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Ethical and normative reasoning on climate change: Conceptions and solutions among students in a Chinese context
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Previous research in environmental education and learning has mainly concerned students’ understanding of natural scientific knowledge, whereas research on the influence of other knowledge in learning environmental issues is marginal. Also, the interest in most studies investigating students’ natural scientific knowledge has been to capture constraints in students’ understanding, hence investigations of students’ meaning making are rare.

The main objective of this thesis was to explore individual students’ reasoning regarding climate change, and the influence of knowledge on their reasoning.

In Study I, students’ conceptions of the enhanced greenhouse effect (EGHE) were investigated. The results showed that students incorporated different pieces of information from different problem areas into the conceptualization of the EGHE. Setting up causal links between diversely different pieces of information seems to be a way to make meaning, and thus a necessary step in the learning process. Study II is an investigation of students’ solutions to climate change. The results indicated that students contextualized problems and solutions by addressing the individual(s), where the individual(s) was either “myself” or “someone else”. The different notions of the individual(s) became crucial as the students’ views of the environment, as well as society, changed according to the different contexts.  To further study students’ conceptions of “me” and “others”, Study III examined students’ conceptualized solutions to the dilemma between economic development and mitigating climate change. The findings suggested that students’ conceptualized nature as a “box” of resources, and that economic development would sustain and improve nature. Therefore, the dilemma between economic development and mitigating climate change or dealing with environmental problems did not exist. Results from all three studies were discussed with respect to theoretical implications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University , 2011. , 45 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 4
Keyword [en]
alternative framework, climate change, conception, contextualization, decision making, economic development, environmental education, intentional analysis, learning, meaning making, moral reasoning
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-56033ISBN: 978-91-7447-260-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-56033DiVA: diva2:409553
Public defence
2011-05-20, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.Available from: 2011-04-28 Created: 2011-04-05 Last updated: 2012-04-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Learning as a process of integration: Students' meaning making of the enhanced greenhouse effect
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning as a process of integration: Students' meaning making of the enhanced greenhouse effect
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Students' interpretation of the enhanced greenhouse effect are focused on in this paper. The analysis of the empirical data was conducted from an intentional perspective. The students were 14 years old and studied at Green Schools in the Beijing area. The results show that students set up reasonal causal links among diversely different pieces of knowledge. It is argued that these coherent wholes that were set up by students, even if wrong, can be regarded as a step towards models more acceptable from normative point of view.

Keyword
integration, learning, coherent whole, meaning making, the enhanced greenhouse effect
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-53247 (URN)
Projects
Dotoral study project
Available from: 2011-01-21 Created: 2011-01-21 Last updated: 2011-04-08Bibliographically approved
2. Climate change and morality: Students' perspectives on the individual and society
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate change and morality: Students' perspectives on the individual and society
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 33, no 8, 1131-1148 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a growing interest in addressing moral aspects in the research and education of socioscientificissues. This paper investigates students’ interpretations of climate change from a moralperspective. The students were 14 years old, studying at Green Schools in the Beijing area, China.The study was based on semi-structured group interviews and the data were analysed from anintentional perspective, which means that both cognitive and situational aspects were taken intoconsideration in the analysis. Previous research has revealed a close relation between morality andsocio-scientific issues and also advocated the need for addressing ethical aspects in science education.However, empirical studies exploring the question of what students’ moral reasoning mightlook like at the individual level have not yet generated enough attention. In this study this is thecore focus of interest. The findings show that the students conceptualise the solutions to mitigatingclimate change in relation to two different stances. That is, they contextualise the problemsand solutions by addressing the individual, where the individual is either ‘myself’ or ‘someoneelse’. The different notions of the individual become crucial as the students’ views and considerationsfor the environment, as well as society, change according to the different contexts. From amoral point of view, the students seem quite unaware of their varying consideration for others, theenvironment and society. The paper ends with a discussion of implications for practice andresearch.

Keyword
environmental education, scientific literacy, moral reasoning, socio-scientific issues, climate change
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-49561 (URN)10.1080/09500693.2010.503765 (DOI)000300218600005 ()
Available from: 2011-01-19 Created: 2010-12-15 Last updated: 2012-04-12Bibliographically approved
3. Climate change and costs: investigating students' reasoning on nature and economic development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate change and costs: investigating students' reasoning on nature and economic development
2012 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 18, no 3, 417-436 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The tensions between environmental protection and economic growth are critical to future well-being, and it is therefore important to understand how young people conceptualize these tensions. The aim of the present study is to explore students’ solutions to the dilemma of economic development and mitigating climate change, with regard to societal responses to the challenge of climate change. The study was conducted in China’s Green Schools. Green School is an international long-term programme with the aim of increasing students’ knowledge of environmental issues, and transferring this knowledge into positive actions to affect the wider community. The data were obtained through semi-structured pre- and post-interviews with 15–16-year-old students in three groups (12 students) from Green Schools in the Beijing area. The results show that students’ discussions focused exclusively on economic growth and social welfare. Students seem to believe that environmental problems are inevitable, nature is a ‘box’ of resources, and economic development is necessary in order to sustain and even improve nature. Therefore, there is no dilemma between economic development and environmental protection. The paper ends with a discussion on research and implications for teaching climate change.

Keyword
climate change, economy, environment, decision-making, culture
National Category
Educational Sciences Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-67651 (URN)10.1080/13504622.2011.630532 (DOI)000304169800007 ()
Available from: 2011-12-29 Created: 2011-12-29 Last updated: 2012-10-15Bibliographically approved

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