Education for sustainable development in the senior Earth and Environmental Science syllabus in Queensland, Australia

Tomas, Louisa, Mills, Reece, Rigano, Donna, and Sandhu, Maryam (2020) Education for sustainable development in the senior Earth and Environmental Science syllabus in Queensland, Australia. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 36 (1). pp. 44-62.

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In Queensland, Australia, a new senior Earth and Environmental Science (EES) syllabus has been approved for first implementation in 2019. Given the natural alignment between EES and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), this study employs document analysis to investigate the extent to which the intended curriculum reflects the tenets of ESD. An exploratory content analysis examined the frequency of keywords to identify any prominent sustainability themes that might underpin the syllabus, while a curriculum key guided a deeper analysis according to four tenets of ESD: Learning content; Pedagogy and learning environments; Societal transformation; and Learning Outcomes. These analyses found that the ESD tenets reflected in the syllabus is limited chiefly to sustainability learning content, while broader notions of ESD, like the promotion of transformative learning, are marginalized or absent. Instead, the syllabus reflects a technical orientation to curriculum, underpinned by a neoliberal agenda. It is argued that the Queensland EES syllabus represents a missed opportunity to engage students with ESD. In a policy climate where achievement and accountability dominate educational discourse, there is an inherent risk that ESD will fall by the wayside, given it is not prioritized in the intended curriculum. Implications for curriculum development are also discussed.

Item ID: 56620
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2049-775X
Keywords: education for sustainable development; Earth and environmental science; curriculum analysis; senior schooling
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press
Funders: Advance Queensland Women's Maternity Fund Grant
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2019 00:03
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390102 Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development @ 50%
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390113 Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930301 Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum @ 100%
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