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The Mutants’ Circle Project Results. Littoral et vie Research Group Université de Moncton Pruneau, D., Doyon, A., Langis, J., Vasseur, L., Ouellet, E., McLaughlin, É., Martin, G. et Boudreau, G., September 2003. The Mutants’ Circle. Project objectives:

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the mutants circle project results

The Mutants’ CircleProject Results

Littoral et vie Research Group

Université de Moncton

Pruneau, D., Doyon, A., Langis, J., Vasseur, L., Ouellet, E., McLaughlin, É., Martin, G. et Boudreau, G., September 2003

the mutants circle
The Mutants’ Circle
  • Project objectives:
    • To train teachers throughout the Atlantic provinces to climate change
    • Build a circle of people helping to mitigate climate change: teachers and students adopting new environmental behaviours
  •  Number of participants:
  • ● Teachers: 300 trained and 52
  • participated in the research
  • ● Students: 1 300 trained and 75 participated in the research
the mutants circle1
The Mutants’ Circle
  • Collaborative Research Objectives:
    • Teachers were asked to try 1-2 environmental behaviour and describe the process of change during their attempts : adopted behaviours, facilitating factors, limiting factors, feelings…

Teachers reflected on the process of change and created their own model for climate change education to use in the classroom.

    • Describe the process of change amongst students trying to adopt new environmental behaviours.
teacher interventions in the classroom
Teacher interventions in the classroom
  • Information and research on climate change
  • Observations and solos in nature
  • Individual and group projects to help the climate or the environment: recycling, picking trash…
  • Discussions during new behaviour trials
  • Writing and presenting a play
  • Reflective journal
  • Continuum
  • Story reading
  • Presentations to younger students
  • Inquiry in school garbage production
  • Songs, etc.
  • Teachers and studentsreduced their consumption of electricity and paper towels, reduced packaging in their lunches, walked more, saved water , etc.
  • Theteachersweremotivated to do so by knowledge building activities, the solo in nature, the continuum, group discussions…
  • Thestudentsdid it to save the earth (animals, trees…), because of the solo and forest walk, because of the perceived consequences of climate change and because it was a group project.
facilitating and limiting factors
Being part of a community of change

Easiness of the chosen behaviour

Using reminders (memos…) or sense of organization to succeed

Family or other person as a role model or encouragement

Lack of time

Difficulty in asserting one’s differences

Family not aware or not convinced or does not approve of the action

Forgetting to do the task

Facilitating and limiting factors
  • Joy, pride, fatigue, relief, impression of being a hero, frustration when unable to convince others, hope, discouragement sometimes, profound desire to convince others…
reflections from teachers
Reflections from teachers
  • Importance of frequent discussions on the new actions with students: reminds them of the actions, encourages those that have not started.
  • Students love to share on what they are doing and this is a good opportunity to listen and encourage them.
  • Difficulties must be worked out as a group. The group finds ways of succeeding.
more reflections from teachers
More reflections from teachers
  • Works best with students with a good self-esteem.
  • Some students said they would keep doing their actions for a long time, others were not sure.
  • Most students were really convinced and engaged, but others did it to please their teacher.
  • The solo, the observation of environmental problems in the field and other affective activities (theatre, songs) motivate to action.
  • It works best when the class decides of the group project to be undertaken
  • Students find very important to help others with their actions (especially adults). This helps them with their own process of change.
  • Importance of reflection (reflective journal).
other elements of their experience
Other elements of their experience
  • Some of them said that trying new actions encouraged them to convince close relatives to do the same
  • The success with their behaviour encouraged them to try other behaviours
  • Living out this type of experience made some participants more conscious of all the gestures that they make and of the environmental impacts of these gestures
new in this research the impact of the course activities
New in this research – The impact of the course activities
  • The solo gave the feeling of being part of nature. This belief certainly played an important role in the participants’ commitment.
  • The continuum activity (the participants positioned themselves and reflected on their own behaviour and to what they can do to help the environment) was significant. This resulted in an awareness which can lead to action.
new findings in this research
Participation in a community highly encourages efforts to succeed the attempts

The community allowed:

an exchange of ideas on what can be done

reinforcement of the idea that individual behaviours can make a difference

to make participants responsible of their engagement to an action because it was made before a group

encourage participants to imitate people after hearing about actions that they do

New findings in this research!
suggestions for the one tonne challenge
Suggestions for the One Tonne Challenge



  • Invite people to try the Challenge in groups of two.
  • Show that Canadians (the Ecosage) have started to take action.
  • Encourage youth to start with easy actions. Plan steps in the One Tonne Challenge.  Example : level 1 : 1 kilogram Challenge; level 2 : 5 kilograms Challenge…
  • Invite people to take action to help a precise element of nature get better air quality: an aunt who is asthmatic…
suggestions for the one tonne challenge1
Suggestions for the One Tonne Challenge



  • Plan regular discussions with the students during their trials: to talk about the advantages of the actions, to share ways to succeed and ways to reduce family barriers, to encourage them and to act as a model for them. Encourage the expression of pride after the actions.
  • Use affective pedagogical activities (solo, outdoor excursions, play, song…) to invite them to take action.
  • Discuss with them on the local consequences of climate change and invite them to predict possible impacts in their own life.
  • Let the students choose their own action.