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ERIC Number: EJ1047234
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1478-2103
Investigating the Benefits of Participatory Action Research for Environmental Education
Bywater, Krista
Policy Futures in Education, v12 n7 p920-932 2014
Environmental education (EE) continues to focus on enhancing people's ecological knowledge to encourage sustainable actions. This deficit approach presumes that once informed about environmental harms, people will work towards sustainable solutions for healthy societies. Yet research overwhelmingly demonstrates that knowledge of environmental problems is insufficient to spur pro-environmental behaviors. Traditional EE, therefore, has largely been unsuccessful at achieving its goals of engendering environmentally friendly practices and institutions. This article investigates the pedagogical efficacy of a participatory action research (PAR) project for enhancing environmental education in college courses. Qualitative evidence indicates that a PAR project incorporated into an Environmental Sociology course helped students understand how their everyday activities (in particular the consumption of bottled water) exacerbate poor human and environmental health, increased their environmental consciousness, and encouraged them to adopt pro-environmental behaviors and promote sustainability initiatives on campus. Based on these outcomes, the author recommends expanding educational policy to include a description of pedagogical methods such as PAR that successfully operationalize the goals of EE. Policy reforms should encourage educators to incorporate participatory, action-oriented learning opportunities that enable students to apply their knowledge to improve real-world environmental problems.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A