08 SES 02 B, Competences, Agency and ESD
Parallel Paper Session
How does participation in green groups in primary schools in England contribute to children’s developing action competence?
My research investigates this question by seeking to identify instances during green/eco group sessions when the attributes associated with action competence are being drawn on. I will then explain how these instances influence the development of the action competence of that group. Such attributes include critical thinking and communication skills. There is a strong overlap between the attributes associated with an individual (or group) developing action competence and the attributes associated with the development of active citizenship in England. My research will elucidate these overlaps to show if and how action competence theory could inform the citizenship curriculum in England; bearing in mind the complications of applying a theory developed in Denmark to a curriculum designed for schools in England.
The main theoretical framework for this research is action competence but it will also be informed by the theory of participation. Action competence has three dimensions. It is an approach to teaching and learning, it is a set of attributes developed by an individual or group of individuals and it is a theory established and advanced by researchers and practitioners associated with both of the former. I will be focusing on the dimension of action competence as a set of attributes pertaining to an individual or group.
Proponents of action competence theory take a perspective on action that is distinct from activity or behaviour change. In this perspective the actor makes the decision to act and chooses when and how to do so. This means that the level of participation that the actors engage in is a significant determinant of the development of their action competence. Therefore participation theory will inform the analysis of the data gathered during this research.
Breiting, S. et al., 2009. Action competence, conflicting interests and environmental education - the MUVIN programme, Research Programme for Environmental and Health Education, Department of Curriculum Research, DPU (Danish School of Education), Aarhus University, Tuborgvej 164, DK-2400 Copenhagen NV, DENMARK. Gough, S. and Scott, W. (2000) 'Exploring the Purposes of Qualitative Data Coding in Educational Enquiry: Insights from recent research', Educational Studies, 26: 3, 339 — 354 Hacking, Elisabeth Barratt , Barratt, Robert and Scott, William(2007) 'Engaging children: research issues around participation and environmental learning', Environmental Education Research, 13: 4, 529 — 544 Hart, R. & UNICEF., 1997. Children's participation: the theory and practice of involving young citizens in community development and environmental care, London: Earthscan. Hart, R. (2008) Stepping back from 'The Ladder': Reflections on a Model of Participatory Work with Children; In Reid, A.; Jensen, B.B.; Nikel, J. and Simovska, V. Eds. (2008) Participation and Learning: Perspectives on Education and the Environment, Health and Sustainability; Springer Jensen, B. B. and Schnack, K. (1997) The action competence approach in environmental education. Environmental Education Research 3:(2) , pp. 163-178 Keating, A. et al., 2010. Citizenship education in England 2001-2010: young people’s practices and prospects for the future: the eighth and final report from the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS). Available at: http://publications.education.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/DFE-RB059.pdf. Mogensen, F. and Schnack, K. (2010) 'The action competence approach and the 'new' discourses of education for sustainable development, competence and quality criteria', Environmental Education Research, 16: 1, 59— 74 Simovska, V. (2008) Exploring Student Participation within Health Education and Health Promotion Schools In Reid, A.; Jensen, B.B.; Nikel, J. and Simovska, V. Eds. (2008) Participation and Learning: Perspectives on Education and the Environment, Health and Sustainability; Springer
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