Mental Ownership and Participation for Innovation in Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development

  • Søren Breiting

What specific qualities make participation genuine, and how do they link with a democratic view of education, cooperation, and empowerment? This chapter explores these themes, linking reflections on existing theoretical perspectives on the ‘ownership of participation’ with professional experience on educational development initiatives in a number of countries around the world (mainly Thailand, Namibia, and Denmark). In particular, the chapter argues that while the process of developing ‘mental ownership’ is a neglected aspect of successful participatory approaches in development efforts as well as in education, there is good reason to consider the hypothesis that the level of mental ownership that a participatory initiative is able to generate among participants, corresponds with the experienced quality of the participatory approach. In so doing, the chapter discusses the potential value of generating mental ownership in participation for improving the quality of different approaches to innovation in education, and illustrates wider debates on the need to democratise environmental education and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and whether educational goals should be principally regarded as addressing adaptation or emancipation (e.g. Hellesnes 1982).

Keywords mental ownership, psychological ownership, environmental education, action-competence models


Environmental Education Participatory Approach Action Researcher Head Teacher Reflective Practitioner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Søren Breiting
    • 1
  1. 1.Danish School of EducationUniversity of AarhusCopenhagenDenmark

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