30 ONLINE 25 A, ESE in formal education
MeetingID: 845 7773 4324 Code: 7K6YQ9
In the context of the Anthropocene, schools have an important role to play in fostering societal creativity in order to develop a set of sustainable solutions. Transformative social change implies a refounding of educational policies by targeting the institution (Curnier, 2021; Sterling, 2011). Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), whose aims are in line with this, have gradually appeared in curricula since the 2000s. Nevertheless, it has to face various challenges related to the school form, the subjects or the competences transmitted. Those transformative and emancipatory visions are confronted with a productivist prescription of educational goals currently implemented in schools (Curnier, 2021). For example, in the curriculum of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, ESD is present in a transversal way and in a weak sustainability perspective. There are no constraints in its application and its teaching is not systematic (Kyburz-Graber et al., 2013). In 2021, the canton of Vaud has nevertheless chosen to disengage from a consensual ESD to emphasise Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) in a transformative and strong sustainability perspective. It is therefore necessary to offer involved teachers the means to implement such an education in the form of a teaching arrangement.
Before creating a teaching arrangement on a defined topic (here rivers planning in geography) in an ESE perspective, it is appropriate to collect social representations of pupils. Indeed, social representation, a field developed by the psychosociologist Moscovici (1961), is defined as “a process of internalization of an object by a person or a group to become an object of thought whose content is substituted for reality” (Barthes & Alpe, 2016, p. 57). Until 2010, studies on social representations in education had didactic scopes. Then, with the emergence of “educations for”, relationships to knowledge, questions of objectification and legitimacy of taught knowledge became the main fields of study (Barthes & Alpe, 2016). Therefore, the aim of this paper is to present the French-speaking Swiss pupils’ representationsof sustainability and rivers planning. In October 2021, 219 pupils completed an online survey designed to assess their representations of sustainability. The preliminary results reveal groups of pupils characterised by their attitude, knowledge and visions of the future in a sustainability perspective. These findings will be useful for designing a teaching unit, which will be the subject of a forthcoming study.
The researchers created an online, cross-sectional survey (Jones et al., 2000) to collect data on pupils’ representations of sustainability and river planning : their preexistent knowledge and its source, their beliefs and their attitudes. Some of the questions were taken from a previous study conducted in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in 2011. The purpose was to compare the findings in terms of pupils’ attitudes on sustainability (Freudiger et al., 2011). The sample consists of 219 secondary school pupils (mean age = 13 year-olds) from six geographically distinct schools (urban, suburban and rural). These classes were selected on the basis of a convenience sample with the prior agreement of their teachers to participate in this research. Descriptive analyses and latent profile analyses are currently performed on R to distinguish different groups of pupils, depending on their attitudes and representation of sustainability. Moreover, qualitative data are further analysed based on thematic categories.
In the context of the Anthropocene, the younger generation needs new competences to adapt to an uncertain world and to imagine a new societal model. In this regards, Environmental and Sustainability Education offers relevant aims, specific competences and useful learning. Nevertheless, to implement such education, French-speaking Swiss teachers still need pragmatic tools among other things. As a first step, we judged relevant to have a clearer overview of pupils’ representation of sustainability. Preliminary analyses show interesting results related to sustainability: different conceptions and provenances of the knowledge, types of individual action and visions of the future. Those elements revealed groups of pupils, which can be crossed with socioeconomic characteristics and relationships to nature. Finally, the results show conceptions of knowledge on rivers planning and a certain creativity to design a new river planning through a case study.
Barthes, A., & Alpe, Y. (2016). Utiliser les représentations sociales en éducation : exemple de l'éducation au développement durable. L'Harmattan. Curnier, D. (2021). Vers une école éco-logique. Lormont : Le Bord de l'eau. Freudiger, N., Fink, N., & Iseli, A. (2011). Représentations d'élèves sur le développement durable et le réchauffement climatique. In F. Audigier, N. Fink, N. Freudiger, & P. Haeberli (Eds.), L'Éducation en vue du développement durable : sciences sociales et élèves en débats (pp. 93-113). Cahiers de la Section des Sciences de l'Éducation. Jones, R. A., Burnay, N., & Servais, O. (2000). Chapitre 6. Les enquêtes par questionnaire. In Méthodes de recherche en sciences humaines (pp. 169-199). De Boeck Supérieur. https://doi.org/10.3917/dbu.jones.1999.01.0169 Kyburz-Graber, R., Nagel, U., & Gingins, F. (2013). Demain en main : enseigner le développement durable : 9e - 11e HarmoS - Cycle 3 du PER. LEP. Sterling, S. (2011). Transformative learning and sustainability: Sketching the conceptual ground. Learning and teaching in higher education, 5(11), 17-33.
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