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Pluralism in practice: experiences from Swedish evaluation, school development and research
Uppsala University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Curriculum Studies.
2010 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 16, no 1, 95-111 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the international policy debate, environmental education and education for sustainable development seem to be moving away from a focus on behavioural modifications to more pluralistic approaches. This article illuminates a Swedish example of a strategic interplay between evaluation, development and research that relates to this shift, involving actors from schools, governmental agencies and researchers. The specific purpose of the research was to analyse and describe teachers' attempts to stimulate a pluralistic meaning-making process among their students in the context of education for sustainable development. The empirical material consisted of video-recorded lessons in secondary and upper secondary schools. In the analysis we used a methodological approach based on John Dewey's pragmatic philosophy and Ludwig Wittgenstein's first-person perspective on language. A concept called 'epistemological moves' has been used to clarify the actions that teachers perform in order to guide students in procedures of meaning-making. The analysis shows that the teachers perform a number of actions that make pluralistic meaning-making possible: encouraging the students to compare, specify, generalise and test their arguments under different circumstances. The teachers also encouraged the students to examine and evaluate different alternatives and be critical of their own statements. Finally, the findings are related to a perspective of democracy as a form of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 16, no 1, 95-111 p.
Keyword [en]
education for sustainable development, pluralism, democracy, pragmatism, meaning-making
National Category
Social Sciences Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-137081DOI: 10.1080/13504620903504073ISI: 000276343900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-137081DiVA: diva2:378140
Available from: 2010-12-15 Created: 2010-12-15 Last updated: 2014-04-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Elevers lärande i argumentativa diskussioner om hållbar utveckling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elevers lärande i argumentativa diskussioner om hållbar utveckling
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall ambition with this thesis is to develop knowledge about students’ learning, especially with regard to process and content, when they participate in argumentation. Students’ learning is investigated through in situ studies of classroom practices. The theoretical point of departure is a pragmatic perspective in which learning is understood and investigated in terms of concrete actions. The empirical material consists of video recorded lessons at secondary and upper secondary schools in Sweden. The content of the lessons is argumentative discussions about sustainable development and socioscientific issues. In the first study, the functions that teachers’ actions have for students’ learning processes are investigated using Epistemological Move Analysis. In the second study, an approach is developed and illustrated that facilitates investigations into students’ learning processes in terms of knowledge content and argument construction in argumentation. The method, called Transactional Argumentation Analysis, combines a pragmatic perspective of learning with an argument analysis based on Toulmin’s Argument Pattern. In the third study, the functions that knowledge have when used by students in argumentative discussions are examined. The fourth study investigates the role of peers for students’ learning and how students influence the argumentation at a collective level. Here Transactional Argumentation Analysis is developed further in order to facilitate investigations of the dynamic interplay between the intra-personal and the inter-personal dimensions of learning and the result of this interplay in terms of the knowledge content and arguments that are constructed. The thesis shows how students’ learning can be investigated through in situ studies of educational practices. The methodological contribution of the thesis consists of the development and further elaboration of Transactional Argumentation Analysis. The thesis also contributes with substantial knowledge about students’ learning processes with regard to knowledge content and argument construction when participating in argumentation. Another contribution concerns the functions of knowledge when used by students in argumentation. Finally, the studies show how peers and teachers influence students’ learning, and how students contribute to the shared argumentation in the classroom. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 87 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Educational Sciences, 4
education for sustainable development, socioscientific issues, teaching, learning, argumentation, pragmatism, practical epistemology
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-218282 (URN)978-91-554-8876-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-03-27, Eva Netzelius, von Kraemers Allé 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-03-05 Created: 2014-02-10 Last updated: 2014-04-29

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