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Browsing by Author "Aalto, Minni"

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  • Aalto, Minni (2019)
    Action competence is defined as an individual’s ability to act on behalf of something. One of the goals of environmental education is to raise citizens that act on behalf of sustainable development. Therefore, action competence is a vital concept in environmental education. Environmental education that seeks to increase learners’ action competence is focused on problem solving and encouraging learners to act as active citizens regarding environmental issues. This concentration on actions and solutions empowers learners towards acting on environmental problems. An individual’s action competence in environmental issues is strong when he or she is aware of his or her ability to act, has a will to act on environmental issues and has confidence in his or her potential influence. The material of this study was collected during June 2018 on science camps called Tulevaisuuden tutkijat. The camps were organized by the Science Education Centre of the University of Helsinki. The study examined how the camp participants experienced their action competence regarding environmental issues. It also studied the camp program that sought to raise their action competence. The goal of the study is to find and introduce themes that should be considered when we want to strengthen action competence in environmental education. These themes help develop environmental education to strengthen the action competence of learners. The material was collected via group interviews (n = 42) and it was analysed by theory-driven qualitative content analysis. The camp participants interviewed in this study had a strong will to act for environmental issues. They also had knowledge of their ability and potential to act though the quality of knowledge varied between the participants more than the will to act. Many of the participants displayed weak confidence in their own potential influence. The campers were interested in acting on behalf of the plastic litter problem, global climate change, conditions of the Baltic Sea, the well-being of animals and pollution. The activities that strengthened the action competence of the camp participants the most were related to collective action. One feature that strengthened action competence was that the influence of the activity was visible and concrete. It was also important that the activities were concentrated on action and developing solutions. As long as the activities emphasized actions and solutions, the negative feelings (e.g. concern) the activity may have caused didn’t affect negatively on action competence. All these features should be considered in the future when planning science camps. If we can strengthen the action competence of children in regard to environmental issues, we can avoid anxiety and passivating children and instead give them the ability and desire to act toward solving environmental issues.