Investigating the Practice of Sustainability Education at North American Folk Schools
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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The sustainability/DIY/green movement in North America is growing rapidly and folk schools have been a part of it since the beginning. Despite support for the movement, there is little to know research into the connection between organizations that teach sustainability living skills and sustainability education. This study investigated the practice of sustainability education at folk schools across North America. Mission statements from 19 folk schools were analyzed using mixed inductive and deductive coding content analysis to answer the question: as “What are folk schools doing, how are they doing it, in what learning environment, and to whom.” Subsequently, information from 5 websites were analyzed in depth using in depth deductive content analysis with the Cloud Institute standards for Sustainability Education as themes as well as Wordle word clouds and word/phrase frequency generators. Ultimately, the research supports that folk schools are in fact practicing sustainability education and barriers/implications for future research and collaboration are discussed. A new working definition of folk school as well as a folk school directory were created as a final product.