Browsing by Subject "environmental education"

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  • Sintonen, Sara (2020)
    In this article, I have sought to develop an understanding of the contribution of imaginative and nature appreciation in early childhood environmental education dealing with old, cultural nature myths and beliefs. The argument rests on the belief that the basis of a child-environmental education is in imagination which resonates with play, aesthetics and storytelling as old, historical nature myths have a story-like power to transform human perception of the world and our relationship to it. The thinking of the old nature myths and development of early childhood environmental education is in this article relying on new materialism and posthumanist thinking of intra-action (Barad 2003; 2007). This article specifically considers the usage of material Whisper of the Spirit, which places educators in the position of examining their environmental education practices as relative, evolving and emergent situations in which the old nature myths and the existing material components could have their role and significance.
  • Kaul, Maya; Aksela, Maija Katariina; Wu, Xiaomeng (2018)
    One of the greatest ways to transform education systems is to develop community-centered professional supports for in-service teachers. Given the rise of distance learning platforms such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), there is a growing potential to deliver such supports at scale. The community of inquiry (CoI) framework models the asynchronous, text-based communication that defines educational experiences within such collaborative learning environments; however, methods of CoI transcript analysis must be improved. This paper uses the University of Helsinki’s 2016 MOOC, Sustainable Energy in Education, as a case study on how the CoI framework can be used to characterize the educational experience of in-service teachers in distance learning environments. Using the CoI coding protocol, this paper employs a transcript analysis of the discussion forum posts on the MOOC (n = 78), and applies improved measures of reliability in order to understand the capacity of CoI transcript analysis to reliably define online learning experiences. The findings suggest that, while the CoI framework is able to characterize some elements of online learning communities, more work needs to be done to ensure the framework captures the more nuanced elements of such educational experiences, such as the effects of course design and the relative engagement of course participants.
  • Pihkala, Panu (2020)
    Anxiety and distress about the ecological crisis seems to be a rapidly growing phenomenon. This article analyzes the challenges and possibilities posed by such "eco-anxiety" for environmental education. Variations of eco-anxiety are analyzed, and it is argued that educators should be aware of the multiple forms that the phenomenon has. Eco-anxiety is found to be closely connected with many difficult emotions, such as grief, guilt, anger, and despair. However, anxiety also has an adaptive dimension, which can be called "practical anxiety". Anxiety is connected with expectation, motivation, and hopes. Previous research about eco-anxiety and ecological emotions in various disciplines is discussed, and related studies from various fields of education are brought together. Based on this extensive literature review, theoretical analyses are made, using a philosophical method. It is argued that environmental educators need organizational and peer support both in relation to their own difficult emotions and in order to develop emotional skills in their work. Educators should first practice self-reflection about eco-anxiety, after which they have many possibilities to help their audiences to develop emotional resilience. Potential practical activities related to eco-anxiety are discussed, drawing from various fields of education. These include validation of eco-anxiety and ecological emotions, providing safe spaces to discuss them, and, if possible, providing embodied and creative activities to more fully deliberate on them.
  • Herranen, Jaana; Yavuzkaya, Merve; Sjöström, Jesper (2021)
    The aim of this theoretical paper is to develop and present a didaktik model that embeds chemistry education into Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) using an eco-reflexive approach. A didaktik model is a tool to help educators make decisions and reflect on why, what, how, and/or when to teach. The model presented here is a revised version of the Jegstad and Sinnes model from 2015. It was systematically developed based on a critical analysis of the previous ESD (Education for Sustainable Development)-based model. This process is part of what is called didactic modeling. The revised model consists of the following six categories: (i) socio-philosophical framing; (ii) sustainable schooling and living; (iii) critical views on chemistry's distinctiveness and methodological character; (iv) powerful chemical content knowledge; (v) critical views of chemistry in society; and (vi) eco-reflexivity through environmental and sustainability education. As in the model by Jegstad and Sinnes, the eco-reflexive didaktik model seeks to support chemistry educators in their sustainability-oriented educational planning and analysis, but from a more critical perspective. Based on an eco-reflexive Bildung approach, one additional category-socio-philosophical framing-was added to the revised model. This is because the previous model does not take sufficient account of worldview perspectives, cultural values, and educational philosophy. The eco-reflexive didaktik model is illustrated with boxes, and it is suggested that all categories in these boxes should be considered in holistic and eco-reflexive chemistry education. The purpose of such education is to develop students' ChemoKnowings.
  • Saloranta, Satu Susanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    Schools’ sustainable development work is described as ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainability-based environmental education. Sustainable development tools such as environmental mapping and environmental programs focus on environmental design, curriculum implementation and maintenance functions, such as waste management in Helsinki’s primary and secondary schools. The Helsinki city Education Department assesses schools’ environmental performance on a scale 1 to 3, where grade 3 describes the environmentally most advanced school. The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences in waste costs and waste quantities (cost per person per year and kilo per person per year) among schools belonging to different environmental performance levels and then explore the possible factors affecting these differences. This Master’s thesis was commissioned by the 4V project, which among other things aims at studying the impact of sustainable development education work in schools. The data used in the study was collected and elaborated as a part of this master’s thesis. The data includes Helsinki primary school 2009 waste costs and quantities collected by the 2010 waste monitoring survey. Schools’ waste costs and quantities are combined and the schools are grouped by their 2009 environmental performance level. The initial sample included 64 schools. The analysis of waste costs and quantities was conducted on smaller sample of 29 school buildings in which only school activities took place. The analysis focused on the cost and quantities of mixed municipal waste and biowaste. It was found that schools with different environmental performance level differ in the waste costs and quantities. Most environmentally advanced schools had the smallest mixed municipal waste cost and quantities, and moreover schools with grade 2 had the highest biowaste costs and quantities. The total amount of waste was not diminished but waste sorting had become more effective. Waste costs and quantities appear to be influenced by the factors such as the number of waste containers, their sizes, and the frequency with which they are emptied. In particular, there appears to be scope for improvement in the efficient and optimization degrees of containers’ filling. In conclusion the study recommends that schools should focus their sustainable development work on waste prevention and reduction. This study’s findings provide information to the Education Department and other agencies, such as HSY and Palmia, and to the Helsinki Real Estate department, which holds the school buildings development of waste management.
  • Laaksoharju, Taina (Helsingfors universitet, 2008)
    This masters thesis examines ten year old student’s relationship to plants and growing them. Second aim for this study was to evaluate classroom garden project “Fruit bomb” if it is suitable for education for sustainability. Comparisons were made between boys and girls and between urban (n=42 Helsinki) and rural children ( n=34 Paltamo, Kainuu) focusing their child-plant relationship. Comparison group from Paltamo took part only to the pre inquiry. The study took place during the spring 2006. The research was done by using qualitative methods. First, children were observed during the teaching. Second, a questionnaire was held before and after the plant growing project. Finally both children and teachers took part in themed interviews. The data was analyzed by using triangulation method which means the use of different analyses methods in the same study. The data was analyzed statistically with SPSS programmed cross tabulation Chi-Square ?2 tests (comparisons between boys/girls, rural/urban, before/after education). The program was also analysed inductively in order to understand children’s perceptions about plants in their lives. The plant growing project “Fruit bomb” itself was evaluated basing on children’s feedback and by using two theoretical models. One of the models used is known as the sustainable development triangle: ecological, economical and social-cultural dimension. The different parts of the educational project were classified to these dimensions. The other model used was J. Palmer´s tree model, the best known environmental education model. Educational activities were evaluated based on how well they correspond to the demands of the models. The results show some clear differences in the child-plant relationship between girls and boys and between rural and urban children. For girls, the beauty and joy of plants is important whereas the boys appreciate plants as a source of life. To grow plants from seeds was pleasurable but unfamiliar. However children became inspired and started their own growing experiments. Girls were more interested in plants than boys. Rural children seemed to have more activities with vegetation during their spare time, and they also recognised more tree species than urban kids. The rural children considered people to be part of the nature whereas 24 % of the urban children disagreed. The results show that growing plants in the classroom can be used as an introduction to the themes of sustainable education but acting for the environment (as in Palmer´s tree model) comes true only if the children’s immediate surroundings are included. Nurturing child-plant relationship in school may nevertheless be important for the child´s normal growth and for the formation of environmental friendly values.
  • Pihkala, Panu Petteri (Nuorten Keskus, 2011)
  • Virkki, Minna (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    Aims. Sustainable development has become the most important theme in the development co-operation in the 21st century. Sustainable development is pursued by environmental education among other things. This research rose from the discussion about the meaning of environmental education in developing countries and especially the effect it might have in the environment and society. Nepal and one of its rural private schools was selected as a research object. The themes and questions of the research are: 1. Conceptions of the immediate environment of students and teachers: What does immediate environment mean according to the students and teachers? 2. Students' most important acts in the environment: What kind of effect do the students think they can have on the environment in their everyday life? 3. Teachers' opinions, experiences and methods in environmental education: What do teachers think should be taught to the students in environmental education? What are the teachers actually teaching? What kind of methods are the teachers using while teaching environmental education? Researching the conceptions of immediate environment and acts in the environment gives information about the students' and teachers' relation with the nature in their everyday life and the baseline from which environmental education will be implemented from. Teachers' opinions, experiences and methods in environmental education provide information on the current implementation of the environmental education. Methods. Ethnography was selected as a research method. Before collecting the actual data, a pre-study was conducted. The aim of the pre-study was to specify the research themes and practice the cross-cultural interview as a research method. The actual data was collected in the last week of January 2010 in Dhangadhi, Nepal. The data included twenty-two drawings and captions from the students and one group interview with the teachers. The data was analyzed with brief quantitative analysis and full analysis was done with a qualitative method called content analysis. Results and conclusions. Teachers' and student's conceptions of immediate environment differ from each other. Students saw the immediate environment from the scientific approach while the teachers thought it was more social conception. The interface was found in their own personal environment. This interface is a good baseline for environmental education. The most important acts in the environment for the students were protection towards the environment. The students saw their possibilities to have an influence in the environment through the school. A connection between the school and acting in the environment was evident. In the teachers' opinions and experiences of environmental education, environmental problems and the importance of teaching attitudes and values were found. No logic thematic entities were discovered but the teachers did use different kinds of methods in their teaching. Achieving the international aims for environmental education was very challenging in the research school because of the teachers' lack of information and skills to teach the subject. The context where the school works was also challenging.
  • Lundberg, Piia; Meierhofer, Melissa; Vasko, Ville Veijo Wilhelm; Suutari, Miina Sofia; Ojala, Ann; Vainio, Annukka; Lilley, Thomas M. (2021)
    Time and budgetary resources are often a limiting factor in the collection of large-scale ecological data. If data collected by citizen scientists were comparable to data collected by researchers, it would allow for more efficient data collection over a broad geographic area. Here, we compare the quality of data on bat activity collected by citizens (high school students and teachers) and researchers. Both researchers and citizen scientists used the same comprehensive instructions when choosing study sites. We found no statistically significant difference in total bat activity minutes recorded by citizens and researchers. Instead, citizen scientists collected data from a wider variety of habitats than researchers. Involvement of citizens also increased the geographical coverage of data collection, resulting in the northernmost documentation of the Nathusius’s pipistrelle so far in Finland. Therefore, bat research can benefit from the use of citizen science when participants are given precise instructions and calibrated data collection equipment. Citizen science projects also have other far-reaching benefits, increasing, for example, the scientific literacy and interest in natural sciences of citizens. Involving citizens in science projects also has the potential to enhance their willingness to conserve nature.
  • Verbrugge, Laura N. H.; Dawson, Murray; Gettys, Lyn A.; Leuven, Rob S. E. W.; Marchante, Helia; Marchante, Elizabete; Nummi, Petri; Rutenfrans, Annerie H. M.; Schneider, Katrin; Vanderhoeven, Sonia (2021)
    Increasing public awareness is a prerequisite for successful management of invasive alien species (IAS). Environmental education can play an important role in this process by providing relevant learning outcomes and experiences for youth and students, as well as professionals in different sectors associated with introduction pathways or who are involved in mitigation and eradication of IAS. This paper responds to the urgent call for the inclusion of the IAS topic in education through the development, implementation and evaluation of novel and user-friendly educational materials. The aim of this paper is to describe best practices in IAS education and to share the lessons learned from eight educational projects from seven different countries. We discuss four challenges for IAS education, related to (1) inconsistent and ambiguous terminology, (2) communicating risk, (3) implementation of education materials, and (4) evaluation of learning effects. Examples of best practices are the use of smartphone applications and gaming elements, place-based education and exhibitions. We also note the importance of open access publishing of education materials to make them easily available. We intend this discussion to serve as a source of inspiration to researchers, science communicators and teachers and to spur the development of new teaching materials worldwide.
  • Pihkala, Panu Petteri (2013)
  • Oinonen, Iikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Ympäristökasvatuksella on jo pitkään tavoiteltu laajempaa ympäristövastuullisuuden iskostumista ihmisten tietoihin, taitoihin, asenteisiin sekä käyttäytymiseen. Tavoitteiden ja toimien riittävyys on kuitenkin kyseenalaistettava, jos ympäristökasvatukselta toivotaan ratkaisuja nykyiseen ympäristökriisiin. Erityisesti ympäristökasvattajilla on kehitettävää vaikuttavuuden arvioinnin osalta, jota hyvin harva toteuttaa rutiininomaisesti. Tarkastelen tutkielmassani Keski-Suomen ELY-keskuksen rahoittamia suomalaisia ympäristökasvatus-hankkeita vuosilta 2015–2018. Aineistoni koostuu hankesuunnitelmista sekä loppuraporteista. Teoriaohjaavaa sisällönanalyysia hyödyntäen kysyn, millaisia tavoitteita hankkeilla on ja miten ne arvioivat toimiensa vaikuttavuutta. Luokittelen tavoitteita, arviointikohteita ja –menetelmiä sekä pyrin hahmottamaan kokonaiskuvan Suomen ympäristökasvatushankkeiden nykysuuntauksesta. Analysoinnin tuloksena selvisi joitain yllättäviä kohtia. Vaikka aineistossa ilmeni lähes kaikkia kirjallisuudessa mainittuja ympäristökasvatuksen tavoitteita, suurin osa hankkeiden tavoitteista oli muunlaisia. Näissä korostuivat erityisesti välilliset tai välineelliset tavoitteet, kuten erilaisten mallien ja materiaalien luominen ja levittäminen sekä hankkeen näkyvyyden ja yhteistyön parantaminen. Lisäksi suoran, ”perinteisen” ympäristökasvatuksen rinnalla ilmeni epäsuora, fasilitoiva ympäristökasvatus, jossa tavoitteena oli etenkin muuttaa opettajien opetusta sekä koulujen toimintakulttuuria. Sen sijaan hyvin harva hankkeista ilmoitti hakevansa kasvatuksen keinoin ratkaisuja nykyisiin ympäristöongelmiin. Hankkeiden vaikuttavuuden arviointi oli yleisesti hyvin puutteellista. Jos vaikuttavuutta arvioitiin, se kohdistui tyypillisesti tuotosten (output) määrälliseen tai laadulliseen arviointiin, esimerkiksi hankkeen saavuttaneen yleisömäärän tilastointiin. Painottuminen johtunee siitä, että vaikuttavuuden arviointia pidetään yleisesti vaikeana, ja että ELY-keskus painottaa jossain määrin tuotosten laatimista rahoituksen hakuohjeissaan. Lähes jokaisella hankkeella oli vaikeuksia tavoitteiden ja vaikuttavuuden arvioinnin välisen linjakkuuden toteutumisessa. Tutkimalla laajaa ympäristökasvatustoimijoiden joukkoa on mahdollista havaita erilaisia puutos- ja painotusalueita. Tulosten perusteella ympäristökasvattajien tulisi enemmän pohtia kasvatuksensa lopullisia päämääriä ja miten he voisivat arvioida työnsä pidempiaikaisia vaikutuksia. Rahoituksella olisi myös potentiaalia ohjata ympäristökasvatusta haluttuun suuntaan, erityisesti vaikuttavuuden arvioinnin yleistymiseen.
  • Pihkala, Panu (2019)