systems for Sustainability: Towards More Sustainable Consumption and Production Systems and Sustainable Livelihoods-Learning Contributions of the Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. UNU-IAS, Yokohama, Japan. Pg. 28-33.
15. O’Donoghue, R. (2014). “ESD and the Framing of Transformative Social Learning in RCEs” In Building a Resilient Future through Multistakeholder Learning and Action: Ten Years of Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development.  Dirksen, A. (Ed). UNU-IAS, Tokyo, Japan. Pg.128-141.
16. O’Donoghue, R. B. and Fadeeva, Z. (2014). “Enhancing Monitoring and Evaluation Practices in RCEs” In Building a Resilient Future through Multistakeholder Learning and Action: Ten Years of Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development.  Dirksen, A. (Ed). UNU-IAS, Tokyo, Japan. Pg. 161-178.
17.  O’Donoghue, R. B. (In Press). Working with Critical Realist perspective and tools at the interface of indigenous and scientific knowledge in a science curriculum setting. In: Lotz-Sisitka, H. and Price, L. (Eds). Critical Realism, Environmental Learning and Social-ecological Change.  Book proposal accepted by Routledge. (accepted for publication)
18. O’Donoghue, R.B. (In Press). Evaluation and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): Navigating a shifting landscape in Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs). In Rieckmann ( In Press)ESD Research in Higher Education Handbook. Routledge Handbooks. (Accepted for publication)

19. O’Donoghue, (In Press) Situated Learning in relation to human conduct and social-ecological change.

Monographs, short papers, research reports and other relevant publications:

1.  O'Donoghue R.B. (1987). Nature conservation policy and environmental communications strategy: Then, now and what next in a multicultural society. Unpulished monograph presented at the Interprovincial Communications Meeting: 'Education is also conservation '. Okaukuejo. Etosha National Park, Namibia. 24-28 August 1987.
2.  O'Donoghue, R. (1987). Environmental Education: A conceptually exciting and pedagogically challenging issue of human survival. Neon. Working paper.
3.  O'Donoghue, R. (1989). An evaluative comment on Wright [1989]. "Solitaire: The Umgeni Valley Project approach." Environmental Education Bulletin, 1, 12.
4.  O'Donoghue, R. (1990). Environmental Education, Evaluation and curriculum change: The case of the Action Ecology Project 1985-1989. Unpublished Master of Education Thesis, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
5.  McNaught C., Keogh M., Raubenheimer D., O'Donoghue R. and Taylor J. (1990). Science Curriculum Initiative in South Africa - a model for participatory curriculum development. Unpublished manuscript. University of Natal.
6.  Taylor, J. O’Donoghue R. B. and Soutter, R. Proceeding of a workshop for cooperation in the development and implementation of environmental education resource materials, 19-21, September, (1990) Umgeni Valley, Howick.
7.  O'Donoghue, R. B. (1989). PEP-UP: A participatory evaluation of the Umgeni Valley Project. Wildlife and Environment Society of Southern Africa, Howick.
8.  O’Donoghue, R.B. and Taylor, J. (1989). A Handbook of Evaluation Techniques for Environmental Interpretation. Share-Net, Howick.
9.  Taylor, J., & Q'Donoghue, R. (1990). Towards a cooperative network for environmental education. Environmental Education Bulletin, 2, 2-5.
10. O' Donoghue, R. (1991). Environmental Education and Developing Environments: Active Learning in Schools and Community-centred Development towards a Sustainable Environment. Unpublished discussion paper. Natal Parks Board: Pietermaritzburg.
11. O'Donoghue, R. (1991). Growing GREEN ideas in S.A. GREEN, 3(1), 1,4. (Also published in 1991 in: Environmental Education Bulletin, 4, 32,33.) O'Donoghue, R. 1991b. Low-cost is key for water quality monitoring projects. GREEN, 3(2), 1,12,13.
12.  Schreuder, D., Ashwell, A., & Q'Donoghue, R. (1992). GREEN Teacher pull-out: Home-made turbidity tube. GREEN, 4(2), Pull-out section.
13. Camp, S., O'Donoghue, R., & Schreuder, D. (1992). Project WATER. Enviroteach , 2, 10-12.
14. O’Donoghue, R. (1994). Stories, myths, competing perspectives and ways of thinking about indigenous knowledge in environmental education. Unpublished working document, Indigenous Knowledge Project. Pietermaritzburg: Natal Parks Board
15. O’Donoghue, R. and Ashwell, A. (1994). Trends and Patterns in EE and their links to Approaches to Learning, Teaching and Evaluation. EE Bulletin, No. 9 (November 1994).
[if !supportLists]16.  [endif]O’ Donoghue, R. (1993). Environment and development education: From hard facts, heads and hearts co-constructed agendas within reflexive social processes. In Moolman, (M. Ed.). Omgewingsopvoeding in museums. Pretoria: National Cultural History museum.
17.  Lotz, H., Ie Roux, K., & O'Donoghue, R. (1998). Developing a school environmental policy, Environmental Education Bulletin, No. 15, pg 3-8, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
18. O'Donoghue, R. B. and Janse van Rensburg, E. (1999). Indigenous myth, story and knowledge in/as environmental education processes. Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa, Monograph Number 3: 92-111.
19. O'Donoghue, R.B. (2001). Investigation Report: Environmental Centres in Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife protected areas.  Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Pietermaritzburg, January, 2001.
20. O’Donoghue, R.B. (2000). An Evaluation of Environmental Education Centres in KwaZulu Natal Wildlife. EKZN Wildlife, Pietermaritzburg.
21. Mascarenhas, J. and O’Donoghue, R.B. (1999). (Eds). Participatory Rural Appraisal workbook for KZN rural development partnerships, KZN Wildlfe, Pietermaritzburg.
22. O'Donoghue, R.B. (2001) Environment and Active Learning: NEEP guidelines for facilitating and assessing active learning in OBE. Howick: Share-Net.
23. O'Donoghue,R. (2002). Teaching endogenous knowledge in South Africa. Issues, approaches and aids. Working papers from the teaching endogenous knowledge in South Africa project. University of Pretoria. Pretoria. Pg. 119-142.
24. Janse van Rensburg, E. Hatting, J Lotz-Sisitka, H. & O'Donoghue, R. (2002). (Eds.), Environmental education, ethics & action in southern Africa. EEASA Monograph (Pg.146-161). Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council.
25. O'Donoghue, R. and Neluvhalani, E. (2002). Indigenous knowledge: Some methods and methodological perspectives for school curriculum contexts. In Janse van Rensburg, E. (Ed) Environmental Education Ethics and Action. EEASA Monograph. Pretoria, Human Sciences Research Council.
26. Lotz-Sisitka, H. & O’Donoghue, R. (2002). Special 10 year report. Gold Fields participatory courses & Gold Fields environmental education service centre. Grahamstown : Rhodes University Environmental Education Unit.
27. O'Donoghue, R. (2003b). A review of emerging perspectives on learning, skills development and training in park and neighbouring community settings. Working group 5: Learning, skills development and training, World Parks Congress, Durban Convention Centre, September 11-13, 2003.
28. O’Donoghue, R., & Moore, K. (2003). Status Report Environmental Interpretation and Education in South African National Parks. South African National Parks, Pretoria.
29. Mphaphuli, S., Lotz-Sisitka, H., & O' Donoghue, R. (2003). Perspectives on the Role of Curriculum Support Staff. Unpublished NEEP-GET Formative Monitoring and Evaluation Report. Rhodes Environmental Education Unit, Grahamstown
30. Moore, K. and O’Donoghue, R. (2004). An Evaluation of Gold Fields Centres in SAN Park Protected Areas. SAN Parks, Pretoria.
31. Jickling, B.; Lotz-Sisitka, H., O’Donoghue, R. & Ogbuigwe, A.  (2006).  Environmental Education, Ethics and Action: A workbook to get started.  Nairobi:  United Nations Environment Programme.
[if !supportLists]32.  [endif]O’Donoghue, R. (2006). Talk, talk, talk: Teaching and learning in whole class discourse. Research Papers in Education, 21(1), 19-41.
33. O'Donoghue, R. and Mandikonza, C. (2007). Indigenous knowledge practices: A basis for locally relevant, practice based environmental learning in the sciences. World Environmental Education Congress. International Convention Centre, Durban. South Africa. July 2007.
34. Lotz-Sisitka,H,  O'Donoghue,R, and Wilmot, D. (2008).  Experiments in social learning.  In: Lotz-Sisitka,H., O'Donoghue,R. and Wilmot, D. (2008). (Eds.) The Makana Regional Centre of Expertise in  Education  for  Sustainable  Development.  Occasional paper No.2. Rhodes University. Grahamstown. (Paper No 2), Pg. 1-19.
35.  O’Donoghue, R., Shallcross, T., le Roux, C., Loubser, C. and Lupele, J. (2008). Promoting sustainable development through whole school approaches: an international, intercultural teacher education research and development project.  Project report.
36.  Lotz-Sisitka, H., O'Donoghue, R., and Wilmot, D. (2008). Experiments in social learning. In: The Makana Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development occasional paper No.2. Lotz-Sisitka,H, O'Donoghue,R and Wilmot, D (Eds) Rhodes University. Grahamstown. 2008. (Paper No 2), 1-19.
37.  Shava, S., O'Donoghue,R, Krasny,ME, Zazu,C and Mukute,M. (2008). Traditional food crops as a source of community resilience in Zimbabwe. PELUM South Africa Indaba. PELUM South Africa Indaba, Pietermaritzburg. South Africa. June 2008.
38.  Lotz-Sisitka,H, O’Donoghue,R, and Davies,S. (2010). Learning with story and metaphor. In: Unterhalter,E. and Aikman,S. (2010). (Eds) EQUALS: Newsletter for Beyond Access: Gender, Education and Development. School of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies. London. Pg.  24, 4-5.
39.  O’Donoghue, R., Jan, I.V. and Brouwers, H.A.M. (2012). Captured country evaluation report India. Wagenign UR. Report Number CD1. 12.018.
40. O’Donoghue, R. (2013). A toolkit for the evaluation of the transformative learning initiatives of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs). Environmental Learning Research Centre, Grahamstown, Rhodes University.
[if !supportLists]41.  [endif]Rosenberg, E., Olvitt, L. and O’Donoghue, R.B. (2012). Fundisa for Change Environments and Methods book. Grahamstown, ELRC, Rhodes University.
42.  O’Donoghue, R.B. (2013). CAPS Framework for active teaching and learning. Grahamstown, Fundisa for Change.

Edited Share-Net Resource Materials

1.  Action Ecology workbook. Howick, Share-Net (1990-1995)
2.  O’Donoghue, R. (Ed.).  (1993). Environment, Development and Environmental Education. Howick: Share-Net.
3.  O'Donoghue, R. (Ed.) (1993). The Environment, Development and Environmental Education. A working document of sources and perspectives for policy and curriculum initiatives in formal education. Share-Net: Howick.
4.  Hands-On Inland and Coastal Habitats. Howick, Share-Net (1992-present)
5.  GREEN water quality monitoring kits. Howick, Share-Net. (1993-1995)
6.  O'Donoghue, R., Taylor, J. and Nel, D. (1994). The shaping of environment, science and technology education within the Share-Net project in southern Africa.
7.  Enviro-Facts (Ed) Paxton, 1996. Howick, Share-Net. (1995 updated 2002 – present)
8.  Enviro-Picture-Building, City, Farm, Catchment and Nature Reserve. Howick, Share-Net. (1996-present)
9.  Audit Water Quality and water use low-cost kit. Howick, Share-Net. (1996-present)
10. Schudel, I., Dambuza, T., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Magonare, T., O'Donoghue, R., & Solomon, A. (2000). Active learning through OBE: An interdepartmental support for the piloting of environmental learning in Grades 4 & 5. Howick: National Environmental Education Programme/Share-Net.
11. O'Donoghue, R. (2001). The Environment and Active Learning Processes in Outcomes Based Education. National Environmental Education Programme (NEEP) Guidelines for Facilitating and Assessing Active Learning in Outcomes Based Education. Ministry of Education through Share-Net: Howick, South Africa
12. O’Donoghue, R.B. (1995) How-To. Series of 8 projects for Science and Technology Education. Howick, Share-Net.
13. Fox, H. and O’Donoghue, R. (2010) Hand-Prints for Change. Series of 12 readers and resource packs for teacher professional development. Howick, Share-Net. (2008-present)
14. River Learning Box, 2011. Howick, Share-Net. WESSA (2010-present)

Last Modified :Tue, 22 Mar 2016 18:12:56 SAST