Learning environmental concepts in primary school for sustainable development
the Earth’s system model
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AbstractThis paper explores environmental education research in primary school. The longitudinal study started in 2003, with 29 children nine years of age, in a city in southern Sweden. The teacher works with projects in science and technology to stimulate the pupils’ interest and participation in environmental education. Semi-structured interviews with the young pupils have been carried out. In order to analyse the classroom communication between the teacher and the children and also among the children, videotaped sequences from the lessons are collected, in which the Socratic dialogue is practiced. Stimulated recall as a method is also used to find out the teacher’s reactions during the lessons. In order to catch environmental details as well as a holistic perspective, the Earth’s system model is used in the analysis, e.g. the lithosphere, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere as well as the biosphere and the technosphere. It was observed that the children are able to argue about possibilities to change different daily routines in different ways, which reduce disturbances to the environment. Some pupils can see the connection between the increasing greenhouse effect and pollution from the cars. Others can see relations between increasing temperature and melting polar caps. In stimulated recall the teacher points out possible connections in the Earth system and in environmental learning. This material is one part of an ongoing longitudinal doctoral study and the videotaped sequences have been caught from year 2003 to 2006. The interviews with the children have been taped every spring from year 2003 to 2006.
TypeArticle in journal