The autonomy-authority duality of shared decision-making in youth environmental action

The autonomy-authority duality of shared decision-making in youth environmental action

  • paper in the current issue

Tania M. Schusler, Marianne E. Krasny & Daniel J. Decker

Pages: 533-552 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1144174


While environmental action is recognized as an effective approach for developing young people’s capabilities as citizens and contributing to environmental improvements, little research has addressed how adults facilitate youth action projects. Environmental action involves a partnership among youth and adults characterized by shared decision-making. We sought insights into the adult experience of shared decision-making through phenomenological interviews with 33 educators facilitating youth environmental action in various non-formal and formal settings in the USA. Educators described experiencing tensions in sharing decision-making power, which we conceive of as a duality – two inseparable elements both contradictory and complementary that drive the dynamics of a system. The duality consists of youth autonomy and adult authority, which stems not only from formally vested decision-making power but also adults’ experience and wisdom. Educators navigated this duality through diverse approaches to structuring youth participation, supporting youth, valuing mutual learning, and communicating transparently to develop equitable relationships.

Keywords: environmental action, youth participation, shared decision-making, educator practice, autonomy–authority duality



Eco-school evaluation beyond labels: the impact of environmental policy, didactics and nature at school on student outcomes

Eco-school evaluation beyond labels: the impact of environmental policy, didactics and nature at school on student outcomes

  • New Article Alert

Jelle Boeve-de Pauw & Peter Van Petegem

Pages: 1-18 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1307327

We present results from a large-scale study performed in Flanders, focusing on the effectiveness of the eco-schools project. We surveyed 2152 students and 1374 teachers in 101 primary and secondary schools that are actively engaged in the eco-schools program at different stages (including control schools), focusing on their environmental values, knowledge and motivation. The results show that as the schools progress in becoming a certified eco-school, their students’ environmental outcomes change; the eco-schools project thus clearly has an educational impact. The main effects are observed for theoretical knowledge, and to a lesser extent, applied knowledge. We also observed a drop in utilization values and in amotivation. On the other hand, the controlled motivation of students is stimulated by the project as it is implemented, suggesting that students act pro-environmentally due to external pressures rather than because of intrinsic reasons. We also explicitly moved beyond comparing schools based on their eco-schools labels and studied the process factors that contribute to learning outcomes. Our results highlight the importance of the approach to didactics for environmental education, the making of environmental education policy in the schools, and the presence and use of natural green elements at the school campuses. For each of these school-level variables, the impact on students’ environmental learning outcomes are studied and discussed.


The eco-club: a place for the becoming active citizen?

The eco-club: a place for the becoming active citizen?

  • paper in the current issue

Elsa Ukanyezi Lee

Pages: 515-532 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1149552


This paper makes a twofold contribution. Firstly it presents a typology of eco-clubs that can be used to contextualise eco-club observations by researchers and can support management of eco-clubs by practitioners. Secondly it explains how participation in eco-clubs provides a space for a child to both enact and develop as a citizen, a place for being-as-becoming. It shows how children navigate adult behaviours in these settings and how these experiences afford opportunities for the development of attributes including critical and analytical thinking that are commonly associated with citizenship education in England. In conclusion the paper makes links between these unintended outcomes and the liberal underpinnings of educational institutions in England.

Keywords: Citizenship Education, Action Competence, Critical thinking, Environment Clubs


Environmental literacy of youth movement members – is environmentalism a component of their social activism?

Environmental literacy of youth movement members – is environmentalism a component of their social activism?

  • paper in the current issue

Daphne Goldman, Sara Pe’er & Bela Yavetz

Pages: 486-514 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1108390


Youth-movements in Israel are non-formal organizations that educate for social and political involvement and provide a broad platform for youth involvement in the community. This study explored the question: does the social activism of adolescents who both elect for membership in youth movements and a leadership role of instructing younger members also reflect itself in environmentalism? In a survey of 1496 young instructors drawn from 15 official youth movements, findings on environmental literacy variables show youth are only generally knowledgeable about environmental problems; express ‘technical-optimism’ which leads them to limited concern for the environment; show limited recognition of the importance of environmental education, and show limited acknowledgment of the necessity for changes in personal consumerism. Findings also show that environmental issues are not on their mind since they are not a conversation topic with peers or family. Nonetheless, these youth also demonstrate strong self-efficacy to effect change; view themselves as role models for younger members; and express willingness to include environmentally-supportive activities within regular youth movement activities. Their valuing of nature also provides a foundation for building other environmental values. Further analysis shows how these findings can contribute theoretical and practical tools for incorporating sustainability within the youth movement framework, and help realize their potential for promoting sustainability in society.

Keywords: youth movements, environmental literacy, non-formal education, psycho-social variables, consumerism in adolescents, environmentally responsible behavior


“Being a good person in the system we already have will not save us”

“Being a good person in the system we already have will not save us”: interpreting how students narrate and embody the process of social change for sustainability using an agency/structure lens

  • thesis summary

Hannah K. Miller

Pages: 1-1 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1303821

Keywords: Agency/structure dialectic, place-based pedagogy, critical consciousness of race, sustainability education, undergraduate teaching and learning


Place-based education for environmental behavior: a ‘funds of knowledge’ and social capital approach

Place-based education for environmental behavior: a ‘funds of knowledge’ and social capital approach

  • New EER Article Alert

Austin R. Cruz, Samantha T. Selby & William H. Durham

Pages: 1-21 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1311842


In this paper we suggest that a new theoretical framework is needed within environmental education in the discussion of rural, underserved communities in Latin America. We argue that a community-resources approach, comprised of funds of knowledge and social capital, should be incorporated into contemporary research on place- and community-based education and environmental behavior. The model we present builds upon previous research in the areas of education, anthropology, social capital, and environmental education. These perspectives are discussed in accordance with their relevance to high school students in one of the most bio-diverse regions of Central America: the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. In this context, we suggest that promoting environmental behavior is both contextualized by and dependent upon social and community interactions, or ‘mediations,’ after Lev S. Vygotsky. We believe that the framework presented here may contribute to increased socio-economic, academic, and environmental benefits for underserved, Latin American communities.

Keywords: Place-based educationcommunity-based educationfunds of knowledgesocial capitalenvironmental behavior


Young people’s conversations about environmental and sustainability issues in social media

Young people’s conversations about environmental and sustainability issues in social media

  • paper in the current issue

Erik Andersson & Johan Öhman

Pages: 465-485 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1149551


Young people’s conversations about environmental and sustainability issues in social media and their educational implications are under-researched. Understanding young people’s meaning-making in social media and the experiences they acquire could help teachers to stage pluralistic and participatory approaches to classroom discussions about the environment and sustainability. The aim of the article is to explore the characteristics of meaning-making in young people’s conversations about environmental and sustainability issue in social media, more precisely in an online community. The study takes a public pedagogy and citizenship-as-practice approach and uses Epistemological Move Analysis. The conversation are shown to be argumentative, sophisticated, elaborative and competitive and create an educational situation in which facts about the world and moral and political values and interests are confronted and argued. The findings raise questions about pluralistic and participatory approaches and the staging of classroom conversations in environmental and sustainability education.

Keywords: social media, online community, epistemological moves, global warming, public pedagogy, ESE