Education for Sustainability: Developing Ecocritical Literature Circles in the Student Teacher Classroom

Open access

Abstract

How can student-teachers learn efficient ways to encourage sustainability thinking in their pupils and fulfil the competence aims on sustainability outlined in national subject curriculums as a response to UNESCO’s programme on Education for Sustainable Development, ESD? The core hypothesis of this project was that tailored literature circles, focused on the ecocritical aspects of literary texts, would make student-teachers aware of how they can use literature as a process to reflect on sustainability. This would enable them to incorporate sustainability thinking into their own teaching practices.

The project’s tailoring of the standard literature circle roles (Daniels 1994, 2002, 2006) involved the design of reading roles that highlighted ecocritical and generic aspects of the studied texts and the application of an analytical matrix developed by literary scholars researching the representation of nature in children’s and young adult literature. This article presents the results of a small-scale study testing the ecocritical literature circles approach and its impact on student-teachers’ conception of their own ability to meet the competence aims on sustainability in their teaching. The intervention included lectures on ecocriticism and on the posthuman debate prior to the literature circles and student feedback through pre- and post-circle questionnaires. It was implemented in the teacher-training classroom, working with dystopian science fiction texts for young adults. These texts present the reader with visions of the future. The study showed that the ecocritical literature circles, and in particular the ecocritical reading roles, were considered useful by the participating student-teachers. The participants also reported a significant increase in confidence relative to their own ability to discuss sustainability issues with their pupils.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Barone D. (2013). Tweaking literature circles: A: Las Vegas schoolteacher aces the common Core. Reading Today. December 2013 online /January 2014.

  • Boellstorff T. (2015). Coming of age in Second Life: An anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Braidotti R. (2013). The posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Braun V. & Clarke V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology3(2) 77–101.

  • Cebrián G. & Junyent M. (2015). Competencies in education for sustainable development: Exploring the student-teachers’ views. Sustainability7(3) 2768–2786.

  • Collins S. (2008). The hunger games. London: Scholastic.

  • Daniels H. (1994). Literature circles: Voice and choice in the student-centred classroom. Portland ME: Stenhouse.

  • Daniels H. (2002). Literature circles: Voice and choice in book clubs and reading groups. (2nd Ed.). Portland ME: Stenhouse.

  • Daniels H. (2006). What’s the next big thing with literature circles? Voices from the Middle13(4) 10–15.

  • Devick-Fry J. & LeSage T. (2010). Science literacy circles: Big ideas about science. Science Activities: Classroom Projects and Curriculum Ideas47(2) 35–40.

  • Garrard G. (2012). Ecocriticism. New York: Routledge.

  • Glotfelty C. & Fromm H. (Eds.). (1996). The ecocriticism reader. Landmarks in literary ecology. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

  • Goga N. Guanio-Uluru L. Hallås B. O. & Nyrnes A. (Eds.). (2018). Ecocritical perspectives on children’s texts and cultures: Nordic dialogues. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Haraway D. (1991). A cyborg manifesto: Science technology and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century. Simians cyborgs and women: The reinvention of nature. Routledge 149–81.

  • Haraway D. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.

  • Haraway D. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making king in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press.

  • Hayles N. K. (1999). How we became posthuman. Virtual bodies in cybernetics literature and informatics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

  • Heise U. (2016). Imagining extinction: The cultural meanings of endangered species. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

  • Hintz C. & Ostry E. (2003). Utopian and dystopian writing for children and young adults. London: Routledge.

  • Iliško D. Olehnoviča E. Ostrovska I. Akmene V. & Salīte I. (2017). Meeting the challenges of ESD competency ñ based curriculum in a vocational school setting. Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education8(2) 103–113.

  • Leicht A. Heiss J. & Byun W. J. (Eds). (2018). Issues and trends in Education for Sustainable Development. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000261445

  • Massey G. & Bradford C. (2011). Children as ecocitizens: Ecocriticism and environmental texts. In K. Mallan & C. Bradford (Eds.). Contemporary children’s literature and film: Engaging with theory (pp. 208–217). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • McCall A. L. (2010). Teaching powerful social studies Ideas through literature circles. Social Studies101(4) 152–159.

  • Mehrparvar F. & Karimnia A. (2018). Second language teaching effectiveness from the perspective of university students: A case study of departments of applied linguistics. Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education9(1) 64–78.

  • Miller L. Kucan L. & Dass M. (2007). Literature circles roles for science vocabulary. The Science Teacher 74 52–54.

  • Morton T. (2007). Ecology without nature: Rethinking environmental aesthetics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  • Noll E. (1994). Social issues and literature circles with adolescents. Journal of Reading38(2) 88–93.

  • Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. (2016 June). Framework plan for primary and lower secondary teacher education. Retrieved from: https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/fbaf26939bbd40abacba73e34a95d2fc/forskrift-omrammeplan-for-grunnskolelarerutdanning-for-trinn-1-7.pdf

  • Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. (2016 November). Proposal for Renewal and Improvement of School Subjects. Retrieved from https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/proposal-for-renewal-and-improvement-of-school-subjects/id2483423/

  • Peralta-Nash C. & Dutch J. A. (2000). Literature circles: Creating an environment for choice. Primary Voices K-6 8.4 29–37.

  • Straits W. & Nicolls S. (2006). Literature circles for science. National Science Teacher Association Web News October 30th. Retrieved from http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=52824

  • Rizzo S. (2011). Developing dynamic classroom interaction through reading circles. AUC TESOL Journal. Retrieved from https://www3.aucegypt.edu/auctesol/Default.aspx?issueid=dc82a931-ec50-4ac8-98a3-4878b73f0399&aid=d03ca6d6-4242-4325-a79f-f39ceff31918

  • Rousseau J. J. (2010 [1762]). Emile (Collected writing of Rousseau). Edited by C. Kelly. Translated by Kelly C. and A. Bloom. New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press.

  • UNESCO. (2017). Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002474/247444e.pdf

  • UN. (1987). Our Common Future. Retrieved from http://www.un-documents.net/ocf-02.htm#I

  • UN. (2018). The Sustainable Development Goals Report. Retrieved from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/files/report/2018/TheSustainableDevelopmentGoalsReport2018.pdf

  • Westerfield S. (2012 [2005]). Uglies. New York: Simon and Schuster.

  • Wilfong L. G. (2009). Textmasters: Bringing literature circles to textbook reading across the curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy53(2) 164–171.

  • Wolfe C. (2010). What is posthumanism? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 269 269 76
PDF Downloads 185 185 32