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Adolescents and the dip in sustainability consciousness
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013). (SMEER)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7976-4860
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013). (SMEER)
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Previous research has shown that interest in and concern about environmental issues tends to decline in adolescence, in this paper referred to as a “dip”. However, less is known whether adolescents’ interests and concerns for sustainable development (SD), i.e. a more inclusive concept including economic and social issues, also dip in adolescence. Education for sustainable development (ESD) could be regarded as a teaching approach that in a good way meets the educational needs of adolescents. Therefore before promoting widespread adoption of such an approach it is important to rigorously test the hypothesis whether adolescents’ broader consciousness of SD really dip.  A research group in Sweden has recently developed an instrument for surveying students’ sustainability consciousness (SC), a broad concept integrating affective and cognitive aspects of the three dimensions of SD. Thus, this study aims to investigate students’ SC in the transition to adolescence. This was done by surveying 2413 Swedish students in the 6th, 9th and 12th grade using an age-adapted questionnaire. The results unambiguously show that Swedish students’ SC dips in adolescence, strongly indicating a need to modify the sustainability education of adolescents. Education for Sustainable Development is recommended as an approach to meet that need. However, further research is needed to evaluate the potential utility of ESD as a teaching approach for tackling the adolescent dip in students’ SC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Natural Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-42047OAI: diva2:929304
ESERA 2015 - Engaging Learners for Sustainable Future, Helsingfors.
Available from: 2016-05-18 Created: 2016-05-18 Last updated: 2016-05-18

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Olsson, Daniel
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