30 SES 01, Conceptual Work on ESD from a School Improvement Perspective
It has been theoretically suggested that the school organisation is one of the most crucial facilitators of ESD implementation in practice (Birney and Reed 2009; Giles and Hargreaves, 2006; Gough, 2005). However, few studies have investigated ESD implementation in relation to school organisation. In contrast, in school improvement research there is a long tradition of investigating schools at the school organisation level, and many research instruments have been developed for this purpose (Scherp and Scherp 2007). Therefore, this study takes an interdisciplinary approach using a research tool drawn from school improvement research to investigate ESD implementation. The model of school organisation is developed in a Swedish context to investigate school improvement processes. The model is operationalized to a survey instrument and distributed to Swedish upper secondary teachers. The instrument provides empirical indications of teachers' perceptions of their schools in terms of four major dimensions of an ESD whole school approach, the importance assigned to a holistic vision, routines and structures, professional knowledge creation, and practical pedagogical work. The aim of the study is to compare the teachers' perception of their school organisation. The perceptions of teachers working in schools actively implementing ESD is compared with teachers in comparable reference schools. Comparisons are also made between teachers from schools applying different strategies in implementing ESD. A specific goal of ESD is to improve learning that helps students become responsible individuals, thereby fostering sustainability for the sake of world equity and conservation of natural resources at local to global levels (Henderson and Tilbury, 2004). Thus, the ESD ideal supports school improvement processes, and involves addressing both specific issues such as climate, poverty, biodiversity, and the reflexive application of appropriate methods, approaches, skills, abilities, visions and practices. The objective of this study is to identify characteristics of a school organisation that turns the ESD vision into a practical reality, and contributes to educational quality. The results indicate that, relative to teachers in reference schools, ESD school teachers perceive their school organisations to be of high quality and more coherent, because the three dimensions of the school organisation to a higher degree support the forth one, namely the practical pedagogic work. However, there is substantial variation in the perceptions of teachers from different ESD schools. The model's robustness is validated by triangulation of data with earlier interview results with school leaders in the same schools (Mogren and Gericke 2016).
Birney, A. & J. Reed. 2009. Sustainability and Renewal: Findings from the Leading Sustainable Schools Research Project. United Kingdom: National College for Leadership of Schools and Children´s Services. Giles, C. & Hargreaves, A., 2006. The sustainability of innovative schools as learning organisations and professional learning communities during standardized reform. Educational Administration Quarterly, 42:1, 124-156. Gough, A. 2005. Sustainable schools: Renovating educational processes. Applied Environmental Education and Communication 4: 4, 339-351. Henderson, K., & D., Tilbury 2004. Whole-school Approaches to Sustainability: An International Review of Sustainable School Programs. Sydney: MacQuarie University. Mogren, A., & Gericke, N., 2016. ESD implementation at the school organisation level, part 2 - investigating the transformative perspective in school leaders' quality strategies at ESD schools, Environmental Education Research, 23: 7, 972-992. Scherp, H., & G., Scherp, 2007. Lärande och skolutveckling , Ledarskap för demokrati och meningsskapande [Learning and School Improvement, Leadership for Democracy and Meaning Making]. Estetisk-filosofiska fakulteten: Karlstad Universitet.
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