Research, sustainability and learning
4.3K views | +0 today
Research, sustainability and learning
Bridging the gap between science and the practice of learning for nature, the environment and sustainability
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Konekto Consultancy

Konekto Consultancy | Research, sustainability and learning |

December 25th, 2011


Konekto wants to assist in building bridges between the academic world and the practice of learning for nature, the environment and sustainability. This newsletter will be used to make relevant research more accessible to environmental education practioners. 


Do you know of some interesting research being done, anywhere around the globe, that should be in this newsletter? Please let us know!


Rebekah L. Tauritz

The Netherlands


For more information about Konekto visit us at

Kamakshi Rajagopal's comment, April 12, 2013 1:11 PM
Hi Rebekah, we are conducting an experiment on Scoop.IT pages on education at the Open Universiteit (NL). Would you like to participate? Sign up here:
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Education in times of environmental crises. Teaching children to be agents of change

New Routledge book edited by Ken Winograd. The core assumption of this book is the interconnectedness of humans and nature, and that the future of the planet depends on humans’ recognition and care for this interconnectedness. This comprehensive resource supports the work of pre-service and practising elementary teachers as they teach their students to be part of the world as engaged citizens, advocates for social and ecological justice.

Challenging readers to more explicitly address current environmental issues with students in their classrooms, the book presents a diverse set of topics from a variety of perspectives. Its broad social/cultural perspective emphasizes that social and ecological justice are interrelated. Coverage includes descriptions of environmental education pedagogies such as nature-based experiences and place-based studies; peace-education practices; children doing environmental activism; and teachers supporting children emotionally in times of climate disruption and tumult. The pedagogies described invite student engagement and action in the public sphere. Children are represented as ‘agents of change’ engaged in social and environmental issues and problems through their actions both local and global.

Have a look inside this book:
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development (Hardback) - Routledge

Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development (Hardback) - Routledge | Research, sustainability and learning |
The Routledge International Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development gives a systematic and comprehensive overview of existing and upcoming research approaches for higher education for sustainable development. It provides a unique…
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Rebekah Tauritz from Education for Sustainable Development!

The effectiveness of environmental education for sustainable development based on active teaching and learning at high school level-a case study from Puducherry and Cuddalore regions, India « Journ...

The effectiveness of environmental education for sustainable development based on active teaching and learning at high school level-a case study from Puducherry and Cuddalore regions, India « Journ... | Research, sustainability and learning |
The effectiveness of #environmental #education for #sustainable devlpmnt: an #India case study

Via Sarantis Chelmis
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Rewilding the World

On October 8th 2014 acclaimed writer, George Monbiot and the inspiring conservationist Alan Featherstone, Executive Director of Trees for Life presented their ideas on the concept of 'rewilding' to a sold out lecture room at the University of Edinburgh. In itself it was encouraging to see that their were so many people interested in what these men had to share, that there weren't even enough seats available.


Monbiot and Featherstone, who come from very different backgrounds, set out to to describe their perspectives on the social, ecological and developmental benefits of rewilding, including the return of 'keystone species' to degraded habitats across the globe. They also explained how their own experience and connection to the natural world had inspired them to pursue their mission to connect people to nature and to their cause to improve the quality of the natural world left around us.


If you follow this link you will be able to watch Monbiot's and Featherstone's lecture:


No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Social learning towards sustainability: Problematic, perspectives and promise

A common thread throughout a special issue of NJAS-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences (2014) entails, that sustainability is not a destiny one can eventually reach, but rather a continuous learning path towards transformation that should be profound (e.g. affecting moral standards and value systems), transversal (e.g. requiring the involvement of individuals, groups and collectives) and counter-hegemonic (e.g. requiring the exposure and questioning of stubborn routines). From such a vantage point debates about sustainability likely require transdisciplinarity to transcend a singular disciplinary view-point and to allow for the consideration of different perspectives and types of knowledge. The aim of this special issue is to assess the added-value of a social learning perspective on research and action from at least three different ‘disciplinary’ perspectives: systems innovation, natural resource management, and environmental education. Each of these offers a particular perspective on learning, change processes and evolving understandings of sustainable practice.



A.E.J. Wals, R. Rodela, Social learning towards sustainability: Problematic, perspectives and promise, NJAS – Wageningen J. Life Sci. (2014),

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

A Global Evaluation of Biodiversity Literacy in Zoo and Aquarium Visitors

A Global Evaluation of Biodiversity Literacy in Zoo and Aquarium Visitors | Research, sustainability and learning |

The United Nations Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 is a key initiative within global efforts to halt and eventually reverse the loss of biodiversity. The very first target of this plan states that ‘by 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably’.


Zoos and aquariums worldwide, attracting more than 700 million visits every year, could potentially make a positive contribution to this target. However, a global evaluation of the educational impacts of visits to zoos and aquariums is entirely lacking in the existing literature. To address this gap, we conducted a large scale impact evaluation study, using a pre- and post-visit repeated measures survey design, to evaluate biodiversity literacy – biodiversity understanding and knowledge of actions to help protect biodiversity in zoo and aquarium visitors. Our findings are based on the largest and most international study of zoo and aquarium visitors ever conducted worldwide; in total, more than 6,000 visitors to 30 zoos and aquariums around the globe participated in the study.


The study’s main finding is that aggregate biodiversity understanding and knowledge of actions to help protect biodiversity both significantly increased over the course of zoo and aquarium visits. There was an increase from pre-visit (69.8%) to post‑visit (75.1%) in respondents demonstrating at least some positive evidence of biodiversity understanding. Similarly, there was an increase from pre‑visit (50.5%) to post‑visit (58.8%) in respondents that could identify a pro-biodiversity action that could be achieved at an individual level.


This study provides the most compelling evidence to date that zoo and aquarium visits can contribute to increasing the number of people who understand biodiversity and know actions they can take to help protect biodiversity.


Download this report at:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

What Educators Can Learn From Pete Seeger

What Educators Can Learn From Pete Seeger | Research, sustainability and learning |

Courtney Hanes has some interesting ideas about current education. She shares her thoughts on things we can learn from Pete Seeger (1919-2014). Mrs. Hanes is an online Literature teacher at the Riverside Virtual School in Riverside, Ca.


"Pete Seeger had a public life. He was a critical pedagogist who questioned the status quo, and through his music, attempted to make sense of cultural situations and circumstances. He was active politically and socially, and once said, “The world will be saved when people realize we all have to pitch in. You can’t just pay your money and hope that someone else will do the job right.” With all the current talk about Common Core Standards, I can’t help but wonder why there is not a larger focus on civics education, on creating thoughtful and informed citizens who care enough to get involved, and are liberated to make a difference. This is what educators can learn from Pete Seeger."


Read more:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Environmental & STEM Education: A Natural Connection

Great presentation on Environmental Education from The Environmental Education Association of Oregon (EEAO).
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

The Role of Zoos in Fostering Environmental Identity

The Role of Zoos in Fostering Environmental Identity | Research, sustainability and learning |

Susan Clayton, 1 John Fraser, 2 and Claire Burgess 3


1 Department of Psychology, The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio.

2 Institute for Learning Innovation, New York, New York.

3 Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California


As locations where social interactions center on animals, zoos may enable the development of an environmental identity that encourages concern for animals. Two field studies of zoo visitors assessed the level of concern for animals and predictors of that concern and looked for behaviors that might foster identity and concern.


In one study, 1514 adult visitors were surveyed and 265 different visitors were observed. Environmental identity, sense of connection to the animal, and perceived similarity to the animal were all correlated with interest in conservation and general environmental concern. Although there were no significant differences in survey responses before entering an exhibit compared with those obtained as visitors were exiting, responses differed according to exhibit. Exhibits where more comparisons to humans were made tended to evoke higher ratings of support for helping animals.


A second study recorded

interactions among 805 visitor groups. The data suggested that viewing the animals was primarily a social activity, which served to promote social interaction and, in some cases, enabled discussion about a shared conception of the human relationship with animals.


We conclude that zoos provide an opportunity to create and nurture a social identity that emphasizes connection to animals


Download this article:

No comment yet.
Rescooped by Rebekah Tauritz from Wildlife Trafficking: Who Does it? Allows it?!

Video: Zoo conservation raise debate CNN

Will Travers OBE appeared live on CNN to argue the case for keeping wildlife in the wild. But what do you think?

Via Wildlife Margrit
Rebekah Tauritz's insight:

What are zoos and aquaria around the world contributing to wildlife conservation, research and conservation advocacy? Two experts briefly share their opinions. Food for thought!

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Toolkit "Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education"

Toolkit "Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education" | Research, sustainability and learning |

This toolkit is one outcome of a three year project entitled: ‘Hybrid problem based learning: a scalable approach to sustainability education?’ funded by the Higher Education Academy's National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. It is a collaboration between Keele University, the University of Manchester and Staffordshire University. The project aimed to explore effective ways of adapting traditional problem – based learning approaches for the delivery of transformative sustainability education to large student numbers.


This toolkit is aimed at educators wishing to learn more about any one of the following areas:

-      traditional and hybrid problem-based learning;

-      delivering less resource intensive PBL;

-      the use of online learning technologies/social media in group-based teaching and learning;

-      education for sustainable development;

-      and, managing student group working dynamics.



Download the toolkit:,%20et%20al.%202013.pdf

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Connecting to nature at the zoo implications for responding to climate change

Societal response to climate change has been inadequate. A perception that the issue is both physically and temporally remote may reduce concern; concern may also be affected by the political polarization surrounding the issue in the USA. A feeling of connection to nature or to animals may increase personal relevance, and a supportive social context may counteract political tensions. Zoos may provide opportunities for both sense of connection and social support. We surveyed over 7000 zoo and aquarium visitors to examine the ways in which a feeling of personal connection among zoo visitors may encourage concern about climate change. Results show that feeling connected to animals at the zoo is significantly associated with cognitive and emotional responses to climate change, as well as with other social groupings and social responses. Overall, the zoo seems to present a supportive social context for considering the topic.


Susan Clayton , Jerry Luebke , Carol Saunders , Jennifer Matiasek & Alejandro Grajal , Environmental Education Research (2013): Connecting to nature at the zoo: implications for responding to climate change, Environmental Education Research, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2013.816267

To link to this article:


No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Environmental Education: The Philosophy of Greening the Curriculum

Environmental Education: The Philosophy of Greening the Curriculum | Research, sustainability and learning |
By Maligana Mathe &  Kelabogile Mfolwe

Studies have been done in various countries on the implementation
of environmental education but the support from the top leadership has not been good. However environmental education is an important tool for sustainable development. The study is important to policy makers, educators and well as other stakeholders.

The study used interviews and group discussions in generating data. It sought to establish the perceptions of the participants on environmental education. An ethnographic approach was adopted as the researcher spent a lot of time with respondents and also taking part in their activities. This approach was selected because it enabled the researcher to collect thick rich data that was validated through triangulating with what was collected from individual interviews and group discussions. Data was qualitatively analysed.

The results showed that some respondents seem to understand the importance of environmental education while some could not see its importance. The findings were of importance to all in the education fraternity as well as to the environmentalists. Use of the findings could change the mindset of the community through educating the learners. Therefore the findings of the study are important in redirecting the mindset of people towards environmental protection with regard to preservation and conservation.

Download the full paper at:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

A Pedagogy for Uncertain Times

Many scholars agree that it is essential in our rapidly changing world for young people to develop ‘uncertainty competences’ comprising specific sets of skills, knowledge, attitudes and capabilities needed to deal with uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity in diverse contexts. Learning to handle knowledge uncertainty requires learning environments tolerating, even inviting, uncertainty into the learning process. Terms describing this need have been used by Gordon (‘welcoming confusion, embracing uncertainty in learning’), Barnett (‘pedagogy for supercomplexity’), English (‘need for discontinuity in learning’) and Buckingham (‘need for optimally productive measure of epistemological chaos’) amongst others. Education for Sustainability (EfS) features subject areas such as ‘climate change’ hallmarked by complexity and uncertainty. Such topics can be difficult to deal with in the subject-delineated world of formal education. What does the ideal learning environment and teaching approach for the development of these competences look like? This paper will critically examine the literature and explore the dearth of coherent EfS-based empirical studies.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Making Connections at Grantown Grammar School

Making Connections at Grantown Grammar School | Research, sustainability and learning |

This is the story of a fascinating secondary school project that was launched in 2007. "Making Connections" is an interdisciplinary programme encompassing themes of global citizenship, sustainability, international education and enterprise linked to practical outdoor learning experiences within the Cairngorms National Park.


The initial focus was on developing global citizens, sustainable development education, enterprise and the four capacities (Curriculum for Excellence). It has been improved and extended each following year. It can no doubt inspire other schools considering whole school approaches to outdoor learning!


Download the report:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Conversations about learning for sustainability

Conversations about learning for sustainability | Research, sustainability and learning |

Case studies of Scottish schools and early years centres to mark the conclusion of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).


The launch of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) on 1st January 2005 marked the start of a collective global effort to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning, in order to address the social, economic, cultural and environmental problems we face in the 21st century.


Scotland embraced the opportunity and the Scottish Government produced two action plans, Learning for our Future and Learning for Change , to set out its ambitions and targets for each half of the Decade. Within the school sector, the biggest achievements have arguably been the embedding of global citizenship and sustainable development education as themes across learning within Curriculum for Excellence.


As we approach the conclusion of the DESD in December 2014 we are prompted to reflect on how the reorientation of education towards sustainable development has made a difference at classroom level and how has it improved outcomes for learners, their families and school communities.


Education Scotland conducted a series of visits to 20 schools and early years centres between June and September 2014 to seek their views and gather testimonies. Positive outcomes were reported in relation to:

Confidence and skills of learnersLearning experiences and motivation of learnersThe reputation of the centresStaff morale, wellbeing and motivationCommunity partnerships and community spirit.


The full report contains case studies from the establishments. Various sectors were included: early years establishments, primary and secondary schools and schools for learners with additional support needs (ASN).


Download here:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

EVIDENCE of NATURAL CHANGE Case studies from the Scottish education sector

EVIDENCE of NATURAL CHANGE Case studies from the Scottish education sector | Research, sustainability and learning |

By Margaret Kerr & David Key

June 2013


The Natural Change (NC) Project works with people who hold  positions of influence in society, offering them potentially  life-changing experiences of wild places. It then goes on to support the growth of these personal experiences into leadership and social action for an ecologically sustainable future.


This report presents six case studies of participants from the education sector. The studies demonstrate that there is a strong link between taking part in the Natural Change Project and taking action to help create a more sustainable society.


The data show that participants have engaged in

several specific types of social action as a result of

their Natural Change experiences.

1. Influencing policy

2. Creating professional networks

3. Community development

4. Organisational development?

5. Conducting research

6. Extending skills


You can download the report at:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Education for Sustainable Development in Eco-Schools

Education for Sustainable Development in Eco-Schools | Research, sustainability and learning |

This PhD thesis by Jo Anna Reed Johnson explores the extent to which Eco-schools were able to develop whole school approaches to education for sustainable development during the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Current educational systems in many countries do not always allow schools to engage in pedagogies of participation (Lotz-Sisitka 2004, O’Donoghue and Lotz-Sisitka 2006), democratic styles of learning and critical thinking (Sterling 2003), which this study highlighted.

The aim of this study was to examine the vision for education for sustainable development (ESD), being driven by UNESCO, and its reality in practice in two eco-schools, in England and in South Africa. Cultural stories were compared as idiosyncratic cases through a common reporting structure based on aspects of communities of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991) and whole-school approaches (Shallcross 2006a, Shallcross et al. 2006). This book should be especially useful to policy makers, educational scholars, academics and students in the field of environmental education (EE/ESD) in England and South Africa and those in the field of global education agendas.

July 2014

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Convergence Between Science and Environmental Education

Convergence Between Science and Environmental Education | Research, sustainability and learning |

How can you ensure that people do not only spend time thinking about important global issues like climate change or world food supplies, but also roll up their sleeves and do something about them? Four researchers, including Professor Arjen Wals from Wageningen University, think that the education sector holds the key. Teaching processes around the world could be given more influence and meaning by making pure science subjects, such as biology and physics, complementary to lessons in nature, environment and sustainability. Their article on this new approach to teaching, which is based on citizen science, is published in the 9 May edition of Science.

Throughout the world, ‘pure’ science subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, maths, geography and general natural sciences, which traditionally aim to build up knowledge and understanding, are seen separately from subjects such as nature and the environment, which together with the latest branch ‘sustainability education’ take a more practical approach. Although this certainly makes scholars aware of the current condition of our planet, their lack of practical perspective evokes a sense of powerlessness. For example, what can you do to prevent or respond adequately to forthcoming climate shifts? Affinity with politics, society and the economy are essential in this respect. Conversely, education in nature, the environment and sustainability (aka ‘environmental education’) does not equip scholars with the scientific insight they need to back up their proposed remedies.


When taught separately, natural sciences and environmental education give a disjointed answer to society’s demand for a truly sustainable society. “It’s time these two schools converged,” says Arjen Wals, Professor of Social Learning and Sustainable Development at Wageningen University. “If we cannot create a firm link between these two educational areas, scientific education is in jeopardy of becoming purely a vehicle for enhancing the innovative and competitive potential of a country’s economy”, he says. “At the same time, without a firm link with the sciences, environmental education will never be able to find a responsible and realistic way of dealing with the contradictions and uncertainties that are raised in the scientific debate surrounding questions of sustainability.”

The authors of the article in Science give a number of examples of environmental education, which cover the area where science meets society. Among them is the American concept of Edible School Gardens, whereby schoolchildren grow their own food in an educational garden while simultaneously learning about the things they grow in science lessons. The Dutch version is known as Groene schoolpleinen (‘green school grounds’). Another good example is YardMap, based on IT and citizen science. Citizens, both young and old, analyse biodiversity in their own neighbourhood by means of digital photos, special apps and Google Maps. The aim is to identify the areas with the greatest potential for boosting biodiversity. Action plans designed to ensure that the YardMaps are kept fully up-to-date are drawn up and implemented on the basis of studies and in consultation with scientists and local partners (including the municipal authority, garden centres and an NGO). The various YardMaps are linked via social media. The Dutch Natuurkalender works in much the same way.


Creating closer ties between citizen science, scientific education and environmental education will help citizens and scientists to take a meaningful and practical approach to the pursuit of sustainability. Wals: “It’s not just about linking up the content; it involves developing new competencies such as dealing with complexity, uncertainty and confusion, and devising and implementing meaningful local solutions”. This method of learning may also help to restore the damage to public confidence in science. The government will have to put more effort into stimulating and supporting the ‘hybrid teaching environments’ that blur the boundaries between science and society, school and neighbourhood, local and global, and shift the emphasis to the wellbeing of mankind and the planet.


Calls for transition and another way of thinking are becoming more urgent, says Professor Wals: “At the end of the day, the climate problem is as much in between our ears, as it is between the North and South Poles”. He backs this up with a remarkable conclusion: to his mind, the role of education and citizen involvement has been seriously underemphasised in the climate debate. In fact he wonders if we will ever be able to bring about a transition without committed, critical and competent citizens, who aspire to values that are not purely based on the material side of their existence but also on care for fellow human beings and, indeed, other species, here and elsewhere, now and in the future.

Join in the discussion on #CitizenScience


Wals, A.E.J., Brody, M., Dillon, J. and Stevenson, R.B. (2014) Convergence Between Science and Environmental Education, Science, 344, p. 583-584.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Review of the research evidence in relation to the role of trees and woods in formal education and learning

Review of the research evidence in relation to the role of trees and woods in formal education and learning | Research, sustainability and learning |

By Rebecca Lovell, Liz O’Brien, Roz Owen

The Research Agency of the Forestry Commission, 2010


This review explored research relating to education and learning outdoors and particularly that which take s place in, or focuses on, tree, woods and forests. A desk-based review was undertaken supplemented by a small number of interviews.  


Tree, wood and forest (TWF) education and learning (E&L) is any activity which takes place in, or focuses on, the specific environment or context of TWF and which provides opportunities for the participant to engage with or learn about those environments. Many outdoor and TWF focused activities which are not explicitly designed to have E&L objectives may have relevant learning outcomes. For instance programmes or activities which aim to increase levels of activity in woodland settings may result in greater engagement with and knowledge of TWF.


The Forestry Commission in England, Scotland and Wales, is one of a number of organisations, which delivers a wide range of E&L opportunities and activities in woods and forests for all ages. The Forestry Commission in each country delivers E&L through the following mechanisms:

Direct formal provision of E&L: curriculum and non curriculum based, forest apprenticeships and work placements.Facilitation: partnerships such as the Forest Education Initiative, grants and funding such as the Forest School Woodland Improvement Grant, teacher/educator support and trainingResource provision: physical resources and educational materialsInterpretation: led visits and self use interpretationPlay: provision of play activities and opportunitiesCampaigns and events: through national media or schoolsProjects/programmes where E&L is often an outcome but not a specific focus of the project e.g. health projects, volunteering, ‘friends of’ groups.


The focus of the research identified for this review has primarily been on more formal provision of outdoor E&L and on children and young people. Less is known about E&L associated specifically with trees and woods; what there is has predominantly focused on Forest School. Much of the research has explored personal, social and emotional development rather than specific educational outcomes.


Evidence from this review suggests that outdoor learning may result in:

improved personal and interpersonal skills including communication and teamworkthe accumulation of social capital, in particular fostering pride, belonging and involvement in the community more positive attitudes regarding the natural environmentthe acquisition of academic skills and knowledge.


To read more click here:$FILE/Education_and_learning_research_review_2010.pdf



No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Learning outside the Classroom: Theory and Guidelines for Practice

Learning outside the Classroom: Theory and Guidelines for Practice | Research, sustainability and learning |

This book outlines theory and practice that will enable and encourage teachers to systematically and progressively incorporate meaningful outdoor learning opportunities into their daily teaching activities in a wide variety of environments and with diverse populations of pupils. This is the first textbook based around the curriculum for prospective and practising primary and secondary teachers and other outdoor educators. The principles and examples presented are intended to be adapted by teachers to suit the needs of their students in ways that draw upon content offered by the local landscape and its natural and built heritage. Although the focus of this book is ‘the real world’ beyond the classroom, it is also about good teaching — wherever it takes place. While there are chapters on practical issues such as risk-management and supervising groups outdoors, the chapters on curriculum, sustainability, curiosity, responsibility, and educational communities will serve as a valuable guide for anyone interested in applying educational theory to practice.


by Simon Beames, Peter Higgins and Robbie Nicol

August, 2011

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Education as a response to sustainability issues. Practices of environmental education in the context of the United Nations Decade of education for sustainable development

PhD Dissertation by Katrien van Poeck

University of Leuven, October 2013


"The United Nations designated the decade 2005-2014 as the ‘UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’ (ESD). Practices of environmental education (EE) are facing this changing policy discourse and practice and are challenged to find new ways to relate to it. Drawing on an empirical analysis of the policymaking process in Flanders as well as of seven very diverse EE practices we aim at grasping the educational dynamics emerging in concrete practices within a policy-context focusing on ESD.


Throughout the history of EE and ESD education is pre-eminently framed as an instrument to tackle social and ecological challenges through a narrowly conceived process of socialisation. Sustainability appears as a goal that can be reached by applying the proper learning strategies and, thus, education is reduced to the acquisition of those skills, competences, knowledge, or dispositions that are regarded vital so as to qualify people for sustainable behaviour or for active, democratic, and sustainable citizenship.


Our analysis of the scholarly discussion about EE and ESD shows how this narrow focus on ‘learning’ is inadequate so as to grasp what is at stake in educational practices addressing sustainability issues. Researchers on EE and ESD point at the importance of educational practices that, in one way or another, take into account the far-reaching implications of sustainability issues. Yet, all the same criticism is raised about the expectation that these educational practices can solve social and political problems. A variety of different opinions exists simultaneously centred around the paradox between acknowledging pluralism and taking into account sustainability concerns. The insights of Bruno Latour and Noortje Marres about ‘public issues’ inspired us to develop a conception of EE and ESD that moves beyond normative socialisation without falling into a sheer plurality of opinions, values, interests, and points of view. Thus, this doctoral research aims at deepening our understanding of what it means to approach sustainability issues as public issues within educational processes.


Our analysis of the interaction between policymaking and educational practices shows the emergence of a regime that fosters the ‘privatisation’ rather than ‘public-isation’ of sustainability issues within EE practices. That is, policymakers as well as practitioners and participants are somehow expected to be willing and able to see these practices, think and speak about them and act in/toward them in a very particular way and, as a result, EE practices tend to contain (instead of proliferate) contestation and controversy and to limit (rather than broaden) the public around sustainability issues. Yet, this regime to which ESD policymaking contributes does not force EE practices to the privatisation of sustainability issues. It is ‘merely’ appealing for such practices. As our case study reveals, at particular moments EE practices do create a space for public-isation and, thus, resist the appeal for privatisation. By bringingthisforward in our descriptions we want to invite and inspire the reader to be attentive to different ways of seeing, speaking, thinking, and acting."



Nick Maidment's OHS Quest's curator insight, June 11, 2014 6:24 AM

Definately think environmental studies should form part of childrens learning @ school...... we need to educate to assimilate........ make informed decisions

Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Learning about animals, science and conservation: Large scale survey - based evaluation of the educational impact of the ZSL London Zoo Formal Learning programme

Learning about animals, science and conservation: Large scale survey - based evaluation of the educational impact of the ZSL London Zoo Formal Learning programme | Research, sustainability and learning |

The study described in this report represents the largest (n = 3018) and most methodologically robust investigation of the educational value of zoos for children and adolescents ever conducted worldwide. This research evaluates (1) the impact of ZSL London Zoo Formal Learning educational presentations and unguided zoo visits, (2) pupils’ development of new knowledge and (3) pupils’ perceptions of zoos, science and wildlife conservation.


Using methods developed during a pilot study conducted in spring 2009 with primary school (Wagoner & Jensen 2010) and post-16 pupils (Jensen & Wagoner, under review) attending London Zoo Formal Learning presentations, both the quality and quantity of learning are directly assessed. The present study is aimed at both informing practice at the ZSL London Zoo Discovery & Learning Department and at developing robust evidence of the degree to which zoo-based science and conservation educationcan have a positive impact for children and adolescents.


Download the full report:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!

Anthropomorphized species as tools for conservation: utility beyond prosocial, intelligent and suffering species

Anthropomorphized species as tools for conservation: utility beyond prosocial, intelligent and suffering species | Research, sustainability and learning |

Anthropomorphism has recently emerged in the literature as a useful tool for conservation. Within the current conservation literature, description of the development of anthropomorphisms and the range of species that can be anthropomorphized overlooks established and emerging evidence from anthropological and other social science studies of human–animal relationships.


This research shows that people anthropomorphize a very broad range of species, including plants. We discuss how people construct anthropomorphic meanings around species, through a diversity of mechanisms and with both positive and negative effects. We then review the many gradations and forms of anthropomorphism, and some related conceptions in non-Western cultures, which have different types of utility for conservation. Finally we discuss cases where animals are anthropomorphized but with negative outcomes for human-animal interactions and conservation.


Limiting the use of anthropomorphism in conservation to pro-social, intelligent, suffering animals risks suggesting that other species are not worthy of conservation because they are not like humans in the ‘‘right’’ ways. It would also mean overlooking the application of a powerful tool to the promotion of low-profile species with high biological conservation value. We emphasize that negative outcomes and conflicts with ecosystem-level conservation actions are also possible and need to be carefully managed. Use of anthropomorphism conservation must take into account how people engage with species and attribute value to their characteristics.


Root-Bernstein et al. (2013). Anthropomorphized species as tools for conservation: utility beyond prosocial, intelligent and suffering species. Biodiversity Conservation. 22:1577–1589.

DOI 10.1007/s10531-013-049

What is sustainability?'s curator insight, October 3, 2013 8:09 AM

Gee, we're so self-referential...

Scooped by Rebekah Tauritz!


URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND SENSE OF PLACE | Research, sustainability and learning |
Rebekah Tauritz's insight:

by Alex Kudryavtsev, PhD


Cornell University 2013


Urban environmental educators are trying to connect students to the urban environment and nature, and thus develop a certain sense of place. To do so, educators involve students in environmental stewardship, monitoring, activism, and outdoor recreation in cities. At the same time, sense of place has been linked to pro-environmental behaviors and other desired educational outcomes. However, the related literature from environmental psychology has rarely been applied to environmental education research, particularly in cities. In this dissertation, Kudravtsev applies the sense of place framework to environmental education, and explore the development of sense of place among high school students in seven after-school and summer urban environmental education programs in the Bronx, New York City.


First, Kudravtsev reviewed the academic literature on urban environmental education in the United States to better understand educational programs in the Bronx. He found that urban environmental education programs may pursue several goals, and one of them is teaching about cities as social-ecological systems in which both social and natural components are essential.


Second, Kudravtsev reviewed the literature on sense of place, including its role in environmental education. He conceptualized the idea of ecological place meaning, i.e., viewing environmental and nature-related phenomena as symbols or valued elements of places.


Third, in 2010, Kudravtsev explored the impact of urban environmental education on sense of place among students. He conducted pre/post surveys with 87 urban high school students (mean age = 16), including 64 students in 6–week urban environmental programs (experimental group), and 23 students in non-environmental, summer youth employment programs (control group). Results showed that urban environmental education programs significantly strengthened ecological place meaning but did not influence place attachment among experimental students; no changes were found in the control group.


Fourth, Kudravtsev collected and interpreted nine educators’ and five students’ narrative profiles to explore the reasons for and approaches to developing ecological place meaning in the city. The narrative analysis showed that educators are trying to cultivate ecological place meaning among students to help them understand and appreciate urban nature and places, and imagine how the urban environment could be improved. Narratives also demonstrated that ecological place meaning is nurtured among students through direct experiences of urban places, social interactions with educators and environmentalists, and the development of students’ ecological identity.


This dissertation raises questions about how nature-related phenomena in cities — including wetlands and terrestrial ecosystems, green infrastructure, and nature-related outdoor activities such as environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation — are valued by urban residents. Urban environmental education strengthens students’ appreciation of the urban environment and nature, and experiences in these programs themselves become part of students’ ecological place meaning.

Download the full text:

No comment yet.