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Pluralism and criticism in environmental education and education for sustainable development: a practical understanding
Örebro University, Department of Health Sciences. (SMED)
2006 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 12, no 2, p. 149-163Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Education is presented with a challenge when faced with criticism of modern science and adoption of a pluralistic view of environmental education and education for sustainable development. In dealing with this challenge, a practical understanding inspired by the later works of Ludwig Wittgenstein is suggested as a complement to more traditional theoretical and analytical responses. Through reminders of how criticism appears in everyday practice, the article shows that criticism does not necessarily have to be understood solely by reference to specific theoretical positions, but can also be seen in terms of the diverse ways that human beings react morally, encounter different norms and conduct ethical reflection. In such a practical understanding, the question is not whether the criticism is correct or not in absolute terms but rather whether the opinions and perspectives have significance in people's lives. Criticism of modern science does not therefore appear to be a reason to exclude modern science, the proposal here being to acknowledge and embrace the criticism and the alternative views put forward by the critics. By means of a practical understanding, the opposition expected between criticism and pluralism can be dissolved, rather than solved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis , 2006. Vol. 12, no 2, p. 149-163
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3022DOI: 10.1080/13504620600688856OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-3022DiVA, id: diva2:136413
Available from: 2006-02-03 Created: 2006-02-03 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Den etiska tendensen i utbildning för hållbar utveckling: meningsskapande i ett genomlevandeperspektiv
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Den etiska tendensen i utbildning för hållbar utveckling: meningsskapande i ett genomlevandeperspektiv
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to contribute to the debate about Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and provide a practical tool for teachers with which they can relate to ethical and moral learning in the ESD context. This aim is based on the ambition to develop an approach that takes its starting point from our practical experience of ethics and morals, inspired by the later works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the transactional perspective developed by John Dewey. This implies that ethics and morals are regarded as a human tendency that is observable in action. The central method used to clarify ethical and moral meaning-making is, by the use of examples, to remind of common experiences of how this meaning-making appears in everyday situations. These clarifications are made in order to dissolve (rather than solve) philosophical problems, as well as to create new knowledge. The approach has been applied to four different studies. The first study focuses on the differences between three selective traditions in environmental education: fact-based, normative and pluralistic, with regard to the relationship between facts and values. It is argued that a pluralistic approach can be seen as way of relating facts and values in practice, and consequently that the democratic process neither precedes nor succeeds education but is an integral part of it, and that students therefore are constituted as citizens participating in the progress of sustainable development. The purpose of the second study is to suggest an approach that allows in situ analysis of how individuals’ prior experiences are included in the processes of moral meaning-making. A concrete example shows how individuals can transform the moral discourse in different situations. In the third study, it is suggested that the ethical tendency can be recognised as a communication in which certain values and actions are treated as if they were universally good and right. Three different kinds of situations in which this communication appears are highlighted: personal moral reactions, norms for correct behaviour and ethical reflections.The diverse conditions for learning in these situations are discussed, and specific notice is taken of the risk of indoctrination in ESD. The fourth study addresses the question of how to understand and deal with criticism in a pluralistic educational approach. Through reminders of how criticism appears in everyday practice, it is argued that criticism does not necessarily have to be understood theoretically. Criticism can also be seen as the diverse ways in which human beings morally react, encounter different norms and ethically reflect.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitetsbibliotek, 2006. p. 143
Series
Örebro Studies in Education, ISSN 1404-9570 ; 13
Keywords
ethics, morals, Education for Sustainable Development, Environmental Education, Wittgenstein, Dewey, pragmatism, transaction, meaning-making
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-257 (URN)91-7668-464-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-02-24, Hörsal P2, Prismahuset, Örebro universitet, Örebro, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-02-03 Created: 2006-02-03 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Öhman, Johan

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