Lessons from waste - from ignorance to awareness
Aim: This study aimed to introduce elementary school students to an ecocentric worldview by creating opportunities in class for actions that could lead to changes locally and at the global level regarding the disposal of materials. Theory: This thesis used a combination of theories to challenge the anthropocentrism practice in our schools and societies and facilitate the development of an ecocentric worldview in students. A circular economy model was applied taking into consideration the boundaries proposed by Raworth (2017) known as the “doughnut economy” which contemplates economic development between a social foundation and an ecological ceiling. The Theory of Experience and Education (Dewey, 1963) was used to allow meaningful experiences for students that could be extended beyond the school walls and facilitate profound changes in students’ future experiences. Method: An action research method was used in this thesis taking into consideration the model of experiential learning proposed by Dewey (1963) with the following phases: impulse, observation, knowledge, and judgment. A narrative analysis was conducted with the data collected throughout the process of this intervention using the framework proposed by Braun and Clarke (2006). Results: The study shows that learning and reflecting in class about the impacts of human waste and the consumption of certain products and materials facilitated an ecocentric view of students at school. The experiences children had in improving recyclability in their classrooms and in modifying some of the spaces at school to improve recyclability along with the incorporation of some circularity strategies, allowed students’ engagement and participation towards sustainability. Despite their young age, students could critically reflect on their consumption behaviours and habits in recycling and disposing of waste. The results also suggest that attitudinal changes occurred in students that might influence future experiences and relations with other non-human life and the natural world.
Ramirez Pedraza, Pablo
anthropocentrism, ecocentrism, circular economy, Theory of Experience and Education, sustainability, Education for Sustainable Development, ESD