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  • Norden, Birgitta, et al. (författare)
  • Learning in global settings: Developing transitions for meaning-making
  • 2012
  • Ingår i: Research in Comparative and International Education. - SAGE Publications Inc.. - 1745-4999. ; 7:4, s. 514-529
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Global teaching and learning for sustainable development reaches from the classroom to the world outside, and is therefore a particularly interesting setting for practising transition skills. The article suggests a number of features perceived as crucial in developing young people's capability to act in a changing world and under circumstances that are difficult to predict. The suggestions are based on an empirical study of the Lund Calling project, which aimed at implementing a web-based international programme for teaching preventive environmental strategies in Swedish secondary schools. The article first presents some of the conditions in Sweden that particularly impact on young people's transition to adulthood. Related research in sustainability education is also briefly outlined. Knowledge capability theory is used to discuss results from the empirical study of the Lund Calling project, where interviews were conducted with secondary school students, teachers and headmasters. Based on these interviews, features that appear to be particularly relevant as transition skills in global learning for sustainable development include transdisciplinary action, democratic collaborative action, as well as self-directed and independent initiative. The article concludes that young people today cannot, as in earlier periods of history, base their actions entirely on the traditions of the family or community. Instead, they also need to learn to form their own communities, capable of acting at both local and global levels. Education here plays an important role in developing the necessary transition skills that enable young people to be prepared for a rapidly changing and uncertain world.
  • Nordén, Birgitta (författare)
  • Global Teaching and Learning towards Sustainable Development
  • 2014
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Towards sustainability the implementation of Global Learning for Sustainable Development (GLSD) is crucial. A better understanding of how to – from a global didactic angle – establish globally genuine dialoguesforming nuanced conceptions of sustainable development (SD) is necessary. Global teaching as well as global learning has to identify the challengesin various contexts for transdisciplinaryknowledge formation. Aiming to reach established and new target groups; higher education and secondary school as well as informal learning situations demands a holistic understanding. Highlighted froma perspectiveof preventive management strategies for SD, understanding collaboratively could serve as a tool to reacha deeper knowledge formation processthrough global learning i.e. GLSD. Notwithstanding, the global perspective has to be integrated in curriculum to achieve a competence-driven globalcurriculum. Thereby, capabilities through constructive interaction for various intercultural qualities of global learning and knowledge formation for sustainable development will be a central part of the outcome.
  • Nordén, Birgitta (författare)
  • Global Learning as Constitution of Meaning in Global-Local Contexts : Pedagogical Design and Support Towards Sustainability
  • 2016
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • “Through international and intercultural friendship, young people should benefit from cultural diversity, through their actions today, help to preserve it for generations to come. Thus, while youth are the key to the future, it is essential that they shape the present too.” (UNESCO, 2004, p.4). The purpose of this research is to analyze and describe the ways in which young people from many different countries and cultures experience their learning during the online course Young Masters Programme (YMP), which focuses on the phenomenon Preventive Environmental Strategies (PES). The course is characterized as an extended global learning space in which the common content takes on a local meaning. A starting point is that through the distance course a global network is developed within which the students work across national and cultural boundaries, boundaries that have to be met and crossed across cultural differences. Different conceptions and different meanings of what are apparently similar concepts have to become the object of reflection, and this gives rise to knowledge formation (Pierce, 1934; Bateson, 1972). The different meetings encourage the young people to reflect more on attitudes, to realize how their own actions and the actions of other people affect the environment. The high school students work in interactions across the globe to learn about sustainable development through exploring a learning environment with new ICT-mediated ways of communication including global interaction with ideas and descriptions, and a transdisciplinary approach focusing on social, economic and ecological dimensions of the students’ daily lives (Gough, 1987). Young people from different countries and cultures were working with a common content in the extended classroom. These global meetings seem to catalyze the high school students’ commitment and learning process in a sustainable direction. The aim of the analysis for this paper was to find qualitative differences in the experiences of learning. The study has been influenced by a phenomenographic approach (Marton 1981, Marton & Booth, 1997), where the goal was to capture the ways in which learning was experienced by the students, taking a second-order perspective on the object of study. While the overall study attempts to capture, analyse and describe qualitative variation in significant features of the experience of learning about sustainability, this paper presents an analysis of how the students understand the phenomenon preventive environmental strategies (PES). The data for the study reported came from the students’ assignments and follow-up discussions where they reflect on the assignments in the online course’s interactive global forums in Part1 of the YMP course that ran in 2005. The part chosen for this research was the first module “Hanna and Sustainability”. In the assignment the students reflect over their daily life situations and the environmental and social consequences. This was the students’ first assignments. The students were asked to reflect on general features of their learning on PES as an aspect of sustainability. Answers were analyzed to find themes in the broad concept of sustainability that the students related to their learning. A learning perspective on the communication was in focus (Booth & Hultén, 2003). Study groups representing different countries and different continents were hosted in an online globally extended classroom. This research intends to focus on the relation between certain features of the special phenomenon and the learning that is afforded, making use of comparison and contrast. In particular, learning as constitution of meaning by the individual in relation to the context of learning, experienced by the individual from her own background and experiences, the meeting with the given structure and content of the course, the meeting with other participants at a distance, is central to the study. The group discussions are not dramatically dynamic in the start, but the students were testing the global learning and may be capable to create their own potential for learning. They showed that they want to know more and to deepen their knowledge through learning dialogues. Reflective contributions with problematizing demand from the students in the group discussion to cease taking something for granted. A detail in the assignment could be isolated and some aspect from a more general field is focused. When asked, what are the problems you may face while discussing the use of bicycles instead of cars for short distances, the forum discussion contribution could even be recognized as a learning contribution in the meaning of appearing as the culmination of some threads of arguments. Such contributions have a characteristic element of critic of one´s own thinking or someone else´s, and it is followed by a search for a better way of analysing and expressing a situation associated with the task (Booth and Hultén, 2003). Still, the students are young people meeting one another as young people do, living in a single world of youth and the problems of the environment; besides that they are meeting in the course, around the common issues of the environment; and finally, they were meeting as representatives of different cultures with different assumptions and values. Global learning as constitution of meaning is vital, three features of learning recognized are in particular central: the character of the constituted context for learning, temporal and spatial flexibility of opportunity for learning, and the meetings that take place in a diverse population of learners in global contexts. For the students of this online course is the diversity very important and the context for learning. The result will turn to considerations of pedagogical design and support.
  • Nordén, Birgitta (författare)
  • Learning and teaching sustainable development in global-local contexts
  • 2016
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • The overall aim of this thesis is to develop knowledge of teaching and learning sustainable development in global–local contexts. The research field is global learning for sustainable development (GLSD). Phenomenographic approach and contextual analysis were used as methods of analysis, and data was collected by Semi-structured interviews at secondary and upper secondary schools in Sweden. In Study I, a strategic and systematic literature review was conducted of recent trends and critique to the dominating rhetoric on policy level concerning global education and global learning on sustainability issues. The complexity represented in GLSD is of global interest to face current challenges. The global–local context and the process for global learning were characterised by the learner’s perspective and self-efficacy. The variation of ways in which contextual features were revealed, affected how participants experienced their own learning global learning space. In Study II, empirical investigations were conducted of students’, teachers’, and head teachers’ conceptions of implementation of GLSD. Results indicate that critical knowledge capabilities were needed to act towards sustainability globally. Critical knowledge capabilities developed in the processes were to take command and collaborate as a team. Capabilities that were identified as necessary but which had not been sufficiently developed were to be prepared, act in a transdisciplinary manner and lead for holistic understanding in the learning process. Critical knowledge capabilities to handle complex knowledge were characterised by volition, self-directed learning, and knowledge formation. In Study III, a re-analysis was conducted of the data from Study II. The results shed light on pertinent transition skills in GLSD: (I) transdisciplinary action via knowledge formation in actual practices, (II) democratic collaborative action via processes of understanding, respectively (III) self-directed learning and independent initiative. These transition skills, enabling young people to be prepared for unpredictable changes, were perceived as key features in developing young people’s capability in an uncertain world. They developed worldview understanding, and advanced transformation competencies including critical reflections upon questions of current normativity. In Study IV, collaborative and transdisciplinary teaching with a global–local perspective was investigated in a study with teachers committed to global learning and sustainable development at an upper secondary school. Two main transdisciplinary teaching approaches of GLSD were distinguished: Contributing: Assist and Take Part respectively Ownership: Possess and Reconceptualise. The contributing approach was divided into the sub-categories: (I) Disheartened, (II) Supportive, and (III) Complementing teaching approaches; while the ownership approach comprised (IV) Decisive, and (V) Multi-dimensional teaching approaches. Various dimensions of the results appeared to be relevant for sustainability teaching and learning in global–local contexts, when connections between the studies were analysed in relation to the context and the overarching aims of the thesis. Through transdisciplinary teaching deep approaches to learning can be developed and Global teaching for sustainable development (GTSD) could be advanced. Individual and collaborative learning characterised by selfdetermination, responsibility, and social readiness leading to action emerged as key aspects At a global–local level, there is a growing need to develop competencies and capabilities for transitions towards sustainability. Conflicts and climate change are drastically increasing the number of displaced people who need transnational education on proactive preventive strategies, as well as develop to critical knowledge capabilities that can be useful across numerous contexts and in the face of changing circumstances. Increasingly, also young people need to manage their own learning processes in self-directed learning, regardless of where they are physically or may move in their lifetimes. As established social structures struggle to address global challenges, people across the planet need to be able to organise themselves and to take initiatives.
  • Nordén, Birgitta (författare)
  • Global Knowledge Formation in the Extended Classroom : Transdisciplinary Network for Global Learning Towards Sustainability
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: ECER 2015 : Online Programme. - EERA.
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • The Young Masters Program (YMP) online about sustainable development and preventive environmental management strategies has reached out to more than 10 000 students in 120 countries since 1999, when the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) atLundUniversitystarted the education for young students between 14 and 18 years (Nordén, 2005a; Nordén, 2005b). Youth from different countries and cultures are working with a common content interactively and problem-oriented in an extended classroom (Hansson and Nordén, 2005). The YMP course is free of charge and supervised by the IIIEE. The teenagers work in interactions across the globe to learn about sustainable development through exploring a learning environment with new ICT-mediated ways of communication including global interaction with ideas and descriptions, and a transdisciplinary approach focusing on social, economic and ecological dimensions of the students’ daily lives (Laurillard, 2002; Nordén, 2006). Focus is in particular on the ways in which the meeting between the course content, the intercultural discussions and the students’ own life-experiences constitute a context for knowledge formation, with emphasis on the extended classroom that is supported by the course. The context of learning is particularly interesting in the diverse situations that distance learners are in and the diversity that the course itself incorporates. The purpose of this research, using a phenomenographic approach (Marton, 1981; Marton & Booth, 1997), is to analyze and describe the ways in which these students have experienced their learning process in the field of sustainable development within the YMP. The data are collected from the students’ assignments and follow-up discussions where they reflect on the assignments in the course’s online meeting place. There are also data collected from the questionnaire about the students’ learning process. This material from the first part of the YMP online autumn of 2005 was analyzed (Marton and Booth, 1997; Booth and Hultén, 2003). Different conceptions and differentmeanings of what are apparently similar concepts have to become the object of reflection, and this gives rise to knowledge formation (Pierce, 1934; Bateson, 1972; Hansson, 2000; Hansson, 2004). In the YMP its value in linking distant partners internationally for information sharing, awareness raising and knowledge formation activities is shown. The varying meetings encourage the youth to reflect more on attitudes, to realize how their own actions and the actions of other people affect the environment. In front of all the students are young people meeting one another as young people do, living in a single world of youth with environmental, social and economic challenges; besides that they are meeting in the course, around the common issues concerning sustainable development as it is problemized in the course; and finally they are meeting as representatives of different cultures with different assumptions and values (Hansson & Nordén, 2005). Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used The purpose of our research is to analyze and describe the ways in which these students have experienced their learning process in the field of sustainable development within the ICT-mediated course YMP (Young Masters Program). We are focusing in particular on the ways in which the meeting between the course content, the intercultural discussions and the students´ own life-experiences constitute a context for knowledge formation, with emphasis on the extended room that is supported by the course. The context of learning is particularly interesting in the diverse situations that distance learners are in and the diversity that the course itself incorporates. The aim of the analysis was to find qualitative differences in the experiences of knowledge formation. The study has been influenced by a phenomenographic approach to the research (Marton, 1981, Marton & Booth, 1997; Marton, Hounsell & Entwistle, 1997; Booth & Hultén, 2003), where the goal is to capture the ways in which learning is experienced by the students, taking a second-order perspective on the object of study. Twelve study groups form a team hosted in a virtual course room. Each of the virtual course rooms have a representation of different countries and different continents, e.g. in our study Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa and Sweden. The data are collected from the students’ assignments and follow-up discussions where they reflect on the assignments in the course’s online meeting place. The three modules What are the Environmental Challenges?, What are the Social Challenges? and What are the Economic Challenges? were analyzed. Data was also collected and analyzed from the questionnaire on the students’ learning process. All data are from Part 1 of the YMP online taking place during the autumn 2005. The YMP course online consists of two parts. Part 1 compromises eight modules of studies about sustainability. The students learn about biodiversity, gaining an understanding of the complexity of ecosystems and their natural balance, as well as social, economic and environmental challenges. They begin looking at their world from the perspective of sustainable development. By learning about Agenda 21, they join international efforts in planning improvements and will be able to take a stand on sustainability issues. Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings The young people take part in the extended classroom and learn by reading their assignments´ content in a critical way and by being obvious of different interpretations. This material in the extended classroom is a great asset to students. The students become more aware of different aspects and ways of seeing problems. They are conscious – as well – of people having different interpretations of the same phenomenon. Experts are also very important persons in the process of forming knowledge. The students stand for two domains of knowledge – ”science-based” knowledge as well as ”reality-based” knowledge. Being in two domains could be seen as beneficial for their understanding of the phenomenon which are important for sustainable development. But, the ”reality-based” knowledge could of course be questioned – is it a contribution? This knowledge may not be believable? The opinion hold by the students, when they are reflecting upon their shaped process for formation and transformation of knowledge, is that their “reality-based” knowledge is believable. Through new combinations different forms of knowledge is formed and become parts of new contexts of meaning. Thanks to the critical view – included in the collaboration, negotiations and exchange in the YMP students´ discussions – a transforming learning process contributes to a solid foundation of a “reality-based” knowledge. The processes of knowledge transformation for sustainable development occur in the diverse educational settings of the YMP. The extended room in the YMP online shows its value in linking distant partners internationally for information sharing, awareness raising and activities for knowledge formation. The varying meetings engage the youth, in different processes of knowledge appropriation in relation to their social and cultural identities and interests. They start reflecting more on their attitudes, realizing how their own actions and the actions of other people affect the environment References Ally, M. (2004). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In: Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Athabasca University. Retrieved September 10, 2006, from http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch1.html Bateson, G. (1972) Steps to an ecology of mind. St Albans: Paladin Fromore Booth, S. & Hultén, M. (2003). Opening dimensions of variation: An empirical study of learning. Instructional Science 31:65 -86. Gough, N. (1987). Learning with environments: Towards an ecological paradigm for education. In Robottom, I. (ed) Environmental Education: Practice and possibility. Deakin: Deakin University Hansson, B. (2000). Förutsättningar för gymnasielevers kunskapsbildning och för undervisning inom miljöområdet. Dissertation. Lund: Department of Education, University of Lund Hansson, B. (2004). Formation of environmental knowledge. In Wickenberg, P. et al (eds)(2004) Learning to change our world. Lund: Studentlitteratur Hansson, B. & Nordén, B. (2005). Building an extended community for sustainable development. Paper at 3rd World Environmental Educator Congress, Turin, Italy, October 2-6, 2005 Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching : a framework for the effective use of educational technology. London: Routledge Marton , F.(1981). Phenomenography - describing conceptions of the world around us. Instructional Science 10: 177-200. Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N. (1997) The Experience of Learning (2nd edn.). Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. Marton, F. & Booth, S. (1997). Learning and awareness. Mahwah, NJ: LEA Moore, J. (2005). Barriers and pathways to creating sustainability education programs: policy, rhetoric and reality. Environmental Education Research. Vol 11, No 5, 537-555. Nordén, B. (2005a). Young Masters Program - Learning in the ICT-extended University. Paper at Committing Universities to Sustainable Development Conference on the International Launch in Higher Education, Graz, Austria, April 20-23, 2005 Nordén, B. (2006). Online learning: Analysis of experiences of youth education for Sustainable Development. Paper at International Conference on Distance Education 2006, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman, March 27–29, 2006 Nordén, B. & Hansson, B. (2006a). Meeting over cultural boundaries: networked learning for sustainable development. Paper at Networked learning 2006 – Fifth International Conference, Lancaster University, UK, April 10–12, 2006 Peirce, C. S. (1934). Collected Papers V of Charles Sanders Peirce . Vol 5 Pragmatism and Pragmaticism, edited by Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss. Cambridge: Harward University Press Wals, A.E.J. & Jickling, B. (2002). “Sustainability” in higher education: from doublethink and newspeak to critical thinking and meaningful learning. Higher Education Policy 15 (2002) 121 - 131.
  • Nordén, Birgitta, et al. (författare)
  • Nyanlända studenters behov av utbildning : Möjligheter och hinder
  • 2016
  • Konferensbidrag (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Fram till nu har högre utbildning för nyanlända främst betraktats utifrån möjligheter att komplettera tidigare utbildningar och snabbt få invandrade akademiker i arbete i Sverige. Men frågorna om hur man kan få in nyanlända i högre utbildning är även centrala utifrån ett hållbarhetsperspektiv. För att möta globala utmaningar kommer det att behövas kraftfulla dialogutrymmen mellan den globala norden och södern. Ur detta perspektiv blir de nyanlända oerhört värdefulla som framtida brobyggare i det globala arbetet för övergångar mot hållbarhet. En rad initiativ har påbörjats i Europa för att undersöka vilka åtgärder som behövs för att bättre möta utbildningsbehovet på högskolenivå bland nytillkomna flyktingar. Förslag omfattar bland annat särskilda stipendier, ändringar i formuleringen av inträdeskrav, eller upprättandet av ett kursutbud på engelska. I Sverige avser flera initiativ att påskynda inträdet i arbetslivet för de nyanlända. Validering i högre utbildning är en fråga som kräver särskild uppmärksamhet, liksom frågan om hur kvalificerade flyktingar kan få sin yrkeskompetens erkänd och anpassad till svenska krav. Bedömning av meriter och erkännandet av tidigare studier är också en nyckelfråga för antagning av studenter baserat på diplom erhållna i deras ursprungsland. Projektet Nyanlända studenter undersöker förutsättningarna vid Malmö Högskola både avseende antagningen och avseende möjligheterna att erbjuda skräddarsydda kurser, anpassade till behoven hos flyktingar i regionen. Såväl pedagogiska som administrativa konsekvenser av tänkbara åtgärder och insatser kommer att undersökas.
  • Nordén, Birgitta, et al. (författare)
  • Student-centered learning for extended learning processes in HE: assessing international students on global challenges in "Teaching for sustainability"
  • 2017
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Without a sense of adventure and an awareness that we all - students, teachers and educational developers - are on an endless journey of discovery, the good learning assessment (Sonesson & Nordén, 2015) or the good teaching does not take place. At the beginning of their teaching careers Prosser & Trigwell (2001) thought, as well as many teachers in science do, that the essence of good teaching was about to get knowledge in a scientifically correct manner and develop their teaching skills in presenting subject knowledge for the students. As teachers, they searched reliable ways to measure student learning, rather than trying to find valuable indications of the students´ understanding. No attempt was made to help students see how the topic they introduced related to the students´ previous subject studies. They did not about to sensitize students about their preconceptions or previous experiences, which might be needed again (Prosser & Trigwell, 2001). In-depth learning (with a deep learning approach) the learner searches meaningfulness and want to understand the behind-lying ideas (Marton & Booth, 1997). Enthusiastically and curiously integrating and relating the learning in a strategic manner to all the individual experiences, besides theorizing and being fully aware of that the words just are carriers of meanings. The meaning of the arguments is focused. On the contrary, with surface learning approaches, the learner focuses - without any reflection on the purpose or strategy of life-long learning - on the least possible effort to root memorize information (Tsui, 2004) only for the knowledge exam without any thought of enhanced meaning-making or understanding (Lundström et al, 2016). The focus is then on the text, formulas or words, actual data and they represent purely symbolically knowledge formation (Prosser & Trigwell, 2001). Anderberg (1999) argues that the expression of intent is of great importance regarding the student´s opportunities to develop meaningful theoretical conclusions and deep learning approaches. Thereby, the importance of experienced knowledge formation situations is emphasized. By activating students' experiences of word meanings and understanding, as during an assessing literature seminar, promotes access to their prior knowledge and could develop extended learning processes and deeper understanding within in higher education. Thus, for their upcoming teaching they are offered new opportunities heading for deep learning approaches based on the theoretical part (Anderberg, 1999). Teacher education is of particular importance for developing competences and knowledge capabilities (Nordén, 2016) required for societal changes towards sustainability (Mochizuki & Yarime, 2016; UE4SD, 2015; Wals 2014; Rauch & Steiner 2013). This research is based on international teacher students´ learning experiences. In the campus course Teaching for sustainability (15 credits) at Malmö university,the perspective is learner focused with a holistic approach on education of the environmental and sustainability challenges in local-global contexts (Avery & Nordén, 2017). The heterogeneous group of students has a variety of knowledge on sustainability issues, different experiences of learning activities and examination forms, since attending the course in Sweden from different continents, cultures and countries worldwide. Consequently, a common foundation for further progression of knowledge formation among the students is valuable to achieve at the course start. One initial learning activity is to read World on the Edge (Brown, 2011) and thereafter construct three questions on environmental and sustainability challenges that the student considers urgent and of particular interest. These questions are sent to the lecturer, who chooses one question from each student. The student that raised it prepares and directs a discussion in the teacher student group with 5-7 students in a student-driven literature seminar. The student thereby introduces the topic, has the responsibility for actively chairing the discussion through the seminar, and sums up the shared thoughts, opinions and knowledge for meaning-making afterwards. Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used The learning outcome is that the student will be able to describe what effect humans have upon their environment, actively discuss the scope of environmental problems and challenges in sustainable development in the participants´ respective home country and worldwide. The aim of this research is to investigate how heterogeneous groups of teacher students experience a student-driven, non-traditional literature seminar for learning assessment purposes within the extended learning process in higher education, and offered for meaning-making within environmental and sustainability learning and teaching (Anderberg, Nordén & Hansson, 2009; Lundström et al, 2016). Qualitative group interviews with semi-structural questions and analysis were conducted by a phenomenographic approach. Previous experiences of assessments, ways of reading the course literature and formulating questions, expectations and reflections, and student-centered learning processes were focused. The group interviews with the international teacher students (n=63) in 2012, 2014 and 2016 took place in 11 group meetings. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and thematically categorised from the reflected experiences made visible through the analysis of the qualitative data gathered. (P.M. This is work in progress and when analysis has been carried out more details will be avilable, which could be presented if accepted for the ECER 2017...) Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings The analysis of the assessment seminars suggests that for many students this form of assessment was a new learning experience. While reading the book students were mainly concentrating on bigger concepts. A few students were afraid as they were unfamiliar with planning and taking responsibility for a discussion. However, the participatory and collaborative learning assessment with sharing of experiences among the students resulted in a rewarding challenge based learning process. After the assessment students continued to reflect and talk about the questions raised. According to them, it generated a deep learning opportunity compared to written examination. This meant that they had a deeper understanding of the questions at hand, and they could draw on richer contextualised resources from their own experience to develop school oriented subject matters through the discussion. A tentative result shows some categories of the students’ experiences of meaning-making: developing critical thinking, focusing on learning and understanding, learning by collaboration, seeing a bigger picture, and taking responsibility in learning for understanding. Besides assessing the learning outcome, the learning needs are identified through the learning activity to be promoted for continued learning in the course. When students share their knowledge and experiences of global environmental and sustainability challenges, extended learning processes for sustainability enhanced literacy seems to develop. The students describe their learning processes as consistent and progressively on-going also after the closing of the seminar (Sonesson & Nordén, 2015).
  • Nordén, Birgitta, et al. (författare)
  • Transitions Towards an Unknown Future: Non-Formal Learning in Transnational Communities for a Sustainable Society
  • 2019
  • Konferensbidrag (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The study makes an inventory of learning opportunities young people were offered in connection with CEI 2016, one of the annual international conferences organized by the NGO named Caretakers of the Environment International (CEI), which year 2016 took place in Aalborg in Denmark. The learning opportunities offered by this transnational learning community are discussed in relation to some essential learning qualities to meet the comprehensive sustainability challenges facing our societies - in particular youth, who can be seen as a target group per se, many times in transition-like situations: (1) learning for uncertain future, 82) dealing with complex crossborder issues, (3) ability to collaborate, (4) take initiative and act in society. These qualities are difficult to achieve in formal school systems that are essentially organized to ensure the transmission of a specific learning content and measurable abilities. The question in this study has been inspired by a previous study in a Swedish school context (Nordén, Avery & Anderberg, 2012, Nordén, 2016), about abilities that allow high school students to get an agency towards local and global sustainability challenges. The critical skills identified were: (1) Organization/self-regulation and independent decision-making skills (2) Development of Transnational Learning Communities (3) Democratic cooperation in action. There is widespread consensus that radical new educational approaches are needed to address the challenges of our time (Breiting & Wickenberg, 2010; Mochizuki & Yarime, 2016; Reid & Scott, 2013). Traditionally, focus has been placed on transmitting an existing knowledge base. The situations we face are changing at a staggering rate, and future developments are characterized by great uncertainty. Barnett (2012) therefore claims that preparation for the unknown should be guiding in education. Young people must not only be able to explore different complex situations, but also be prepared to take initiatives to act, find solutions to major environmental and social problems, and steer up their own learning during their life journey (Almers, 2013; Barrat, Barratt-Hacking, Scott & Talbot, 2006; Öhman, 2008). In this context, one has talked about sustainability literacy (Dawe, Jucker & Martin, 2005). CEI's activities are nonformal (Mocker & Spear, 1982) in the sense that they are organized for the purpose of promoting learning for sustainability and have a well-considered overall structure, but participants can independently define the issues and projects they work with . The transnational learning community could thereby support a challenge-oriented learning (UE4SD, 2015). The results indicate that the processes are supported when young people and their teachers experience a sense of community and having a place in the local-global context. This is done both through intensive work on their own projects prior to the conference, through participation in the physical meetings during the conference and the subsequent network activities in connection with it. In order for society as a whole to take advantage of the potential of non-formal learning, alternative educational approaches need to gain increased recognition and attention. The focus has to be shifted from a narrow performance focus that values isolated results, to reflect more widely on the learning opportunities offered by different forms of education in their entirety.
  • Nordén, Birgitta (författare)
  • Deepening Approaches to Teaching, Learning and Curriculum in Environmental and Sustainability Education: Transdisciplinary Teaching for Global Learning of Sustainable Development in a Whole School Project.
  • 2016
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Deepening Approaches To Teaching, Learning and Curriculum In Environmental And Sustainability Education Chair: Alan Reid (Monash University) Symposium: 3 Papers in Symposium - 3 National Perspectives. National perspective: Sweden This paper reports on a study of transdisciplinary teaching of education for sustainable development (ESD) with a global dimension at an upper secondary school in Sweden. The paper examines the argument that in these contexts, content and teaching forms are not established in advance, making it possible for students to develop critical knowledge capability. Knowledge capability goes beyond simply holding a competence for acting in a defined and foreseeable situation that can be practiced in advance. Instead, knowledge capabilities allow students to take adequate decisions in the future, as new situations occur and demand action-taking. A total of 27 semi-structured interviews were conducted with 9 teachers and analysed using phenomenographic and contextual analysis (Åkerlind, 2005). Two main approaches to transdisciplinary teaching were identified: one where they contributed but struggled with transdisciplinarity, and the other where teachers displayed ownership and were able to reconceptualise the project as a whole. Overall, teachers worked in the project with deep-level processing for learning ESD in an integrated manner in a transdisciplinary framework. However, they experienced tensions between their resources and capabilities, and the challenges they faced in the project. Working with ESD is shown to be a highly challenging and complex task for teachers, in devising learning activities and support structures for students that involve these various dimensions. Despite their aspirations to achieve ESD learning goals expressed in the national curriculum, teacher teams frequently experience that they do not have full capability to cover a complex knowledge field (Öhman & Öhman, 2012). Teachers are challenged to work with their own professional development, exchanging experiences and knowledge simultaneously. This also involves coping with deep questions of their inner (re)orientation, and developing extended external teaching forms corresponding to transdisciplinary learning processes (Sund & Wickman, 2008). The paper concludes by arguing that by enhancing the ability to deal with global processes, involving critical thinking, skills and values, ESD inevitably attempts to foster students becoming responsible citizens (Scheunpflug & Asbrant, 2006; Anderberg, Nordén, & Hansson 2009). This is facilitated by approaches that, from the outset, integrate global and transdisciplinary dimensions, and thereby address the challenge of teaching about complexities (Sund 2015), with considerations of local situations, and diverse values or cultures. Importantly, working with the global dimension allows students to better understand conflicts of interest underlying different suggestions for dealing with sustainability issues and making decisions in the future (Biesta 2009; Howie & Bagnall, 2012; Gough 2012). Bibliography: Åkerlind, G. (2005). Variation and Commonality in Phenomenographic Research Methods. Higher Education Research and Development, 24: 321-334. Anderberg, E., B. Nordén, & B. Hansson. (2009). Global Learning for Sustainable Development in Higher Education: Recent Trends and Critique. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 10(4): 368-378. Biesta, G. (2009). Good Education in an Age of Measurement: On the Need to Reconnect with the Question of Purpose in Education. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability 21(1): 33-46. Gough. N. (2012). Thinking Globally in Environmental Education. In (Eds) R. Stevenson et al. International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education. Routledge. pp. 33-44. Howie, P. & R. Bagnall. (2012). A Critique of the Deep and Surface Approaches to Learning Model. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(4): 389-400. Öhman. M. & J. Öhman. (2012). Harmony or Conflict? A Case Study of Meaning Content in ESD. NORDINA 8(1): 59-71. Scheunpflug, A. & B. Asbrand. (2006). Global Education and ESD. Environmental Education Research, 12(1): 33-46. Sund. P. (2015). Experienced ESD-School Teachers’ Teaching – An Issue of Complexity. Environmental Education Research, 21(1): 24-44. Sund, P. & P-O. Wickman. (2008). Teachers’ Objects of Responsibility: Something to Care about in ESD? Environmental Education Research, 14(2): 145-163.
  • Nordén, Birgitta, et al. (författare)
  • Sustainability Dilemmas in Preschool Teacher Training : : Engaging Students' Experience in the Local Place
  • 2017
  • Konferensbidrag (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The European Commission has since 2012 been working on setting out the priorities for early childhood education and care, seen as an important condition for improving learning at school, reducing social inequity and supporting social inclusion. Provision of high quality preschool education and care is in turn linked to adequately trained staff, and the Council of the European Union has decided on ”supporting the professionalisation of ECEC staff, with an emphasis on the development of their competences, qualifications and working conditions” (European Council, 2011). Forms of preschool education differ widely across European countries today (European Commission, 2015), and the training of preschool teachers is also very diverse (Eurofound, 2015). In Sweden, preschool education is part of the general education system, with a national curriculum (Lpfö98). Swedish teacher training of preschool teachers is regulated, and is - just as teacher training for compulsory school - provided at universities and university colleges. The competence of preschool teachers is strategic for sustainability work in preschool settings. This study analyses the learning affordances of a task about conflicts of interest in sustainability issues. This task was given to students on a university preschool teacher programme, and aimed to develop their ability to reflect on values and interests in change towards sustainable societies, and to work with these issues in their practice as preschool teachers. The intention with the task was above all to challenge the student teachers’ reflection on dilemmas and conflicts (cf. Öhman & Öhman, 2012) in sustainability work. Teacher education is of particular interest in developing competences required for societal changes towards sustainability (Rauch & Steiner 2013; UNESCO 2005; Wals 2014). School reaches most children and contributes to shaping a foundation for their development as adults. It influences the way they see knowledge paradigms, values and expertise. While later years tend to be structured in separate school subjects, preschool and primary school can shape the basis for a more integrated transdisciplinary understanding of society and the world. The early years are decisive for children’s perception of self and the way they see their place in the world. Experiences in the early years affect the child’s relationship to other life forms (Askerlund & Almers, 2016). Among the aspects which determine to which extent teacher education can provide affordances for student teachers to develop competences in teaching for sustainabiity are: links to sustainabiity research environements; the ability to work across the divide between social and natural sciences; action-oriented knowledge (Avery & Nordén, 2015, 2017). Adequate teacher training in sustainability work for preschool teachers is not unproblematic, however, since preschool aims to strengthen the child’s development and socialisation through play-based pedagogy (Thulin, 2011; Edwards & Cutter-MacKenzie, 2013). It is not clear how preschool teachers can in practice satisfy the curriculum’s ambition to shape a foundation for understanding highly complex sustainability issues in preschool. Deep knowledge about causal relationships is needed if sustainability education is to form the basis for responsible democratic action (Lundholm, 2011). An additional problem is therefore that knowledge in preschool relating to the natural sciences is mediated by teachers who do not themselves have a strong basis in science (Nilsson, 2012). It will here be argued that a possible approach to deal with these challenges is to work on practical questions of local relevance, where preschool teachers can to a greater extent draw on their own experience. Contextualising learning by relating to place has been identified as a significant element to increase engagement for sustainabiity (Beery & Wolf-Watz, 2014). However, place-based education can also be limiting, unless connections are also made to global interrelationships (McInerney, Smyth & Down, 2011; Nordén, 2016). Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used The investigated task took its point of departure in a local place, giving students the opportunity to use their experience and knowledge of local conditions to design pedagogical activities for preschool children that would be relevant to sustainability issues. The task relates to Swedish national curriculum aims (Lpfö98) concerning preschool children’s understanding of scientific phenomena and causalities, and also addresses the aim to familiarise chilldren with their surroundings and the locality (Curriculum for the Preschool, 2016). The curriculum notably states that preschool should ”develop their interest and understanding of the different cycles in nature, and how people, nature and society influence each other” and that preschool teachers should ”give children the opportunity of understanding how their own actions can have an effect on the environment”. Data for the study consisted of observations of students preparing , carrying out and discussing their projects for the task. Additionally, the student course evaluationis of the task were analysed, to gain a picture of the student teachers’ own perceptions of the learning affordancesthe task offered and its relevance for their future professional practice. The analysis used as a point of departure conclusions of University Educators for Sustainable Development mapping studies (UE4SD, 2015), and two critical axes (Avery & Nordén, 2015, 2017) with respect to offering spaces for transdisciplinary and integrating reflection for the student teachers on sustainability issues, and linking their theoretical training to practice oriented work. The task the students worked with was firstly considered with respect to the learning affordances (Caldwell, Bilandzic & Foth 2012) it offered, through different elements of its design, and secondly with respect to the students’ own perceptions and reflections on their learning, presented in the course evaluations. Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings Student course evaluations pointed to a perceived tension between the advanced content and working with preschool children. The course evaluations also displayed a tension between what students felt was useful scientific knowledge, and the social dimensions in sustainability. It thus appeared that working with dilemmas and place-based pedagogy was a promising approach to teach future preschool teachers ways of working with sustainability issues with young children. However, to achieve greater understanding and engagement, these approaches would require a more solidly established prior understanding among the preschool student teachers of transdisciplinarity (Mochizuki, Y. & Yarime, 2016) as well as of the significance of social dimensions of sustainability. The analysis of student presentations and observations suggests that the fact that students could choose the conflict of interests that they wanted to work with and that it was situated locally did in fact enable them to relate to issues they were familiar with. This meant that they had a deeper understanding of the questions, and they could draw on richer contextualised , emboided and emotionally engaging resources from their own experience to develop activities for the children. The fact that the task was placed in an outdoor environment and related to specific known places made it possible to connect the learning activities to concrete circumstances and lived experiences, thereby also making the scientific causalities and implications clearer than if they had only been represented verbally.
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