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Consumer Literacy in schools

Scholar Year: 2023/2024 - 2S

Code: SIESE13    Acronym: CLS
Section/Department: Communication and Language Sciences


Acronym N. of students Study Plan Curricular year ECTS Contact hours Total Time
SIESE Study_Plan_2016 5,0 60 135,0

Teaching weeks: 15


Maria Alcina Velho Dourado da SilvaHead

Weekly workload

Hours/week T TP P PL L TC E OT OT/PL TPL O S
Type of classes


Type Teacher Classes Hours
Contact hours Totals 1 3,00

Teaching language


Intended learning outcomes (Knowledges, skills and competencies to be developed by the students)

We are all consumers. Citizenship is built with and in all aspects of human life. To be a member of nowadays society is to be able to interact with others, including when making purchase choices. Responsible living implies the ability to collect and understand information before, during and after buying a good or a service. “Voting with your dollar” (or euro) is just one manifestation of the consumer movement. The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 defined the objective 12 – Production and Sustainable Consumption – regarding sustainable development.
However, brands have created a 360º ambiance towards consumption through digital marketing and advertising strategies, green and social washing techniques is a reality, and overconsumption culture is affecting children since the cradle. For instance, climate change menace created ecoanxiety, already recognized as a mental illness by the American Psychology Association which is spreading in a post pandemic era. Is it possible to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your community from over consumption without going off the grid? Others have tried and succeeded, one action at a time. How? What tools can be used?
If you are a teacher or intend to be an active member of an education community, you should take in consideration that consumer education plays an essential role in your students’ lives or will play in their future. This field of education is vast, from financial literacy to health, from food sovereignty to media literacy. So, what can you do in a classroom or outside, in the playground for instance? Getting hands dirty by creating a vegetable garden or spend hours building a MOOC – Massive Online Open Course – on how schools could gamify consumer education? Are there any activities, materials, or examples of good practices that you can apply or adapt? Or even create your own solutions?
In this curricular unit you’ll have the opportunity to visit examples of good practices that are already being done in Portugal, particularly in schools. The focus is addressed to start from the real-world observation towards critical reflection. Also, there will be the opportunity to experiment solutions for formal, non-formal and informal activities aiming students from different school years and subjects by creating your own project In the meantime, we’ll be talking with experts about basic concepts like consumerism, consumption society, marketing, among others.
Specifically it is intended to create a learning environment, based on active approaches from practice to theory in each student should be able to: identify basic concepts, highlighting the rights and duties of the consumer; recognize the effects of individual consumer behavior in a wide range of domains; identify and describe the forms of intervention and mobilization of the citizens; deepen and share the different European realities; encourage the young student consumer to develop critical vision and awareness-raising strategies within their specific academic training, with emphasis on the fields of education and communication; experiment pedagogical activities. Finally, along the classes it’s expected that students develop digital skills, but also problem solving, creativity, organization, collaboration, and critical thinking.


• What are the basic concepts: consumption, consumerism, consumer rights and duties, consumption society, responsible living, consumer education, citizenship, marketing, advertisement, brands.
• What world we are creating: consequences of the consumption society, like climate emergency, social inequalities, consumer movement.
• Where to look for alternatives to consumerist behavior: contact with examples of good practices in formal, non-formal and informal education, like permaculture projects, community currency, climate regeneration.
• A new world is possible: experiment pedagogical activities by exploring alternative approaches to create awareness, critical approach to reality and defend young people from the consumption traps.

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the UC intended learning outcomes

This subject is planned to allow students to understand the main concepts, consequences, and alternatives, establish connections between their own country and daily life realities, put in question consumer practices and to create their own understanding and pathway towards consumer citizenship and education. According to this, pedagogical experimentation is a mean towards students growing understanding of contemporary reality which, not only allows them to develop their skills but also gives them an educational appliance to create an innovative way to spread not only consumerism goals but can be applied to different contexts and topics besides the classroom.

Teaching methodologies

Emphasis on the opportunity to experience and deepen the knowledge of Portuguese reality and alternatives to consumism, especially among schools by taking part in study visits (between 2 and 3 visits, minimum and maximum), followed by the discussion of these realities.
Also, the use of student-centered strategies in an interdisciplinary and active approach to the study of the conspicuous consumption phenomenon, through the analysis and discussion of study cases using diverse documents, such as videos, articles, and tutorials through the Moodle distance learning platform. But also, by participating in seminars with invited guests.
Finally, there will also be an opportunity for sharing the student’s own reality regarding the curricular unit topics. The preferred approach corresponds to the Project-Based Learning (PBL) aiming the research and the development of a proposal for a practical solution addressing schools nowadays challenges towards consumer education implementation. This could take the form of an audiovisual document, advertisement film, gamification, event, MOOC, tutorial, theater performance, digital or onsite exhibition, podcast, website, app, e-book, article, music or by exploring other alternative forms of addressing the chosen topic.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's intended learning outcomes

The subject is divided in two main parts. The first part uses a theoretical-practical approach by which the students are invited to reflect on experts’ testimonials and have experiences on the topics covered, like visiting real implemented initiatives. This approach will help them to select the theme for their pedagogical experimentation to be developed in the second part of the curricular unit. This is taking place in small international groups that are expected to build up their skills along the semester by envisioning a project.

Assessment methodologies and evidences

Students will be assessed throughout the semester through their involvement in the proposed activities beyond the project that they will create, in this case, a practical project per group.
The final evaluation will be distributed as follows:
Participation in the activities (inside and outside classroom, including study visits) - 40%
Group project (proposal of a prototype) - 60%

Attendance system

A minimum of 70% attendance.


Some basic approach:
Carson, R. (1962), Silent Spring, Houghton Miffin.
Klein, N. (1999). No logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, Toronto, Ontario: Vintage Canada.
Leonard, A. (2010). The story of stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet,
Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Change. New York: Free Press.
Schuh, M. (2003), Empowering consumers: educated choices: a manual developed by the CEA - Team: [a handbook of consumer education for adults] / proj. co-ord. Maria Schuh, Pädagogische Akademie des Bundes, Vienna.
Thoresen, V. (2002), Resource handbook for consumer education, The consumer Council of Norway, The Ministry of Children and Family.
Other resources will made available during classes.


There will be some activities outside the classroom that aim the students to know the Portuguese reality concerning consumer education.

Página gerada em: 2024-06-21 às 12:32:42