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  • Floriaan Tops

The Ghost of Sustainability Education

The Laptop model on sustainability education through outdoor theatre.

The purpose of this study is to obtain information from a case to shed light on the potential contribution of theatre and Outdoor Education to Sustainability education. Making the transition towards a sustainable world has been labelled as urgent for many decades now. The role of education in this process has been written out multiple times, in various ways. Despite these intentions of transitioning to a more sustainable way of living, literature shows that a satisfactory result has not been obtained yet. The sustainability crisis is a complex problem, and no easy solutions are at hand. Theatre and outdoor education have both different ways of contributing to learning. In this study, experts from both fields, with teachers as education experts, share their ideas and views on what sustainability education is, and how theatre and outdoor education can help to reach the goals it aims at. Experts from theatre, outdoor education, and primary education, are brought together in this study. They all share the experience of an outdoor theatre project aimed at children called ‘Spöket på Lillklobb / Lillklobbin kummitus’. The experts participating in this research were either part of creating this project or participating in it with a group of children under their responsibility. By organising a focus group discussion, the views and ideas of the experts related to the research questions are gathered. This data has then been subject to a thematic analysis. This thematic analysis resulted in the developing of a model for sustainability education: The Laptop model. This model represents the three main themes of sustainability education: the cognitive aspect, the social- and emotional aspect, and the aspect of actions. There are several ways in which theatre and outdoor education can contribute to sustainability education, as presented by the Laptop model. Most importantly, both theatre and outdoor education should be seen as an experience. It is the fact that the children have ‘an experience’ that makes it most valuable. Outdoor theatre is found to contribute holistically to the Laptop model, and make the different parts of the model to interrelate.


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