This study explores pre-service teachers' views on the features and causes of social exclusion in the context of educational unsustainability. The data from expert questionnaires, assessment of research participants' personal experience with social exclusion in educational setting, their current understanding of the problem and individual suggestions for solving it were analysed qualitatively. The results indicate that, in teachers' opinion, social exclusion in education can be caused by subjective and objective factors – pupils' personal characteristics, school climate, parental influence and social causes. The research participants particularly emphasise teacher's role in reducing pupils' social exclusion by adhering to values, such as fairness, equality, empathy, cooperation and respect. The research results highlight the need for addressing the issue of social exclusion in teacher education programmes by raising future teachers' awareness of the problem and their responsibility to overcome it.
Exploring and Promoting Ecological Consciousness in Teacher Education: the Possibilities of Educational Action Research in Education for Sustainable Development
The paper reports on the findings of a qualitative study with 39 first year students of pre-school and primary school teacher education programmes who are taking an educational action research based study course "Environmental Pedagogy". The study aimed at engaging the students in reflection on their experiences of interaction with nature and uncovering their views on ecological consciousness. Qualitative content analysis sought emergent themes in students' reflections. A conceptual framework was identified containing three frames of reference: (1) inclusion-oriented frame of reference; (2) exclusion-determining frame of reference and (3) solution-oriented frame of reference. Conclusions were drawn about the possibilities of educational action research to encourage students' reflection on ecological consciousness and building sustainable and inclusive relationships with the world.
Educational Action Research for Sustainability: Seeking Wisdom of Insight in Teacher Education
The article presents experience from educational action research in teacher education, which was obtained by conducting an investigation with first year students during the first semester of their studies. The aim of this action research is focused on the concept of phronesis, which was theoretically substantiated by Aristotle and further elaborated by several contemporary scholars. The article emphasises the need to recognise different kinds of action research.
This study focuses on the investigation of specific characteristics of phronetic processes. The content of our educational action research is people's attitudes towards own and other species. It was considered a tool for investigating the research aim, which is to develop the ability to find wisdom of insight in phronesis. Three stages of prhonesis (A, B and C) can be distinguished in this educational action research. This article reflects the organisation of action research and evaluates the use of communicative space at the initial stage of research from the perspective of researchers and research participants. The article also contains evaluation of research outcomes concerning the extension of communication discourse and the evaluation of experiences regarding attitudes towards own and other species in various contexts. Finally, the article proposes a brief review of tendencies that reflect changes in the research participant opinions. Discussion and conclusions reflect the specific features of phronetically-oriented action research. The article presents the first experience from phronetically-oriented action research and seeks conditions for promoting wisdom of insight (phronetic skills) in communication and through discourse.
Children’s social exclusion in the classroom is a threat to the sustainability of education. Teachers should be sensitised to this issue, which raises important implications for teacher education. This paper reports on an action research study in the context of pre-service teacher education aimed at enriching prospective early childhood educators’ perspectives on children’s social exclusion in the classroom and heightening their awareness of themselves as key figures in reducing it. A teacher capable of dealing with children’s social exclusion was the focus of investigation. The students engaged in envisioning through negotiation of meaning in written critical discourse with peers in an e-learning environment (google.docs spreadsheet). Qualitative content analysis of students’ writings suggests viewing pre-service teachers’ professional development towards readiness to address children’s social exclusion in the classroom as movement along a continuum. The study also implies that the performed action research was transformative in that it contributed to a heightened awareness of children’s social exclusion in the classroom among prospective early childhood educators and their awakened commitment to become teachers capable of addressing this problem.
Inga Gedžūne, Ginta Gedžūne, Astrīda Skrinda and Ilona Mičule
Educational Action Research to Generate Ecological Wisdom of Insight for Inclusion and Sustainability
This study relates the experience of educational action research with pre-service teachers aimed at exploring their views on ecological identity, which is considered the basis for a person's life activity, and its orientation towards inclusion in or exclusion from the global community of life. Through gradual opening of communicative space and participation in critical discourse, research participants became involved in the cycles of reflection on their experiences of interaction with the social and natural world to reveal the features of individual and collective ecological identity that they consider most characteristic for themselves and their community. The present study describes how, through exploration of ecological identity which was found to have four dimensions (cognitive, affective, axiological and conative) as well as a clearly perceived orientation towards apprehended belonging to the community of life and its support system, the participants of educational action research engaged in the process of generating ecological wisdom of insight for sustainability (person's inclusion in the living world based on inclusive interrelations with the global community of life and its support system). We argue that it is a wisdom that pre-service teachers need so as to be able to help their pupils become responsible members of the community of life and actors of change for a sustainable future.