The project has investigated how action competence for sustainable development can be developed in school and preschool.

The ability to act for sustainability is an educational goal that is emphasized above all in international policy documents but also in steering documents for Swedish schools. Not just "doing" but being able to actively choose one's actions after critical consideration requires skills that need to be practiced. Examining, understanding and evaluating the consequences of different action alternatives and action strategies is one aspect of this. We have researched which documents for sustainability that teachers and preschool teachers perceive as suitable to treat in teaching.

We have chosen to, among other things, focus on educators working within Sweden's largest network for preschools and schools that work with sustainable development, Green Flag. The educators work either as teachers in preschool, primary school or upper secondary school or as Green Flag instructors who carry out training with teachers. Green Flag is part of the world's largest network of schools that work with the environment and sustainability, Eco schools. Green Flag emphasizes action as a means of learning and emphasizes action competence among children, young people and staff as a goal.

A couple of research questions have been:

  • How appropriate do Green Flag teachers and Green Flag instructors consider various documents for sustainable development to be covered in teaching?
  • How do they justify their assessments?

Results have so far been presented to teachers in the region at network meetings at HLK with Green Flag teachers but also at international conferences. Ulrica Stagell is a PhD student in the project.

Degree projects within the project

Ask, Emy och Martinsson, Andrea. Handlingserfarenhet för hållbar utveckling. Vad erbjuder förskolan? 

Ekblom, Mia. och Johansson, Carita (2011). Man är rädd om allting ungefär. Tio förskolebarns uppfattningar om att arbeta med Grön Flagg. Student thesis. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication.

Gustavsson, L. & Larsson, J. (2011). Att undervisa för hållbar utveckling: Sex lärares uppfattningar. External link, opens in new window. Student thesis. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication. 

Ram, E. & Olsson, R. (2014). Beteende och attityder till miljöfrågor i en individualistisk och i en kollektivistisk kultur: En jämförande studie mellan studenter från Jönköping och Quito. Student thesis. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication. 

Publications and presentations

Almers, E. (2009). Handlingskompetens för hållbar utveckling: Tre berättelser om vägen dit. Doctoral thesis. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication.

Almers, E. (2013). Pathways to Action Competence for Sustainability – Six Themes External link, opens in new window.. Journal of Environmental Education, 44(2), p 116-127.

Almers, E. & Wickenberg, P. (2008). Breaking and making norms – Young people’s stories of consumption actions for sustainable development External link, opens in new window.. In Öhman, J. [ed] Values and democracy in education for sustainable development: contributions from Swedish research. Malmö: Liber, p 165-186. 

Stagell, U., Almers, E. & Askerlund, P. (2014). ESD and citizenship in the private and public sphere: Eco-School teachers’ and instructors’ views on actions as teaching content in ESD. Conference paper, presented at the NERA 42nd Congress, Education for Sustainable Development in Lillehammer, Norway, March 5-7, 2014. 

Stagell, U., Almers, E. & Askerlund, P. (2014). Action Competence – a private matter? Conference paper, presented at ECER 2014, The Past, the Present and the Future of Educational Research, University of Porto, Portugal, September 1-5, 2014. 

Stagell, U., Almers, E., Askerlund, P. & Apelqvist, M. (2014). What Kind of Actions are Appropriate? Eco-School Teachers' and Instructors' Ranking of Sustainability-Promoting Actions as Content in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) External link, opens in new window.. International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education, 4(2), p 97-113.