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Evaluation of impact of extra curricular activities on active citizenship education: Focus on ECO School-Project

MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY Ankara, TURKEY

Primary private school students attending ODTÜ/METU GELİŞTİRME VAKFI ÖZEL İLKÖĞRETİM school in Ankara. The school is a foundation school on METU campus.

Project Team:

Hanife AKAR, Ali YILDIRIM, Esma EMMIOGLU, Filiz KESER

Abstract/Summary:

This study involves an elaborated description of a micro dimension €œECO SCHOOL in the Project €œEVALUATION OF IMPACT OF EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ON ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION. This study attempts to answer whether values of active citizenship, with specific emphasis on respect for nature and the life on earth, can be acquired for lifelong practices through formal education as an extra-curricular academic agenda. Participants were the teachers and the students at the Foundation Primary School at METU. Data were collected through qualitative methods. Findings indicate that primary school children internalized the importance of protecting and maintaining the ecological environment not only by personal efforts, but also through inspiring their classmates, peers, and others to work with them.

Rationale/Background:

There is a growing international consensus on the importance of citizenship and human rights education as means to raise consciousness about these values and promote a democratic culture. Although some drawbacks in practice, Turkey has taken an important step by formulating its National Plan of Action in citizenship and human rights education in 1999 and introduced Citizenship and Human Rights Education courses in all primary and this gained especially importance with the Copenhagen Criteria. The METU Development Foundation School integrated several extra-curricular activities within the academic agenda. This study attempts to answer whether values of citizenship and human rights can be acquired for lifelong practices through formal education; and to evaluate extra-curricular activities with a focus on Active Citizenship Training utilized through a case study. The activities conducted are rooted in several projects such as “Guidance Hours,” Sharing Hours, €œThe Civilization Bridge, €œThe Sea and the Internet,€ and Echo Schools€ activities. This presentation focuses on Eco Schools or EKO Okullar.€ The ultimate aim is to build environmental awareness, environmental management, seek ways for providing sustainable development of students€™ ecological environment.

Target Group and Context:

Primary private school students attending ODTÜ/METU GELRME VAKFI ÖZELLKRETM school in Ankara. The school is a foundation school on METU campus.

Objectives:

  • <b>Eco School project objectives are based on the following OATH:</b>
  • Refuse unconditionally of egoism, violence and indifference commencing with our closest proximity and relations
  • Protect natural life and resources
  • Fight undauntedly for the colorful and lovely future;
  • Transfer this conscious to the next generations
  • Enlarge the buckles of this chain of love by hand-to-hand

Informal Learning Activities:

Values we are losing: ENDANGERED SPECIES our: birds, “underwater organisms,and plants.

Activity 1: “Yanardner or Centazurea Tchihatcheffi project: Yanardner flower is a wild flower that only lives in the edges of Glba Ankara lake area. However, they are almost extinct. In collaboration with the METU Biology Department, the METU Foundation Primary school contributed to the maintenance through planting and caring of this precious flower on campus.

2006-2007 Eco School festival

Activity 2: In line with the ECO PRINCIPLE, the students protect their environment and contribute to environmental awareness building through organizing a festival: preparing leaflets, pamphlets, slogans, and practically enforcing their friends, parents, siblings, neighbors, and others live respectfully with their ecological environment.

 

Evaluation:

  • <b>Multiple data collection means were utilized to collect data:</b>
  • Document analysis of students work and concept maps
  • Observations
  • Interview with teachers/students
  • <b>The leading questions we focused on were:</b>
  • What is the purpose of this activity?
  • What did you learn in the end?
  • How do you think this activity will contribute to your social life as a citizen?
  • To what extent do you reflect issues you learned in your real life?
  • What does Active citizenship mean to you?

Results:

Findings can be summarized as follows: The METU foundation school was able to establish the following competencies through utilizing extra curricular activities in their academic agenda: Students

develop communication skills to build a positive relationship with their environment and the community. (distant understanding)

Try hard to become a good and responsible citizen through respect the nature and the environment overall.

are likely to cooperate within a team work to enhance at least the maintenance of the natural values in their community. Ultimately, this may contribute to the ecology globally.

select a topic collaboratively and seek resources and ways to deal with an environmental issue. In this case they applied to experts to help them guide in the planting of the YANARDÖNER that is endangered.

build empathy via sharing their ecological knowledge with their community, and enforcing the maintenance of a clean and healthy environment through modeling as well as kindly warning the community.

We can conclude that extra- curricular activities may be effective in the development of active citizenship. Especially, activities that are undertaken as project work motivate the students as they contribute to the decision-making process and students take ownership of their learning. Although, it may be too soon to conclude, data reveal that the students will be actively involved to transfer their experiences and knowledge in the protection and sustainability of the ecological environment as responsible active citizens.