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Mrs Elaine Hooton

Profile summary

Professional biography

Prior to starting my PhD, I worked as a teacher for 34 years. I graduated from UCL, in the days before mass computing, with a geography degree, and then qualified as a primary teacher. Over my teaching career I had many wonderful opportunities, becoming a primary Head Teacher and then moving into teaching older age groups. I always maintained a keen interest in environmental issues and developments, eventually returning to my geographical roots to teach A-level geography for nearly a decade.

I have always been really interested by the discovery aspect of learning and enjoy the 'journey' of exploration involved in research. I'm thrilled to have been given this opportunity by the OU. 



Research interests

My PhD project is titled 'Written In Stone: Evaluating Geodiversity as a Natural, Social and Economic Asset'. The aim is to develop an approach to assessing and assigning value to geodiversity. Geodiversity has often been called 'the silent partner' to biodiversity. In some ways this project seeks to promote consideration of the abiotic elements of landscapes and environments. This involves work around geodiversity's place within concepts such as ecosystem services and natural capital. There are aspects to explore regarding social connection and public benefit. The approach developed needs to be transferable and allow organisations, such as the National Trust, to better understand their geological assets, to benefit visitor experience and for outreach.

I am interested in hearing from you if you think that you can contribute to this research. Please do get in touch by sending me an email....

Impact and engagement

Although I have only recently begun I have already been able to combine my teaching experience with this project. 6th October 2022 saw the inaugral UNESCO International Geodiversity Day and a shared lesson plan idea for teachers was accepted for inclusion on the official website. This went on to be included in the AQA A-level Geography Teacher Group Facebook page. 

External collaborations

The Written In Stone project is supported with involvement from the National Trust and Natural England. Thank you.