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Linking health education and sustainability education in schools: local transformations of international policy

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  • Katrine Dahl Madsen, Denmark
  • Lone Lindegard Nordin, Denmark
  • Venka Simovska
This chapter addresses the relationships between international and national (Danish) policies regarding sustainability and health promotion which have the potential to affect school-based health education/promotion and education for sustainable development. Based on policy mapping and analysis, the focus is on transformation processes occurring on the trajectory from international policy frameworks to the national context. The chapter considers the consequences of these transformation processes for educational practices within schools in light of the current major reform of basic general education in Denmark with its aims of ensuring overall school improvement, increasing pupil wellbeing and improving academic outcomes. Analysis of international policy documents, as well as of research literature in both fields, shows that school-based health education (HE) and education for sustainable development (ESD) share a number of features. These include a whole-school approach, cross-disciplinarity, participatory approaches, cultivating social imagination, and developing critical competences related to working with ‘real life’ health promotion and sustainable development issues. The discussion in this chapter focuses on a common tendency when health and sustainability education in schools are framed in national action plans: certain critical educational aspects are lost by narrowing the concepts of health and sustainability to fit particular school subjects (e.g. physical education or science) and defining outcomes solely in terms of individual lifestyle factors while neglecting the importance of working with broader social values and the complexity of the interplay between individual and society in relation to both health and sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSchools for health and sustainability : theory, research and practice
EditorsVenka Simovska, Patricia McNamarra
Number of pages29
Place of publicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
Publication year2015
ISBN (print)978-94-017-9170-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-9171-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • schools, health education, health promotion, sustainability, Education for sustainable development, Europe, Sundhedspædagogik, Grundskole

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