08 SES 05 JS, Joint session NW 08 and NW 30
Paper Session Joint Session NW 08 and NW 30
This paper addresses the issue of health education/promotion and education for sustainable development in schools, as perceived and prioritized by the educational departments in Danish local authorities, that is, municipalities.
Both health and sustainability are issues of high political visibility and policy regulations, and are often considered to be among the global societal challenges of the 21 century. Schools cannot and should not neglect this issues in their pedagogical practices. In Denmark, health and sustainability are not separate subjects in ground school, but mandatory topics that are integrated in the aims and expected outcomes for other subjects. For health education, there is a national curriculum guideline with a sylabus, but for education for sustainable development, this is not available; Instead a few aims and objectives are written in other curricula, for example natural science and social sciences. Neither of the topics has allocated teaching hours and is a part of the examination and quality reporting by schools.
From a critical educational theory perspective, schools face similar challenges when working with health and sustainability. First, the common denominator for both concepts, health and sustainability, as well as related school practices, is that they are value-laden and shaped by a number of policies on global, regional, national and local levels. Second, research points to a persistent gap between political aims and targets concerning health promotion and education for sustainable development on the one hand, and the treatment of these topics in school practices -- both in terms of formal teaching and learning processes as well as the everyday life or culture of the school on the other hand. Third, both concepts can be seen as “essentially contested” - that is - socially constructed and open to diverse, often conflicting interpretations (Green and Tones, 2010)
Against this background, the aim of the research presented in this paper was to map the perspectives, priorities and practices related to the work with health and sustainability in schools in Danish municipal educational departments. The purpose of this mapping is to get insight into the frames and conditions that are set by the municipalities for the classroom practices with these two issues in schools.
Firth, R and Smith M. (2013) Editorial: As the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development comes to an end: what has it achieved and what are the ways forward? The Curriculum Journal Vol. 24. No 2. pp 169-180. Green, J. & Tones, K. (2010). Health Promotion: Planning and strategies. Second Edition. Sage. Clift, S. and Jensen, B. B. (eds.) (2005). The Health Promoting School: International Advances in Theory, Evaluation and Practice, Danish University of Education Press, on behalf of the European Network of Health Promoting Schools, Copenhagen. Buijs G. (2009). Better Schools through Health: networking for health promoting schools in Europe. European Journal of Education, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 507-520.
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