30 SES 09, ESE/ESD in the Formal School system and in Higher Education - results and learning experiences
In classroom discussions, sustainability issues are often complex and difficult for one individual teacher to grasp. Research indicates that teaching in environmental and sustainability education (ESE) is a holistic endeavour (Boeve-de Pauw & Author 2 et al, 2015), which is often described in terms of working with different perspectives and interdisciplinary teaching (Scott & Gough 2003, Wals 2009).
One way of approaching this in a Swedish school practice is for teacher teams, consisting of teachers from different disciplines, to teach sustainability issues to a common group of students. In these teams, science, social science and language teachers work together with their common groups of students on interdisciplinary themes, such as climate change or the development of sustainable cities. This common work is thus conducted from many perspectives (ecological, social and economic) and disciplines. However, there is a risk that some teaching approaches will dominate and that others will be neglected during the thematic work, e.g. that all the teachers in the team focus on conveying factual knowledge and do not offer students opportunities to practice and develop abilities for an enhanced action competence (Schnack 2000).
Knowledge about the teaching traditions in different disciplinary areas like science, social science and language can help multidisciplinary teacher teams to discuss a more common way of approaching their students. These approaches, here called teaching traditions, are developed as a result of teachers’ own teaching experiences and their own ideas about how their subject should be taught.
Three teaching traditions have evolved in ESE in Sweden (Sandell, Öhman et al. 2005): the fact-based tradition, the normative tradition and the pluralistic tradition. In the fact-based tradition, environmental problems are said to be due to a lack of knowledge and can be solved by learning more science. The pedagogical task is therefore to teach students the right and true knowledge. In the normative tradition, environmental issues are primarily a question of values, where people’s lifestyles and their consequences are major threats to the natural world. Increased uncertainty about environmental issues is an important point of departure for the pluralistic tradition. Here, environmental issues are viewed as both moral and political problems. Similar traditions in ESE have been described by Lucie Sauvé (1999) and Andrew Stables (2006).
Knowledge about these teaching traditions are useful in the development of teaching because they act as tacit frameworks for teachers’ selections of content and method (Author 1b & Wickman 2011). Thus, studying teachers from different disciplines is important in order to determine the possible distribution of teaching traditions.
The purpose of the study is to investigate secondary school teachers (13-16y) from different disciplines and investigate through written responses how their teaching traditions relate to ESE.
The research question is:
How do teachers from different disciplines describe their teaching according to different ESE-teaching traditions?
The teaching traditions and the educational aspects related to them can be used as analytical tools in research, e.g. in science education, studies of practical work (Gyllenpalm, Wickman et al. 2010) and to discern the differences in science teachers’ teaching by a written enquiry (Lidar, Karlberg et al. 2017). This study sets out to discern teachers’ teaching traditions by analysing their responses to a written enquiry using analytical questions based on five specific educational aspects (Author 1a 2008, Author 1b & Wickman 2011) 1) Purpose of education - What is the aim of ESE teaching? 2) Teaching relation between school and society - How can the knowledge learned at school be used? 3) Power relation between teacher and student – What role do students play in teaching/education? 4) Ethical starting point in environment or human ethics - Which inter-human relations are established? 5) Relation to nature between human and nature - Why are environmental issues important? Written enquiries have earlier been used to discern teaching traditions (Lidar, Karlberg et al. 2017). Our enquiry questions are based on five educational aspects. A written enquiry consisting of seven open-ended questions relating to these educational aspects was initially sent to nineteen teachers at three different schools. These five aspects have been used several times before in research to discern teaching traditions published in international journals (Author 1b & Wickman, 2011, Author 1c & Wickman, 2011; Author 1d, 2016; Lundqvist & Author 1e, 2016). The educational aspects were originally developed in a review of research literature relating to the main pedagogical aspects of environmental and sustainability education (EE/ESD/EfS) (Author 1a, 2008). Teachers position themselves in educational aspects and through different accounts of their ESE teaching. The positioning in each aspect makes it possible to discern and categorize each teacher into the teaching tradition which in they mainly work within (This is easiest shown with a figure which is not possible to attach in this digital conference tool).
It would appear that science teachers from science are working within all three teaching traditions, whereas social science teachers mainly working within the pluralistic tradition The language teachers in this small sample mostly in the normative tradition. The distribution of teachers’ teaching traditions in the different disciplines as discerned in the teachers’ responses to the written enquiry. (The table beliow is not visible in Conf tool that is the reason to using zeros to correlate the number to each tradition) Discipline Fact tradition Normative tradition Pluralistic tradition Science 3 2 2 Social science 0 0 6 Language 0 4 2 The pluralistic tradition approach, which involves students practising their abilities to form an action competence seems to be used by teachers from all three investigated disciplines. This approach is strongly supported by the new national curriculum. The fact tradition occurs in the science discipline and can be understood as these teachers view on the role of science as a producer of reliable and ‘true’ knowledge. The normative tradition in language teachers responses are often connected to NGO’s and media’s way of communicating the urgency of lifestyle changes. This can be understood as a major and important source of discussing ESE issues in their teaching. Based on the preliminary results, it is apparent that teachers from different disciplines teach differently At the conference, we will be in a position to present the full results, discuss the distribution of teaching traditions for teachers from different disciplines and highlight issues that it need to be considered when forming teacher team. Research on the tacit frameworks guiding ESE teachers and their consequences for the formation of multidisciplinary teacher teams is necessary (Wickman, 2012). The aim of such research would be to guarantee a better environmental and sustainability education that includes facts, attitudes and good opportunities to develop students’ action competence.
Author 1a (2008): [title retracted for anonymity] Author1b, Wickman (2011): [title retracted for anonymity] Author1c, Wickman (2011): [title retracted for anonymity] Author1d (2016): [title retracted for anonymity] Lundqvist, Author 1e (2016) [title retracted for anonymity] Boeve-de Pauw, Author 2a et al (2015): [title retracted for anonymity] Gyllenpalm, J., et al. (2010). "Secondary science teachers' selective traditions and examples of inquiry-oriented approaches." NorDiNa 6(1): 44-60. Lidar, M., et al. (2017). " Teaching Traditions in Science Teachers’ Practices and the Introduction of National Testing." Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research. Sandell, K., et al. (2005). Education for Sustainable Development. Lund, Studentlitteratur. Sauvé, L. (1999). "Environmental Education Between Modernity and Postmodernity." Australian Journal of Environmental Education 12(4): 9-36. Schnack, K. (2000). Action competence as curriculum perspective. Critical Environmental and Health Education. B. B. Jensen, K. Schnack and V. Simovska. Copenhagen, Research Centre for Environmental and Health Education. The Danish University of Education. Publication no 46: 107-126. Scott, W. and S. Gough (2003). Sustainable Development and Learning. London, RoutledgeFalmer. Stables, A. (2006). "Language and Meaning in Environmental Education: an Overview." Environmental Education Research 12(3-4): 327-334. Wals, A. (2009). "A Mid-DESD Review: Key Findings and Ways Forward." Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 3(2): 195-204. Wickman, P.-O. (2012). "How can conceptual schemes change teaching?" Cultural Studies of Science Education 7: 127-136.
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