Education for sustainability: a concern of pre-service and in-service teachers

Boon, Helen J. (2014) Education for sustainability: a concern of pre-service and in-service teachers. In: Proceedings of the Joint AARE and NZARE Conference. pp. 1-12. From: AARE-NZARE 2014: Joint AARE and NZARE Conference, 30 November - 4 December 2014, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

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Climate change, an exploding global population and the industrialisation of developing countries, are issues which have important ramifications for the planet's future ecological health, but which have been inconsistently attended to by governments internationally. Economic development to improve living standards has been pursued most ardently by Western industrial nations for the last two hundred years resulting in serious inequalities of access to the world’s resources and contribution to the world's pollution and waste. Such global imbalance is gradually changing with the development of India and China, though these countries' development will further burden the planet and add to the problems of future generations. Education has been cited as humanity's best hope and most effective means to achieve sustainable development. Education for sustainability (EfS) aims to develop future generations so that they have the 'capacity to contribute to a more sustainable future in terms of environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society for present and future generations' (UNESCO Education Sector, 2005, p. 5). While education alone is not sufficient to attend to the burgeoning social and ecological problems resulting from increasing industrialisation, it is an important prerequisite. The role of pre-service teacher education to develop teachers' capacity to deliver EfS is thought to be fundamental for future sustainable development. It has led to this critical literature review which examined the body of peer reviewed literature addressing EfS, for teachers and teaching and pre-service teachers. A systematic literature review resulted in 34 relevant studies centred on three supporting, interlocking strands pertaining to pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and tertiary education approaches. Findings suggest: I. Time needs to be devoted to improve the scientific knowledge of education graduates, with a focus on fighting misconceptions and addressing present controversies, teaching pedagogical content knowledge, and introducing pre-service teachers to practical examples to enable the integration of important topics into specific teaching areas; II. Because professional experience is a fundamental pedagogical experience for pre-service teachers which influences their attitudes and capacities to teach about sustainability, in-service teachers' understanding, knowledge and attitudes to EfS which are currently shown to be far from facilitative, need to be improved through professional development to remove barriers to the successful delivery of EfS by pre-service teachers and newly qualified teachers; III. To support pre-service teachers' attitudes and teaching, instruction must include hands-on field work, active investigations of local environmental problems and a perception of institution-wide vision for EfS.

Item ID: 38082
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISSN: 1324-9320
Keywords: preservice teacher, climate change, education for sustainability, higher education
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Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2015 03:22
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators @ 70%
13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 30%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development @ 100%
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