Examination of middle school students' perceptions of including democratic practices in an environmental service-learning project
Stocco, Eileen Anne
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The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to gather data on middle school students' perceptions of including democratic practices in an environmental service-learning project. The study explored students' perceptions of their inclusion in helping plan curriculum and student participation in civic engagement. Seventh grade students' perceptions of the personal benefits gained due to their participation in the environmental service-learning project were explored. Additionally, the study investigated students' perceptions of benefits to the local community due to students' participation in the project.Utilizing democratic practices in the classroom plays a critical role in supporting a democratic education; therefore, students were provided with the opportunity to be engaged in two democratic practices in a classroom project that also used curriculum integration in an environmentally-based situation. This study was based on the ideas underpinning democratic education and the work of Dewey and Beane as well as curriculum integration and the work of Apple and Beane, Drake, Fogarty, Hayes-Jacobs, and Pate, Homestead and McGinnis. This study focused on utilizing environmental education and service-learning as a vehicle for executing an integrated curriculum that fosters a democratic education.