Roots and Shoots: Building Bridges between Schools and Their Communities
1.1. Place-Based Education as an Educational Approach
1.2. The Benefits of the Place-Based Education
1.3. Program Roots and Shoots
- What are the benefits of the RaS program for the participating students? Specifically, how (from both students’ and teachers’ perspective) did the program develop the students’ empowerment?
- How did the students’ cooperation with the other project partners work? Specifically, what challenges emerged from students’ interaction with community, teachers, and other students in the program?
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Research Approach
2.3. Instruments and Data Collection
2.4. Data Analyses
3.1. Program Implementation
The project is very well organized and structured. It has a potential to attract many schools and smart groups of students. It is an opportunity to influence our surrounding environment by a small change.(Teacher, group E)
3.2. Students’ Cooperation with the Other Stakeholders
3.2.1. Student-Community Interaction
“It is sad, they (the homeless people) have it sad…” (student 4); “And some of them did it to themselves…” (student 3); “And if you give them accommodation, they will destroy it…”; “They (the municipality) should build something for them. To have somewhere to stay—but there, further away from us.”(Student 1)
“Well, the mayor, I do not want to say that he disappointed us, but I will speak honestly (…). He promised his help, that if we need to hire some workers or a car, it would be available, but he has not met with us up to this moment. We invited him to our presentation but—not that he refused—but he said at the very last moment that he had other obligations, so he has not been in touch with the children.”(Teacher, group F).
3.2.2. Student-Teacher Interaction
“No one suggested it to us, it was us who wanted to renovate the park. When we were walking there, we could see that there were not really good people there, there were drugs on the ground and such (…). The teachers asked us who wanted to help with the project and who did not, and there were some of us who wanted to and some who did not.”(Student 1, group E)
Student 1 (school A): “And our teacher told us that the bench would be around a tree and would have no backrests, but most of us wanted to have it with backrests, so as not to have to lean on the tree.”
Interviewer: “And how did it go? How was the selection of the bench worked out?”
Student 1: “Well, according to our teacher…The boys were angry but then they accepted it.”
3.2.3. Interaction with Un-Involved Students and Teachers
“Those from our class who were not in the team told us it definitely would not succeed.”(student 1, group A)
“We ignored them, we knew it would be good.”(Student 3, group A)
“they see how incredibly busy we are at times, that we organize things, we make phone calls, and whatever else is needed—and everyone has a natural preference to have holy peace…”(Teacher, group F)
3.3. The Benefits of the Program
3.3.1. Developing Students’ Empowerment
“They taught us to trust in our goal and prove to other people that we can manage our ideas.”(Student 1, group A)
“(…) that we can improve our environment and that we can be proud of this.”(Student 2, group D)
Interviewer: “When you met with the local representatives, how did they respond to your proposals?”
Student 1, group E: “We were talking about this serious thing really as adults.”
Student 5, group E: “They were sitting (…), and we were standing and presenting. And they supported us.”
3.3.2. Other Benefits for Students’ Competence for Sustainability
“Speaking with fire fighters, defending their project against unfamiliar people, so I believe they increased their self-confidence, that they are able to manage something.”(Teacher H)
“I guess we learned how it works in the adults’ world, that we cannot do whatever we want (…) we had to learn write letters, address people, and raise money. One of the most important things we learned was to communicate with authorities.”(Student 1, school C)
“(We learned) that it is important not to resign, even if someone tell us that we fail or if someone destroys our work, so we must go on and try to re-decorate what was destroyed.”(Student 3, group D)
4.1. The Limits and Challenges of the Participative Approach
4.2. Linking Schools with the Real Local Issues
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Perceived Participation
- Whenever I wanted, I could suggest in our project what we should do and what problem to solve in our project.
- As students, we could promote our ideas in our project, even if our teacher did not initially like them.
- Every student could openly say his/her opinion in the project even if our teacher disagreed much with it.
- Every student might suggest in the project how we should best implement our planned tasks.
- Every student could in the project evaluate what we did well and what not.
- Together with all of the students in our class, we decided if our work was good or not.
- Anytime in the project I could decide to what part of the project I would be involved.
Appendix B. Students’ Ability to Identify and Solve Local Sustainability Issue
- What could you do for such a change?
- How much can you influence this change to happen? (1–5).
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Cincera, J.; Gallayova, Z.; Kuciakova, S.; Goldman, D. Roots and Shoots: Building Bridges between Schools and Their Communities. Sustainability 2021, 13, 12543. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212543
Cincera J, Gallayova Z, Kuciakova S, Goldman D. Roots and Shoots: Building Bridges between Schools and Their Communities. Sustainability. 2021; 13(22):12543. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212543Chicago/Turabian Style
Cincera, Jan, Zuzana Gallayova, Simona Kuciakova, and Daphne Goldman. 2021. "Roots and Shoots: Building Bridges between Schools and Their Communities" Sustainability 13, no. 22: 12543. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212543