WTA Education Services

Connecting Local to Global


WTA staff were part of the research team in this year-long project. This extract from the report by the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) Good Practices in Teacher Education Institutions includes a short paper on the project (pages 17-22). The introduction is included below:


Click here to request an e-copy of the report.

ESRC Listening to Children project

Good Practices in Teacher Education Institutions

For the University of Bath


3. ESD: Bringing Students' Community Experience into Schools


William Scott, Elisabeth Barratt Hacking & Robert Barratt (University of Bath, UK)



Researchers at the  University of Bath recently led a project funded by the United Kingdom's Economic   and   Social    Science   Research   Council    ESRC),   "Listening   to   Children­ Environmental Perspectives and the School  Curriculum."  This one-year, participatory action research project was conducted in partnership with teachers, 11- to12-year-old school children, and community representatives.

The setting was a secondary school with students aged 11 to 19 years serving an urban community on the edge of a large metropolitan area in England. This area exhibits the sorts of social, economic, environmental, and educational challenges that many urban communities in developed  economies  face,  for  example,  unemployment  and  associated  social/cultural deprivation, street crime, old/decaying building stock, and derelict land. These conditions raise concerns about the effect such environments have on youth.

Teachers and administrators of the secondary school recognize  the need to involve local people in  helping the school to improve.   This might include improvements in its students' achievements,   curriculum,   and  the  campus   and  its  contribution  to  local  community development. The L2C project provided an opportunity for the school to work in partnership with parents, children, and local volunteers to develop a curriculum  that relates at the same time to Educating  for  Sustainable  Development  (ESD)  and to citizenship.  For   12 months, the researchers (including child-researchers) studied children's local  environmental perspectives. The   focus was  on how children  perceive their  surroundings  and act within  their   local environment and community. The researchers  also examined how children make sense of their surroundings in relation to their lives and to the school curriculum, and how schools might help children incorporate local environmental perspectives into their curriculum experience.

The study highlights the desire young people have for schools to address community issues within the curriculum and for schools to play a much more significant role in community development. lt critically explores the conditions necessary for children to be fully involved in developing a community-related school curriculum. The study also illustrates the potential such work has to contribute to ESD and to the promotion of local environmental citizenship.

The report from which the extract is taken: Good Practices in Teacher Education Institutions, UNESCO Education Sector 2007

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Website updated October 2014.

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