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Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard

The significance of ‘participation’ as an educational ideal in education for sustainable development and health education in schools

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This article examines the significance of the concept of participation for teacher meaning-making processes in education for sustainable development and health education. In Scandinavian public schools, education for sustainable development and health education focus on a wide palette of societal problems rather than on narrow curricula. Drawing on selected reviews of research literature on education for sustainable development and health education, Lacanian psychoanalysis provides inspiration for our analysis of the concept of participation, and how it is positioned and enacted in these fields of practice. Essentially, we argue that the concept of participation has a dual nature: it serves both as an educational ideal and as a teaching strategy. We also explore how the failure to achieve the ideal of ‘true’ participation may serve a positive purpose for the teacher; the acknowledgement that participation is not always as genuine as desired establishes a pedagogical situation where ideals of engaging pupils through true participation can continue to exist side by side with clear signs of a less consequential participation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Pages (from-to)613-630
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Schools, Particpation, Education for sustainable development, Health education, Lacan, Miljø- og klimapædagogik, Sundhedspædagogik, Participation

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