Community Problem Solving

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Introduction
This module introduces Community Problem Solving as a teaching and learning strategy. As such, it is the 'practical' application module that builds on the ideas for citizenship education developed in Module 7. It also draws on the ideas about experiential, enquiry and values education, Future Problem Solving and learning outside the classroom in other modules. Community Problem Solving provides students with an opportunity to practice the skills that are needed to participate in finding solutions to the local issues that concern them. This helps to develop the important citizenship objectives of learning for a sustainable future and integrates skills - for both students and teachers - of using experiential and enquiry-based strategies. It also integrates skills in the planning of values clarification and values analysis with the possible solutions so students can take action to help achieve a sustainable future.

Objectives
To develop an understanding of Community Problem Solving, especially as it may be used in education for sustainable futures. To identify the skills students need to participate in Community Problem Solving. To explore questions and issues that may be encountered when teaching through Community Problem Solving. To identify teaching and learning strategies that may be used as part of a Community Problem Solving project.

Activities
1. Local concerns 2. What is Community Problem Solving? 3. Developing students' skills 4. Planning to use Community Problem Solving 5. Reflection

References
_____ (n.d.) Active Citizenship Today: Field Guide for Teachers, Close Up Foundation, Alexandria VA, USA. Bardwell, L., Monroe, M. and Tudor, M. (1994) Environmental Problem Solving: Theory, Practice and Possibilities in Environmental Education, North American Association for Environmental Education, Troy, Ohio. Bull, J., Cromwell, M., Cwikiel, W., Di Chiro, G., Guarina, J., Rathje, R., Stapp, W., Wals, A., and Youngquist, M. (1988) Education in Action: A Community Problem Solving Program for Schools, Thomson-Shore, Dexter, Michigan. Hungerford, H. et al. (1988) Investigating and Evaluating Environmental Issues and Actions: Skill Development Modules, Stripes Publishing Company, USA. Jensen, B.B. and Schnack, K. (1997) The action competence approach in environmental education, Environmental Education Research, 3(2), pp. 162-178. OECD (1995) Environmental Education for the 21st Century, OECD, Paris. Stapp, W. B., and Wals, A.E.J. (1994) An Action Research Approach to Environmental Problem Solving, in Bardwell, L., Monroe, M. and Tudor, M. (1994) Environmental Problem Solving: Theory, Practice and Possibilities in Environmental Education, North American Association for Environmental Education, Troy, Ohio. Stapp, W., Wals, A. and Stankorb, S. (eds) (1996) Environmental Education for Empowerment, Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque. Wals, A.E.J. (1996) Back-alley sustainability and the role of environmental education, Local Environment, 1(3), pp. 299-316.

Internet Sites
Earth Force Youth Action Programme e-teen Youth Ventures On the Line - The Countries of The Greenwich Meridan Points of Light Youth Action Programme

Credits
This module was written for UNESCO by Bernard Cox, Margaret Calder and John Fien from material and activities originally written by Eureta Janse van Rensburg and Debbie Heck in Learning for a Sustainable Environment (UNESCO - ACEID).

Activity 1: Local concerns

Begin by opening your learning journal for this activity.

What would your community look like if it were on course to a sustainable future? Would there be: A clean and safe environment? A diverse and vibrant economy? Good housing for everyone? People who respect and support each other? Celebrations of cultural, historical and natural heritage? Co-operation and power-sharing between citizens and government? Affordable health care for everyone? Good schools?

These are all features of a healthy and sustainable community....
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