University of Lapland, Finland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
University of Lapland, Finland (Kaarina.Maatta@ulapland.fi)
University of Lapland, Finland (Satu.Uusiautti@ulapland.fi)
In Finland, environmental education is a part of the national core curriculum of basic education. It aims at raising children into citizens who are committed to a sustainable lifestyle and motivated to act for the environmental and human well-being. The purpose of this research was to study how the themes of sustainable lifestyle added in teaching influence students’ attitudes toward sustainable development and lifestyle. The study was an action research in which 16 ninth-graders, who study in a special education classroom, participated. The research data comprised the initial and final measurement and the five-week-long teaching period that included lessons introducing the sustainable lifestyle, morning opening speeches, and small theme projects. During the study, a teaching experiment was created and it served as a model of how to include themes of sustainable lifestyle in education as a cross-curricula theme. Based on the findings, the teaching period enhanced students’ awareness of the concept of sustainable lifestyle although their appreciation of some sustainable lifestyle areas increased and some decreased. The study showed how challenging it is to aim at enhancing students’ appreciation of sustainable lifestyles through learning contents of sustainable development and environmental education in special education. The most functional teaching methods were interactional and communal activities.
Keywords: environmental education; sustainable development; teaching experiment; special education; sustainable lifestyle; sustainability