30 SES 06 A, Learning and Teaching Related to Sustainable Consumption
Switzerland’s education politics include elements supporting the Agenda 2030 goals by integrating them into the intercantonal curriculum for primary schools. However, sustainable development (SD) skills such as critical thinking and the ability to make informed decisions require a long period of acquisition, meaning that the attainment of these competences have become integrative elements within the compulsory school curricula, especially in the interdisciplinary subjects focussing on education for sustainable development (ESD). As such, it promotes the idea that Switzerland aims at supporting all students in their individual processes to become active and competent citizens.
Prior studies have shown that whilst both primary school children and adolescents demonstrate a stable level of interest concerning justice, responsibility and accountability (Fischer et al., 2017a), primary school children demonstrate a higher level of interest concerning ecological sustainability themes, which declines with increasing pubertarial development. Simultaneously, adolescents’ interests tend towards more specific ecological themes in relation to the attainment of specific lifestyles (Fischer et al., 2017b). These findings demonstrate the present awareness of tomorrows citizens for sustainability questions and that they are willing to make critically informed decisions, especially if it supports the attainment of desired goals. This becomes of particular interest in conjunction with sustainable food consumption.
Studies also illustrate that eating behaviour is predominantly controlled through habitude (Bender, 2014, Ryser et al, 2012), whilst other studies indicate that eating habits and corresponding consumer choices correlate with the societal impact on sustainable development (United Nations, 2015; Tukker & Jansen, 2006). Practicing sustainable consumption behaviour (SCB) therefore involves making complex informed decisions, ensuring “a consumer’s wise balance of financial responsibility, environmental stewardship, social equity, and sustenance of personal health” (Lee et al., 2016, p.79), whilst accounting for personal situations and habitudes.
However, additional studies have also shown that particularly adolescents tend to act oppositionally to their originally claimed intentions, indicating that they could be feeling overwhelmed during the decision-making process (DMP) itself (Fischer et al., 2017b; Francis & Davis, 2015). This reinforces the importance of supporting the attainment of the complex informed decision-making competence throughout the formative years by providing specific learning situations (Bender, 2012; Gresch & Bögeholz, 2013; Künzli David & Bertschy, 2012).
Currently, empirical studies concerning ESD focussing on both diets and the DMP itself are lacking. Prior studies have concentrated primarily on forms of socio-scientific education and SD, or on participants’ arguments (Betsch, 2011; Eggert & Bögeholz, 2010). Research focussing on decision-making competences have not focussed on health, nutrition and consumption. Those studies examining the selectional phase of the DMP have addressed either the strategies or evidence provided (Gresch & Bögeholz, 2013) as opposed to the process or participants’ integration of knowledge during their decision-making (Sakschewski et al., 2014).
Emphasis on supporting the development of decision-making competences is therefore required in formal education settings. The overriding aim of this project is to support teachers’ understandings of the informed DMP within the context of ESD. It uses a comparative theoretical model for the selectional phase for analysis purposes and aims at illustrating the processes demonstrated by 11-12 year old students during an informed decision-making sequence, following a series of ESD lessons.
Core research question:
How do year 6 students implement the selectional phase of their individual decision-making processes?
- Which stages of the theoretical model are recognisable during the interviews?
- What role does knowledge play in the decision-making process?
- What role do personal values play in the decision-making process?
The project implemented several procedural steps: 1. Preparational lessons Drawing on the background knowledge, five school classes of 11-12 year olds (n=96) were chosen from different German speaking regions of Switzerland. Ten preparational lessons, focussing on the consumption of meat, ensured that every student received the factual knowledge required to make a critically informed decision concerning this topic. The lessons adhered to the criteria for inclusive education. 2. Tests Directly following the preparational lessons, the students (n=83) completed a written knowledge test to indicate that a requisite minimal level of knowledge had been attained, a questionnaire regarding the socio-familial background and a personal value questionnaire (PVQ) (Schwartz et al., 2012). 3. Qualitative Interviews concerning decision making processes (n=27). A sampling plan for the possible interview participants used criteria from the socio-familial data, socio-economic status, gender, indicative knowledge levels, and the personal value questionnaire. This ensured maximal possible heterogeneity. The interviews used a two phase think-aloud protocol method adapted to the context and the participants' level of development. In a first phase, procedural decision-making data was gathered. In a second, retrospective, phase, specific questions based on the previous DMP were posed to support our understanding of the participants' actions. Participant safety was ensured by adhering to ethical guidelines and attaining parental, authoritative, and participant permission prior to participation. 4. Interpretation, development of a typology concerning children's decision-making processes The interviews were recorded and analysed using the comparative theoretical model for DMP and a software programme for computer-assisted qualititative data analysis. Validity was ensured through inter-coder reliability and the study of literature both before and after analysis. The development of a typology was based on Kelle and Kluge's process model of categorical contrasting of cases and systematic comparisons of qualitative characteristics found within each grouping (Kelle & Kluge, 2010).
In conjunction with the three research questions above, our sample group (n=27) demonstrated the following findings: 1. -All students showed at least one stage of the theoretical selectional phase. -The identified stages primarily concur with those of the theoretical model. -None of the students demonstrated all of the selectional phase stages of the theoretical model. -However, several students demonstrated deliberational stages relevant for SD. 2. -Most students integrated knowledge elements. -Despite the students demonstrating knowledge concerning the four SD dimensions with a focus on diets in the written test: a. Several students demonstrated no areas of knowledge during their DMP. b. Students demonstrating areas of knowledge, predominantly integrated knowledge elements from only one or two dimensions. -Especially knowledge from the areas of "ecology" and "socioculture" were expressed. -During the DMP, knowledge elements were often integrated either as deliberational endorsements or as informative explanations. 3. -The students integrated a high rate of value elements during their DMP. -The values demonstrated did not necessarily concur with the prioritised personal value demonstrated by the PVQ. -The students mainly demonstrated the value "hedonismus" (taste). -Traditional values and values concerning ecological conservation (especially animal ethics) were also demonstrated. -Students' values were often demonstrated in combination with knowledge elements and/or emotions. -During the DMP, value elements were generally integrated as conditions or as explanatory factors for their choices. Further findings: - Socio-familial and socioeconomic criteria, gender and knowledge levels were not indicative as influential factors informing the complexity of the DMP demonstrated during the interviews. - Four main DMP types were identifiable and will also be presented. These findings indicate that although nutrition is an understandable element for students of this age, they require further support in attaining SD decision-making competences. These findings will therefore support the development of an appropriate didactical model for the pedagogues.
Bender, U. (2012). Health-Related Attitudes of Adolescents in the Canton Basel-City. Ernährungs Umschau 59(12), 676-683. Betsch, T. (2011). The stability of preferences - a social-cognition view. Frontiers in Psychology. 2:290. doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00290 Eggert, S., & Boegeholz, S. (2010). Students' use of decision-making strategies with regard to socioscientific issues: An application of the Rasch partial credit model. Science Education, 94(2). 230-258. Fischer, D., Grunenberg, H. & Ruckelshauss (2017a). Was wollen Kinder und Jugendliche in Bezug auf Nachhaltigkeit und Konsum wissen, wie kommunizieren sie und wie informieren sie sich? Eine Literaturanalyse. INFU-Diskussionsbeitrag. 2017(40), 1-45. https://www.leuphana.de/institute/infu/publikationen/infu-reihe.html Fischer, D., Boehme, T., & Geiger, S. M. (2017b). Measuring Young Consumers' Sustainable Consumption Behavior: Development and Validation of the YCSCB Scale. Young Consumers, 18(3), 312-326. Francis, J.E., & Davis, T. (2015). Adolescents' sustainability concerns and reasons for not consuming sustainably. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 39(1), 43-50. Gresch, H., & Boegeholz, S. (2013). Identifying Non-Sustainable Courses of Action: A Prerequisite for Decision- Making in Education for Sustainable Development. Research in Science Education, 43(2), 733-754. Kelle, U., & Kluge, S. (2010). Vom Einzelfall zum Typus - Fallvergleich und Fallkontrastierung in der qualitativen Sozialforschung (2. Aufl.). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag fuer Sozialwissenschaften. Kuenzli David, C., & Bertschy, F. (2012). Education for Sustainable Development: Conceptual Foundations, Pedagogical Structure and Practical Implementation. In Stoltenberg, U. & Holz, V. (Ed). Education for Sustainable Development - European Approaches. 33-53. Bad Homburg: VAS. Lee, J.D., Bahl, A., Black, G.S., Duber-Smith, D.C. & Vowles, N.S. (2016), Sustainable and non-sustainable consumer behavior in young adults. Young Consumers, 17(1), 78-93. Ryser, C., Fournier-Fall, A., Frei, S., & May, A. (2012). Ernährungsmassnahmen zur Förderung von Gesundheit. In BAG Bundesamt für Gesundheit (Ed.), Sechster Schweizerischer Ernährungsbericht. 209-279. Bern: BAG. Sakschewski, M., Eggert, S., Schneider, S., & Bögeholz, S. (2014). Student's Socioscientific Reasoning and Decision-making on Energy-related Issues-Development of a measurement instrument. International Journal of Science Education, 36(14), 2291-2313. Schwartz, S. H., Cieciuch, J., Vecchione, M., Davidov, E., Fischer, R., Beierlein, C., et al. (2012). Refining the theory of basic individual values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(4), 663-688. Tukker, A. & Jansen, B. (2006). Environmental impacts of products: A detailed review of studies. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 10(3), 159-182. United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
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