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Contextualising learning through the participatory construction of an environmental education programme

[journal article]

Ruiz-Mallen, Isabel; Barraza, Laura; Bodenhorn, Barbara; Ceja-Adame, Maria de la Paz; Reyes-García, Victoria

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Abstract Strengthening links between school and community is critical for improving people's participation in environmental issues. However, Mexican education programmes are generally unrelated to rural students' life experience and are planned without considering either teachers' or students' opinions. This paper describes the participatory construction of a preparatory school environmental education programme in Ixtlan de Juarez, a Mexican indigenous community internationally recognized for sustainable forest management. The qualitative research methods used are based on the action research methodology. Results from interviews conducted with the preparatory school's headmaster, the coordinator, and nine teachers provided the needed documentation of the school site for contextualising learning activities. Feedback during focus group with six students, three teachers, five local communal authorities, and two researchers highlighted that all participants perceived the need for creating an educational programme focused on local forest management. The contents and activities of the programme were designed by the focus group's participants. The programme has been continuously taught by teachers and forest workers since 2005 and was officially integrated with the preparatory school science curriculum in 2006. This participative educational experience has thus transformed the mandatory school curriculum in Ixtlan.
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics; Special areas of Education; Ecology, Environment
Free Keywords contextualising as pedagogical technique; Mexico; participatory methods
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 1755-1770
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 32 (2009) 13
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690903203135
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)