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Känsla, förståelse och värdering: elevers meningsskapande i skolaktiviteter om miljö-och hållbarhetsfrågor
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4388-7970
2015 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Emotions, understandings, and values : students' meaning-making in school activities regarding environmental and sustainability issues (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on young students’ experiences and meaning-making processes in school practices within environmental and sustainability education. Earlier research has shown this to be an area of complexity; besides a transdisciplinary perspective requiring relational thinking, it also involves conflicting interests as well as emotions and values. With a certain interest in emotions being part of learning as a meaning-making process, this thesis aims to investigate the character of experiencing, and the function of aesthetic experience in environmental and sustainability education. Through a mixed-methods approach a comprehensive questionnaire was used in the first study, and a more in-depth case study investigated the most important findings from the questionnaire even further in the second one by using multiple data. 209 students, age 10-12, from six different schools in Sweden answered the questionnaire. One class in grade six participated in the case study during four months, where both in- and out-of-door activities were studied. Both qualitative content analyses, and quantitative statistics were used to analyze the material from the two studies. Furthermore, John Dewey’s theoretical perspectives and neo-Aristotelian philosophers, mainly Martha Nussbaum, guided the interpretations of the empirical results. The main findings show that young students’ experiences in environmental and sustainability education are characterized by relational understandings both within and among ecologic, economic and social aspects, but also that perceived school activities of a value-laden and more cognitive kind correlated. The results further show that aesthetic experiences function as links in the transactional and continuous processes of meaning making. Furthermore, of importance for students’ meaning making and formation of values in environmental and sustainability were also prior experiences, encounters with outdoor environments and artifacts (both natural and digital), social interactions and felt independence. A holistic picture of understanding, emotions and values hence appear as an intertwined unity in students’ written responses, action and talk. A conclusion suggests that contributing to students’ possibilities of making meaning in environmental and sustainability issues requires openness to personal emotions and values as a starting point. Activities allowing for social interaction, independence, and relevant contextual encounters should also be considered in the pedagogical practice of environmental and sustainability education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2015. , 113+ 4 artiklar p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 61
Series
Umeå Studies in the Educational Sciences, 5
Keyword [en]
environmental and sustainability education, experiences, meaning-making, aesthetics, young students
Keyword [sv]
miljö- och hållbarhetsutbildning, erfarande, meningsskapande, yngre elever
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work; didactics of natural science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101785ISBN: 978-91-7601-238-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-101785DiVA: diva2:802517
Public defence
2015-05-08, Naturvetarhuset, N320, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-04-13 Last updated: 2015-10-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Mapping what young students understand and value regarding sustainable development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mapping what young students understand and value regarding sustainable development
2013 (English)In: International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education, ISSN 2146-0329, Vol. 3, no 1, 17-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the results of a study carried out to investigate how 10-12 year old Swedish students understand and value the issue of sustainable development. The responses from openended questions in a questionnaire have been analyzed through a content analysis based on a phenomenographic approach. The results show that there are considerable variations in the level of understandings and the values related to the three aspects of sustainable development. Understanding within as well as between the aspects is noted, with students having the most difficulty in seeing the relationships between all three aspects, i.e. a holistic understanding. Furthermore, students’ understanding and values are often expressed in an integrated way i.e. expressed in the same sentence. The variations, complex understandings, and expressions of understandings and values are discussed in relation to earlier research with a focus on ethical issues and systems thinking.

Keyword
Education for sustainable development, levels of understanding, values, student perspective, ethical reflections
National Category
Learning
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-63809 (URN)
Available from: 2013-01-11 Created: 2013-01-08 Last updated: 2015-10-27Bibliographically approved
2. Perceived learning experiences regarding Education for sustainable development: within Swedish outdoor education traditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perceived learning experiences regarding Education for sustainable development: within Swedish outdoor education traditions
2013 (English)In: NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, ISSN 1504-4556, E-ISSN 1894-1257, Vol. 9, no 2, 187-205 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents results from a Swedish exploratory study investigating perceptions of the learning experiences related to education for sustainable development (ESD) by students 10-12 years old. A comprehensive questionnaire with both open and closed questions asking for the students’ cognitive, emotional, practical, social, and situated learning experiences was developed. The empirical material consists of the responses from 209 students from six schools. The schools were selected to get a variety of both school programs regarding ESD and outdoor education activities. The results reported here reveal relationships between areas of students’ learning experiences, mainly between the cognitive, emotional, and social areas. Comparisons between the schools illustrate different approaches to teaching as well as the students’ diverse perceptions of these practices. The questionnaire developed for the project proved to be a valid instrument for researching the relationships and complexities in ESD learning, thus demonstrating its potential for use in future studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: NorDina, Naturfagssenteret, 2013
Keyword
Education for sustainable development, learning experiences, outdoor activities
National Category
Learning
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-84223 (URN)
Available from: 2013-12-19 Created: 2013-12-18 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Young students’ aesthetic experiences and meaning making processes in an outdoor environmental school practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Young students’ aesthetic experiences and meaning making processes in an outdoor environmental school practice
2017 (English)In: Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, ISSN 1472-9679, E-ISSN 1754-0402, Vol. 17, no 2, 108-121 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study uses John Dewey’s theoretical concept of ‘aesthetic experience’ in empirically exploring expressions of cognition and emotion in students’ meaning-making processes. A case study was conducted in one class of Grade 6 students during a single school semester. This article reports results from five outdoor days. The empirical material consists of observations, field notes, logbook entries, interviews and students’ written reflections. The students’ meaning-making processes were analyzed through the Deweyan theory of an initial phase involving anticipation, an activity phase with courses of actions and a concluding phase with reflections that serve as fulfillments. Expressions of aesthetic experience were identified in four important components of the students’ meaning-making processes: prior personal experiences; responses to environments and artifacts; social interaction; and situations allowing for responsibility, trust and independence. A more in-depth process-oriented analysis revealed that aesthetic experiences are vital in continuous meaning-making processes.

Keyword
Aesthetic experience, meaning-making, outdoor and environmental education, emotions
National Category
Pedagogical Work Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101822 (URN)10.1080/14729679.2016.1219872 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-04-13 Created: 2015-04-13 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Space for emotional experiences, reflective conversations and the formation of values - A case study in ESE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Space for emotional experiences, reflective conversations and the formation of values - A case study in ESE
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101823 (URN)
Available from: 2015-04-13 Created: 2015-04-13 Last updated: 2015-04-13

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