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Participation and Learning
Perspectives on Education and the Environment, Health and Sustainability
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Main description:

The Research in Participatory Education Network (RIPEN) was initiated by the Research Programme for Environmental and Health Education at the Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus, in 2003. It embraces a broad spectrum of researchers, scholars, students, and practitioners of participatory education, working in or from Europe, North America, Africa, and Australasia. Given the international scope of the network and the range of interests it now has, as initiators and early participants in the network the editorial team invited RIPEN to discuss what a critical perspective on participatory approaches to education might mean for education and the environment, health and sustainability, and how network members might research and substantiate their claims and ar guments. Following the introductory chapter on the scope of this collection, 19 chapters illustrate the contributors’ responses to that invitation. Our focus on critical perspectives was prompted by earlier work by Majid Rahnema in Wolfgang Sachs’s (1992), Development Dictionary. Critiquing concepts of participation in a volume that set out to stimulate cultural, historical, and anth- pological debate on the key concepts of development, Rahnema (p. 126) wrote: Participation, which is also a form of intervention, is too serious and ambivalent a matter to be taken lightly, or reduced to an amoeba word lacking any precise meaning, or a slogan, or fetish, or for that matter, only an instrument or methodology.


Ground-breaking collection bringing together a diverse range of perspectives on the philosophy, design and experience of participatory approaches within education and the environment, health and sustainability

Chapters addressing participatory work in both formal and non-formal settings

Contains international case studies written by leading authorities in participation, education, health, environment, and sustainability


1. Introduction
Alan Reid, Bjarne B. Jensen, Jutta Nikel, Venka Simovska

2. Stepping back from 'the ladder': reflections on a model of participatory work with children
Roger A. Hart

3. Differentiating and evaluating conceptions and examples of participation in environment-related learning
Alan Reid and Jutta Nikel

4. Learning in and as participation: a case study from health promoting schools
Venka Simovska

5. Environmental learning and categories of interest: exploring modes of participation in a conservation NGO
William Scott and Stephen Gough

6. Participation and the ecology of environmental awareness and action
Louise Chawla

7. Participation, situated culture and practical reason and situated culture
Heila Lotz-Sisitka and Rob O’Donoghue

8. From practice to theory: participation as learning in the context of sustainable development projects
Paul Vare

9. Participation and sustainable development: the role and challenges of mediating agents
Jeppe. Læssøe

10. Mental ownership and participation for innovation in environmental education and education for sustainable development
Søren Breiting

11. Participation, education and democracy: implications for environmental education, health education, and education for sustainable development
Karsten Schnack

12. What comes before participation? Searching for meaning in teachers’ constructions of participatory learning in environmental education
Paul Hart

13. Participatory pedagogy in environmental education: reproduction or disruption?
Mary J. Barrett

14. Elusive participation: methodological challenges in researching teaching andparticipatory learning in environmental education
Paul Hart

15. Student participation in school ground greening initiatives in Canada: reflections on research design decisions and key findings
Janet E. Dyment

16. Researching participation using critical discourse analysis
Debbie Heck

17. Youth participation in local environmental action: an avenue for science and civic learning?
Tania M. Schusler and Marianne E. Krasny

18. A clash of worlds: children talking about their community experience in relation to the school curriculum
Robert Barratt and Elisabeth Barratt Hacking

19. Sustainable education, whole school approaches and communities of action
Tony Shallcross and JohnRobinson

20. School councils as an arena for pupils’ participation in collaborative environmental education projects
Monica Carlsson and Dawn Sanders


ISBN-13: 9789048176335
Publisher: Springer (Springer Netherlands)
Publication date: October, 2010
Pages: 346
Weight: 556g
Availability: POD
Subcategories: General Issues


Alan Reid is a Senior Lecturer in Education and member of the Centre for Research in Education and the Environment, University of Bath. He is the editor of Environmental Education Research, and co-ordinates doctoral programmes in research methods in education and management, and teaches on Masters programmes in environmental education, technologies and learning, and qualitative research approaches. His research interests focus on teachers’ thinking and practice in environmental education, and policy-related and philosophical issues in environmental education theory and practice.

Bjarne Bruun Jensen is Professor in the Department of Curriculum Research at the Danish University of Education and directs the Research Programme on Environmental and Health Education. His research interests are in action-oriented health and environmental education; pupils’ concepts of health, inequality in health and action for health, and children as catalysts of social change. He is member of the editorial board of Environmental Education Research and Health Promotion International, and National Coordinator for the Danish network of health promoting schools. He also works as a consultant for WHO within the fields of Health Education and Health Promoting Schools.

Jutta Nikel is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Research in Education and the Environment, at the University of Bath. Her research interests focus on empirical and theoretical research regarding environmental education and education for sustainable development, and teachers’ thinking and practice in these areas. Her recent work for the Royal Academy of Engineering focused on how sustainability issues are integrated into undergraduate engineering education. Her current work examines the contribution of Education for Sustainable Development for improving quality in education in low income countries

Venka Simovska, PhD, is Assistant Professor in Health Education and Health Promotion at the Department of Curriculum Research at the Danish University of Education, and a member of the Research Programme for Environmental and Health Education. She is an academic coordinator of one of the modules of the Masters programme in health education and health promotion, and she teaches and supervises masters and doctoral students. Venka has extensive experience in research related to school-based projects, including the European Network of Health Promoting Schools. Her research interests revolve around issues relating to health, young people and teaching/learning processes in the area of health education and promotion. In particular, her research focuses on student participation and empowerment in learning.

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FROM THE REVIEWS "This is a welcome addition to the literature related to the development of effective learning in non-traditional contexts, and is put together by an impressive range of contributors from four continents. And whilst it does offer a wide range of perspectives on participatory learning in a variety of curriculum areas, these perspectives are predominantly theoretical and research-based. They testify to an effective and ongoing collaboration between academics from different backgrounds and disciplines, which makes for a comprehensive survey of the concepts from different perspectives.", Alan Peacock, University of Exeter, UK. Environmental Education Research, Vol. 16, No. 2, Month 2010, 1-2 --------- "This book is of true relevance to teachers, non-governmental organizations and researchers interested in knowing what participation can look like in various contexts where the voices’ of the young are favored. " Cecilia Lundholm, Stockholm University. Children, Youth and Environments, Vol. 19 No. 1, 2009 ---------- "The book is masterfully organised in a way that scaffolds the reader through a tangle of sometimes conflicting and competing debates played out in different settings with diverse players engaged in attaining a variaty of goals. For some readers the book will be a starting point toward understanding participation learning. For others, the book will serve as a tool for debate and reflection on a crowded playing field with players representing different agendas, some of them hidden. Although the editors ask readers to step outside of their individual bias, some will choose not to. Perhaps some will even us it as a way to sell their particular viewpoints. Others, however, will be compelled to reflect on themselves as participants in learning, and through their experience with this book they will develop an open-mindedness toward honest and careful consideration of what effective participation learning should encompass." Marie Cheak, Western Illinois University, The Journal of Environmental Education, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2008 ----------