Democratic and participatory citizenship: youth action for sustainability in Australia

Deborah Jan Henderson, Elizabeth Joan Tudball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of recent examples of action competence among young people engaged in democratic participatory action in sustainability programs in Australia. It explores examples of priorities identified for citizen action, the forms this action takes and the ways that democratic participation can achieve positive outcomes for future sustainability. It suggests multiple ways for developing action competence that provides further opportunities for authentic and engaging citizen action for youth connected to school- and community-based learning, in new and powerful ways.
Design/methodology/approach – This conceptual paper examines international literature on the theory of “action competence,” its significance for education for sustainability (EfS) and the ways it can inform education for young people’s democratic participatory citizenship and civic engagement.
It analyses examples of the development of action competency among young people in Australia, including the problems and priorities identified for citizen action, the forms this action takes and how it can achieve positive outcomes for sustainability. Following this analysis, the paper suggests multiple ways for developing action competence in EfS in schools and communities in new and powerful ways.
Findings – Developing EfS to increase democratic and participatory action among young citizens is now widely regarded as an urgent education priority. There are growing exemplars of school and community organizations’ involvement in developing EfS learning and teaching to increase participatory citizenship. Young people are being empowered to develop a greater sense of agency through involvement in programs that develop action competence with a focus on sustainability in and out of school. New forms of participation include student action teams and peer collaboration among youth who are marshaling social media and direction action to achieve change.
Originality/value – It contributes to the literature on multiple ways for developing action competence in EfS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5 - 19
Number of pages15
JournalAsian Education and Development Studies
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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