Teaching sustainability in Norway, China and Ghana: challenges to the UN programme

Teaching sustainability in Norway, China and Ghana: challenges to the UN programme

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Nina Witoszek

Pages: 1-14 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1307944

Abstract

The article compares how the UN-initiated education for sustainable development (ESD) has fared in three seemingly dissimilar countries: Norway, a wealthy, ‘post-materialist’ liberal democracy, Ghana, a developing democratic country, and China, a fast catching-up, centrally- steered economy. The study – based on an analysis of national ESD programmes, schoolbooks and qualitative interviews with teachers and students – discusses some of the pivotal reasons for the decline in ESD schooling in all three countries. It also explores surprising ‘archipelagos of pedagogical innovation’, as shown by one of the high schools in Ghana. Our conclusions are that, apart from specific, cultural and political contexts which influence ESD, students’ socio-environmental literacy in the examined countries has been affected by an ever more pervasive competitive and neoliberal mindset. Further, in all three cases, the agenda of ‘sustainable development’ suffers from a ‘narrative and mythical deficit’: a lack of a mobilizing story, the absence of which reduces the attractiveness of sustainability ideals and inhibits their empowering potential.

Keywords: Education for sustainability, comparative curriculum studies, modernity, environmental values

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2017.1307944

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Protecting the Great Barrier Reef: analysing the impact of a conservation documentary and post-viewing strategies on long-term conservation behaviour

Protecting the Great Barrier Reef: analysing the impact of a conservation documentary and post-viewing strategies on long-term conservation behaviour

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Karen Hofman & Karen Hughes

Pages: 1-16 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1303820

Abstract

Nature-based tourism experiences have the potential to change the environmental knowledge, attitudes and behavior of visitors; but such experiences may be beyond the physical and/or financial reach of many people. To influence the conservation behavior of populations world-wide, a more accessible yet equally effective strategy is required. Using an experimental design, this study explored whether a conservation documentary about Australian marine environments, together with post-viewing support materials, prompted the adoption of conservation behaviours. Questionnaires revealed environmental knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions rose immediately after viewing the documentary. Ten weeks later, these levels were maintained or decreased slightly for those who received post-viewing support (Facebook, help sheet or both), but decreased markedly in the control group. Results are similar to those reported in wildlife tourism studies. Implications for the use of documentaries in place of nature experiences are discussed.

Keywords: Conservation, education, post-viewing support, conservation documentary, pro-environmental behaviour

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2017.1303820

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How to sustainably increase students’ willingness to protect pollinators

How to sustainably increase students’ willingness to protect pollinators

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Mona L. Schönfelder & Franz X. Bogner

Pages: 1-13 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1283486

Abstract

The current loss of biodiversity requires efforts to increase awareness of pollinator conservation. An important tool is education which often uses the honeybee (Apis mellifera) as an exemplary organism to reach this goal. Any successful module needs to focus on reducing the perceived danger associated with fear, in order to support the willingness to protect them. Using a quasi-experimental design, we investigated the effectiveness of two educational approaches: one by authentically encountering living animals at a beehive, the other by using a remote online beehive. We monitored secondary school students’ (N = 354) perception of bees with respect to interest, danger and conservation as well as situational emotions (interest, well-being, boredom) during both interventions. In both cases positive effects on perception levels were observed, even when already a high willingness to protect bees existed. Using living animals in educational settings is crucial, especially when students’ situational emotions need targeting. However, we achieved similar intervention results in perception levels using a remote beehive, which therefore constitutes an excellent alternative to raise awareness of the conservation of bees as pollinators when working with living organisms is not possible.

Keywords: eLearning, honeybees, living animals, perceived danger, situational emotions, student-centred

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2017.1283486

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Reflected places of childhood: applying the ideas of humanistic and cultural geographies to environmental education research

Reflected places of childhood: applying the ideas of humanistic and cultural geographies to environmental education research

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Sirpa Tani

Pages: 1-9 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1269875

Abstract

The article investigates people–environment relationships from the viewpoint of humanistic and cultural geographies and highlights the importance of subjective experiences and emotional place attachment in the construction of environmental attitudes. Some core concepts of these research fields (e.g. ‘place’, ‘insideness/outsideness’, ‘topophilia/topophobia) are defined and their meanings for environmental relations are interpreted. Empirical material is based on the written essays of 65 students who participated in the Introduction Course of Environmental Education at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The analysis concentrated on students’ childhood memories to find out what kind of environmental experiences were regarded as significant from the adults’ perspective. The essays showed how the students’ environmental attitudes were not always based on their experiences of nature but their connection to the environment could also be constructed in urban settings. The role of everyday environments and other people during childhood years were regarded as essential elements in constructing close bonds with the environment.

Keywords: Place, environment, sense of place, humanistic geography, cultural geography

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2016.1269875

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Integrating problem- and project-based learning opportunities: assessing outcomes of a field course in environment and sustainability

Integrating problem- and project-based learning opportunities: assessing outcomes of a field course in environment and sustainability

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Vladimir Kricsfalusy, Colleen George & Maureen G. Reed

Pages: 1-18 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1269874

Abstract

Improving student competencies to address sustainability challenges has been a subject of significant debate in higher education. Problem- and project-based learning have been widely celebrated as course models that support the development of sustainability competencies. This paper describes a course developed for a professional Master’s program in environment and sustainability that employs such a model. Additionally, the course was designed to offer value-added opportunities by introducing attributes of interdisciplinary training, service learning, academic research, and professional practice. Results from the course assessments by students, faculty, community clients and organizational partners show this model provided a range of learning, professional and practical outcomes for course partners. The value-added benefits include strengthening sustainability competencies and professional skills for students; longitudinal research opportunities for teaching faculty; real-time assessments of farming practices for community clients; and a heightened regional profile for the non-profit biosphere reserve organization supporting course delivery.

Keywords: Problem-based learning, project-based learning, service learning, professional practice, value-added benefits

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2016.1269874

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