30 SES 02 A, Schooling and ESE
Since education is concerned as one of the main tools to increase the environmental awareness to promote sustainable behaviours in the society in the description of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations (UN 2015), more and more initiatives try to support the implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) in the national educational systems. In Hungary one of the main national ESD initiative is the annual programme of the Sustainability Thematic Week which announced by the Ministry of Human Capacities with topics related to the different SDGs in each year, in accordance with the national core curriculum (UNECE, 2018). The Week is organised annually and usually in the spring, but in 2020 it was rescheduled to October due to the coronavirus pandemic. To support the ESD work of the schools the organizers of the Thematic Week provide lesson plans and project plans for three age groups, while teachers are encouraged to develop their own projects, and schools are also invited to collaborate with organizations and to participate in national environmental actions and competitions (Licht et al., 2017). The first Thematic Week was organised in 2016 and the number of schools participated is increasing since then. In 2020 almost half of the schools in Hungary, 1804 schools joined the program of the Thematic Week. In 2020 the Thematic Week was officially renamed as Carpathian Basin Sustainability Thematic Week and was opened to schools outside Hungary. In the first year of the internalization of the programme 121 Hungarian speaking schools joined the activities of the Thematic Week from the neighbouring countries.
In order to provide scientific evidence on the effects of the Thematic Week and provide database insights for the development of its programmes, PontVelem Nonprofit Ltd., the organizer of the Thematic week launched a research program implemented in co-operation of four Hungarian universities: Eötvös Loránd University, University of Nyíregyháza, Széchenyi István University and John von Neumann University – with the professional support of the Hungarian National Committee for UNESCO Commission on Education and with technical support of the Pixrating Ltd.
The main aim of the research program is to study the environmental attitudes and behaviours of Hungarian students and teachers. The research also investigated the participants' opinion on the Thematic Week. The research realized in 2020 is considered as a pilot phase for a longitudinal research series.
Assessing the environmental attitudes of students within the New Environmental Paradigm (Dunlap, & Van Liere, 1978) is one of the main areas of the research. Besides this on the theoretical basis of action competence (Jensen, & Schnack, 1994), the research aims to explore what information students have about the concept of sustainability, what they do, and what they are planning to do in the future for sustainability, where they place emphasis within the concept of sustainability, what concerns them. Students’ perception of the local environmental problems and the perception of local efforts to tackle with environmental problems are also investigated by the research program. The main target group of the research is 10-18-year-old students. Teachers participating in the programmes of Thematic Week are also asked about their opinion about the Thematic Week and their general attitudes toward sustainability issues.
The data of the research give a direct feedback for the professional development team of the Thematic Week and are taking into account in the planning process of the 2021 Thematic Week.
This work was completed as part of the ELTE Thematic Excellence Programme 2020 supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (TKP2020-IKA-05).
The research consists of three main methodological parts: an online questionnaire for students, focus group interviews with groups of students and online questionnaires for teachers. Student questionnaire The online questionnaire for students included questions related to the Thematic Week, the socio-economic status of the students and their environmental awareness. Among the latter, the items of the child version of the New Ecological Paradigm Scale (Manoli, Johnson, & Dunlap, 2007) were included, which is widely used internationally, translated into Hungarian for the present research and new questionnaire items developed for the present study. The questionnaire was open to complete voluntarily and anonymously for any Hungarian speaking student aged 10-18 year, and teachers participating in the Thematic Week were encouraged to have their students to fill in the questionnaire. A total number of 9396 students have filled in the questionnaire in a way suitable for analysis. From the total of 9396 analysed responses for student questionnaire 5416 were from students who participated in the Thematic Week, 3108 from non-participating students. 872 students did not respond this question. Teacher Questionnaire After the Thematic Week, teachers participated in the programmes were invited to fill in an online questionnaire. Completion of the questionnaire was voluntary and anonymous. The questionnaire was developed for the recent study and consist of questions about the teachers' activity and opinion of the Thematic Week general sustainability related issues. Teachers provided their e-mail addresses to the organizers of the Thematic Week during the registration for the programmes irrespectively of the research. A total number of 962 teachers have filled in the questionnaire in a way suitable for analysis. Student focus group interviews In order to have a deeper insight into the thinking of students about the investigated issues 40 minutes long focus group interviews were organized with groups of 8-10 students aged 10-18, covering similar content than the student interviews. The participation in the focus group interview was strictly voluntary and parents of the students were previously were informed and their consent was obtained. A total of 30 interviews were planned, but due to the pandemic situation only 16 interviews were conducted in 15 schools participating in the Thematic Week, and one in a school not participating in the Thematic Week. The data collected by the questionnaires were analysed by SPSS software and the audio recording of the interviews were transcribed and subjected to content analysis.
The presentation gives an overview mainly of the result of the student questionnaires, with some references to the teacher questionnaires and focus group interviews. There was significantly more girl in the total an in the Thamtic Week participants' sample (boys: 44.9%, 44%, girls: 55.1%, 56%, respectively). The average age was significantly lower (13.8y) in the participant than in the non-participant (14.4y) group, and older students tend to like less the programmes of the Thematic Week (r = -0,216). Regarding to some elements of environmental awareness, statistically significant differences were found. Students participating in Thematic Week reported more own present and planned local environmental activities, a higher degree of agreement with the items of general environmental behaviour, similar to girls who, furthermore, reported higher environmental attitude measured with NEP (not affected by its dimensionality in question). In environmental awareness, the participation related differences are not due to gender related ones. These results suggest that although the Thematic Week could have a positive effect on students environmental awareness, it is also a subject to pitfalls well known in the literature like adolescent attitude dip (Olsson, & Gericke, 2015), less attention to the ESD of older students (Pálvölgyi, 2020) and the higher environmental awareness of girls (Zelezny, 2000). The detected effects could not be attributed to the 2020 Thematic Week alone. Most of the teachers reported that they participated in the Thematic Week's programmes in the previous years too, and pupils from schools belong to the Hungarian Eco-school Programme were four times more likely to participate in Thematic Week than pupils from schools without Eco-school Title in 2017 (Varga et al., 2018.) The study could be considered as a first step to develop a nationwide surveillance research system on students’ sustainability awareness. Increasing representativity of the sample should be a priority in the future.
Dunlap, R. E., & Van Liere, K. D. (1978). The “new environmental paradigm”. The Journal of Environmental Education, 9(4), 10–19. Jensen, B., & Schnack, K. (1994). Action and Action Competence as Key Concepts in Critical Pedagogy. Studies in Educational Theory and Curriculum, Volume 12. Copenhagen: Royal Danish School of Educational Studies. Licht, A. H., Tasiopoulou, E., & Wastiau, P. (2017). Open book of educational innovation. Brussels: European Schoolnet. Manoli, C. C., Johnson, B., & Dunlap, R. E. (2007). Assessing Children's Environmental Worldviews: Modifying and Validating the New Ecological Paradigm Scale for Use With Children In: The Journal of Environmental Education, 38:4, 3–13.Published online: 07 Aug 2010: DOI: 10.3200/JOEE.38.4.3-13 Olsson, D., & Gericke, N. (2015). Adolescents and the dip in sustainability consciousness., ESERA 2015, Helsinki - Science Education Research: Engaging learners for a sustainable future. resource:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303306004_Adolescents_and_the_dip_in_sustainability_consciousness accessed on 15. 01. 2021. Pálvölgyi, L (2020). Projektpedagógia, fenntarthatóság és pályaorientáció az Innova kutatás tükrében (Project pedagogy, sustainability and career orientation in the light of Innova research). In Koltai L. (ed), Projektkonferencia 2020. Hazai és Külföldi Modellek a Projektoktatásban. Nemzetközi Tudományos Konferencia (Project Conference 2020. Domestic and Foreign Models in Project Education. International Scientific Conference), pp 44–66., resource:: https://projektkonferencia2020.rkk.uni-obuda.hu/sites/default/files/projektkonferencia-2020-elektronikus-kiadvany-v2.pdf accessed on 15. 01. 2021. UN 2015. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Division for Sustainable Development Goals: New York, NY, USA. resource: https://sdgs.un.org/2030agenda accessed on 15. 01. 2021. UNECE 2018: Hungary Informal reporting ont he implemntation of UNECE Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development, :resource: https://unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/esd/13thMeetSC/Documents/Country_Reports/HUNGARY_informal_reporting_2018.pdf accessed on 15. 01. 2021. Varga A, Könczey, R., & Saly, E. (2018). Eco-schools in the Hungarian Carpathians – good practices and challenges. Educationfor the sustainable Carpathians - session at 5th Forum Carpaticum, October 2018, Eger. p 59–60. resource:: http://fc2018.hu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/FC2018-book-of-abstracts.pdf accessed on 15. 01. 2021. Zelezny, L. C., Chua, P.-P., & Aldrich, C. (2000). New Ways of Thinking about Environmentalism: Elaborating on Gender Differences in Environmentalism. Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 443–457. https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00177
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