Windsor Conference April 12th - 15th 2012 Full Paper Presentation
Windsor ConferenceApril 12th – 15th 2012From Agent of Change to GlobalCitizen?” Dialogue, drawings,narratives and performances ofsecondary school children engagedwith the design of a sustainableschool.Andrea WheelerThe Centre for Engineering & Design Education
Outline • My paper describes the work of an UKERC/ESRC early careers fellowship at the University of Nottingham exploring the dimension of behavioural change in the design of sustainable schools. • My paper illustrates through narratives, drawings and performances the engagement of 10 to 16 year old children in the problem of sustainable development and the meaning of a sustainable lifestyle. • It examines notions of agency and citizenship; methods adopted building on existing motivations to changes day-to-day experience. • Comfort an intermediary in understanding how the physical and everyday connects to the political and global.
Early Careers Fellowship ProjectMarch 2007 – February 2010 Defining sustainable development and designing a sustainable school.UK Energy Research Council/ Economic and Social Sciences Research Councilhttp://www.sustainability-and-schools.com
THEORY AND METHOD• Worldy pedagogies aim to connect young people to a global context: to the worldly experience of human beings in their plurality; to their sharing of a common world.• According to Biesta education should not be “…just about the transmission of knowledge, skills and values, but [...] concerned with the individuality, subjectivity, or personhood of the student, with their ‘coming into the world’ as unique, singular beings” (Biesta 2006: 27). His humanistic and democratic vision puts emphasis on educational relationships, “on trust, and on responsibility, while acknowledging the inherently difficult character of education” (Biesta 2006: 15).http://www.sustainability-and-schools.com
An Example - Dialogue on the Global Dimension Children couldFor example, in a dialogue with a group of pupils (all aged 12 articulate why theyand 13) in a Catholic secondary school, it was growth in though change wasconsumerist societies that was to blame. so difficult.However, in a criticism of the researcher’s questioning, - it The art and artwasn’t all about school design or behaviours. based methods provide opportunities forIt’s not all about schools polluting. There should be a better way children to thinkto make people stop polluting because scientists and people like about transformingthat spread their message but what have they done: nothing! So spaces andI think school could be more eco-friendly […] but I think that relationships tothey should in America and Beijing, I’m not saying it’s just their their immediatefault, they should cut down on the amount of cars they have surroundings.because for the Olympics they cut down all the cars they had butnow they are reusing all the cars!
The Building Schools for the Future Programme: Anextraordinary number of ‘sustainable’ schools?• The initial Government vision that these schools would be ‘sustainable’ through the relationship of the building design and the behaviour of the children (Blair, A, 2004).• The role of children’s participation in the design of schools way a key element of the marketing of the programme, and this has been discussed as problematic by academic researchers .• The role of sustainability within this participatory relationship of architect and school community poorly conceived and a focus of the fellowship project.
Narratives (1) GlobalResponding to a question about what would motivate othersto act more sustainably and taking recycling as an examplethey state:There’s a lot of rubbish on the field, more bins around theback for the school… […] Supermarkets are saying to people[to recycle], but they put drinks in packets and wrappers[…]On some packing it says you can recycle it, but somepeople just chuck it on the floor […]they should make aneasier way to recycle. It’s not just like the public getting itwrong because the Government aren’t really doing muchabout it […] and they are sending it to India!These pupils perceived those promoting personal action asneglecting this political and global dimension.
Narratives (2) The Credit CrunchFrom the same school and group of children:Everyone is just worrying about the credit crunch, the credit crunch atthe moment. It might be about the public, but it is the Government aswell.Within this group of children attitudes did however change toquestions of responsibility, when questioned on perhaps moreimmediate issues to them and their families, even to the point of astrong encouragements to do something different.Researcher: Do you think the credit crunch […] or the ‘economic crisis’has something to do with global warming?Yeah [all of the group responding to the question]
Narratives (3) GreedBecause the banks are lending money, but people aren’t paying itback…Because it’s like [a man] maxed out like six credit cards andkilled himself, and then his wife had to pay it off. Because like ifmoneys gone out of your bank account you won’t have enough moneyto buy light bulbs. People want, want, want, they want to go onholidays, they want big cars, they want their children to have the latestvideo games.Researcher: Do you think people could stop behaving like this?Some kids get spoilt abit sometimes […] because kids get spoilt my Dadstarted saying things I don’t need and I want I have to buy it myself. Itteaches me how it’s going to be like when I grow up. You’re limited inwhat you can buy. And one’s that get spoilt should do it as well […]because when they’re older it’s not going to happen and you need towork for it.
Drawings (1) How do you explore a different relation, a non-exploitative, non-appropriative relation to the world and to others, with young people? Dialogue is one option so too is art based methods (drawings in this instance)
Summary• Children and young people have to have the right within our existing educational systems to be able to encounter all the complexities this involves.• Sustainability does not require behaviour change, but a critical engagement with living and being.• It demands both ontological and political interrogation: what does it mean to be in an ethical or just relation to the environment and to other human beings? Who is this historical human being characterised so well by his/her exploitation of the natural environment and how do we understand his or her rights?• The question of a sustainable lifestyle relates directly to the traditions of philosophical and political discourse and this cannot be absent from teaching in schools in the context of sustainable development.