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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Co-producing Curricula: Young People’s Lived Experience of School-linked Practical Conservation and Citizen Science
Author(s): Ruck, Andrew
Supervisor(s): Mannion, Gregory
Hennessy, Alison
Keywords: environmental education
citizen science
new materialisms
Issue Date: 2-Aug-2019
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis explores young people’s lived experience of the Polli:Nation project – a UK-wide, school-linked environmental education initiative engaging young people in the creation and monitoring of pollinator-friendly habitats in their school grounds. Two inter-connected aims run through this research: firstly, to explore the “curriculum making” processes enabled by young people’s participation in Polli:Nation activities and, secondly, to gain young people’s own perspectives on the significant activities and features within the project. A qualitative and broadly ethnographic study, this research began with participant-observation in twelve schools participating in Polli:Nation. Twenty focus groups were then carried out with participating pupils. All data were analysed primarily using Situational Analysis. Drawing upon new materialist theories, this thesis highlights a unique approach that served to re-orient these methods, creating a unique “research assemblage”. It also, however, reflects upon the challenges that emerged when attempting to accommodate the ontological shifts demanded by these theories. Four overarching findings are drawn from this research. Firstly, Polli:Nation demonstrated the value of “co-produced” curricula that bring together people and organisations from outside the school system, more-than-human elements, and young people themselves. Secondly, young people valued the informality that characterised participation in practical conservation and citizen science, even as these were brought into formal education contexts. Thirdly, whilst the project was framed by a somewhat anthropocentric “stewardship” perspective, young people’s lived experience indicated a form of “collective thinking” with other species that appeared to stem from practical tasks, contingent moments, and encounters with other species. Finally, using methods sensitive to new materialist theories demonstrated that key features within Polli:Nation identified by young people gained greater importance from their relations with other such features. While pointing to the highly situated nature of young people’s experience of the project, these relations also highlight the synergies that were created when these features were combined.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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