30 SES 11 A, Wickedness, Uncertainty and validation in ESE
Policy-makers have highlighted the importance in putting our efforts towards a more sustainable society. Sustainable Development focuses on enhancing the quality of environment and quality of life via an equitable economic growth. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) allows teachers to reveal the complexity of Sustainable Development (SD) in education to students (Sandell, Öhman, Östman, Billingham & Lindman 2005). ESD aims at developing skilled and active citizens, informed and motivated to live sustainably and act towards a more sustainable society (e.g. Carban & Fisher, 2017). The teaching approaches, which teachers apply in class, are closely related to successful learning in ESD (Olsson, Gericke, & Chang Rundgren, 2016).
A holistic approach to SD includes all three dimensions of SD, that is, environmental, social and economic, and puts emphasis on their interconnections (e.g. Summers & Childs, 2007; Öhman, 2008). Time and space perspectives are also taken into consideration (e.g. Summers & Childs, 2007; Öhman, 2008). In ESD teaching, implications in the past, in the present and in the future as well as implications in local, regional or global level should be also considered (Öhman, 2008). It is hard for teachers to integrate the three dimensions of the concept of SD (Borg, Gericke, Höglund & Bergman,2014).In practice, when teaching ESD, teachers do not help students to develop a holistic view of SD (Borg et al. 2014).
Students should acknowledge various perspectives when they are dealing with SD issues (e.g. Boeve-de Pauw, Gericke, Olsson & Berglund,2015). Pluralistic approaches in ESD teaching recognize complexity, value conflicts and uncertainty (Ojala, 2013). Pluralistic approaches are open and encourage critical thinking and dialogue so as to make students form their own opinion (e.g. Rudsberg & Öhman, 2010; Jensen & Schnack, 1997). The most discussed way in ESDresearch to put a pluralistic approach into practice is the deliberative discussions which are based on rational discussions and argumentation. (e.g. Rudsberg & Öhman, 2010, Englund, Ojala, 2013). The role of the teacher then is to create adequate conditions which will allow students to put all these in practice (Ojala, 2013).
Action-orientation approaches to ESD teaching is thought to be highly significant when it comes to the cultivation of action competence (e.g. Jensen & Schanck, 1997, 2004). Varela-Losada, Vega-Marcote, Pérez-Rodríguez & Álvarez-Lires(2016) analysed the educational EE/ESD programmes published in two research journals with the greatest impact on the field of EE/ESD from 2008-2013. Τhis review points out that the educational programmes pay particular attention to five teaching practices that promote action competence: a) student’s active participation, b) reflection on the complex SD issues, c) student’s critical thinking, d) autonomous and responsible decision-making and e) the involvement of communities.
Even though there is now an increasing amount of work on ESD implementation, the teaching approaches applied in ESD are still not well understood (e.g. Fraser, Gupta, & Krasny, 2015; Kimaryo, 2011; Olsson et al., 2016). Education for Sustainable Development is understood in various ways. As a consequence, ESD teaching and learning is implemented with different approaches by teachers (Anyolo, Kärkkäinen& Keinonen, 2018). This make it necessary to do more empirical research on ESD implementation in order to reveal this diversity. Thus, the aim of this study is to investigate teachers’ practices in ESD teaching.
The research question is the following:
How can ESD teachingpractices could be operationalized and measured in a reliable and valid way?
To provide an answer to the question how ESD teaching practices can be operationalized and measured in a reliable and valid way, we have developed a questionnaire for teachers to report their self-perceptions of their practices. The aim of this instrument is to reveal variations among ESD teaching practices. To develop our instrument, we have followed a series of steps. The first step in the development of this instrument was a survey (survey 1) with teachers of elementary school and with teachers of secondary school in Flanders. The instrument used for the survey consists of three subscales: one subscale about holism (3 items), one subscale about pluralism (11 items) and one about action-oriented ESD (4 items). The first two subscales are, designed by Gericke N. and his colleagues (unpublished), while the third one was designed for the purpose of this survey. The aim of the survey was to put teachers into three groups in terms of their ESD teaching practices. Group 1 includes teachers with ESD teaching practices at a low level. Group 2 includes teachers with ESD teaching practices at average level, while group 3 includes teachers with ESD teaching practices at a high level. To group the teachers into three levels, a sample of 111 teachers (57 elementary school teachers & 54 secondary school teachers) answered survey 1. Thirty-three teachers among the participants in survey 1 (19 elementary school teachers & 15 secondary school teachers) were available to continue to the next phase to the interview. The aim of the interviews is to give variations among ESD teaching practices that they could be used for the final instrument. Therefore, the teachers available for the interviews were put into three groups according to their score in survey 1. 7 teachers have high scores in the survey, 6 teachers have low scores and 20 teachers have average scores in the whole instrument and they are grouped accordingly. The final sample which took part in the interviews consists of three elementary school teachers and six secondary school teachers (9 in total). The interview protocol consists of introductory questions such as how they understand the SD concept and goes on with questions about their beliefs and practices regarding holism, pluralism and action as ESD teaching approaches. Their beliefs and practices are grouped in levels; at low, average or high level. Based on these categories, the items for the subscales are developed.
The instrument will be piloted to 20 elementary and 20 secondary school teachers. At the same time, the instrument is tested for remaining problems with interpretation of questionnaire items with the same sample of teachers. Then, the questionnaire will be administrated to about 300 teachers at primary and secondary schools in order to check its construct validity and reliability. We will apply factor analysis to optimize the items of each subscale. Last but not least, Cronbach’s alpha will be calculated to assess the internal consistency of the subscales. With the data taken from the pilot study, the instrument will be checked for its reliability and validity. The hypothesized factor structure of the instrument will be tested through factor analysis and internal consistency of scores on the factors will be estimated by Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficients. At the ECER conference, we will be able to present these preliminary results. In September 2019, a large - scale data collection is planned with 300 teachers to further assess the reliability and validity of the instrument. We expect to find a measuring scale consisting of three dimensions: holism, pluralism, and action-oriented education in ESD. We are confident that our instrument will measure teaching practices which promote students’ action competence in the framework of ESD in a reliable and valid way. This questionnaire will be then used to measure ESD teaching practices of teachers before and after their participation in a training programme in the context VALIES project taking place in Flanders during the school year 2019-2020, Belgium.
Anyolo, E. O., Kärkkäinen,S., Keinonen, T. (2018). Implementing Education for Sustainable Development in Namibia: School Teachers¿ Perceptions and Teaching Practices. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 20 (1) , 64-81. 10.2478/jtes-2018-0004. Boeve-de Pauw, J., Gericke, N, Olsson, D. & Berglund, T. (2015). The Effectiveness of Education for Sustainable Development. Sustainability, 7, 15693-15717. Borg, C., Gericke, N., Höglund, H. O. & Bergman, E. (2014). Subject- and Experience-bound Differences in Teachers’ Conceptual Understanding of Sustainable Development. Environmental Education Research. 20(4), 526–551. Carban, E., & Fisher, D. (2017). Sustainability reporting at schools: challenges and benefits. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 19(1), 69-81. doi:10.1515/jtes- 2017-0005. Englund, T., Öhman, J. & Östman, L., (2008). Deliberative Communication for Sustainabil- ity? A Habermas-Inspired Pluralistic Approach. In Sustainability and Security within Liberal Societies, edited by S. Gough and A. Stables, 29–48. London: Routledge. Fraser, J., Gupta, R., & Krasny, M.E. (2015). Practitioners’ perspectives on the purpose of environmental education. Environmental Education Research, 21(5), 777-800. Jensen, B.B. and Schnack, C. (1997), The action competence approach in environmental education, Environmental Education Research, 3 (3), 163-179. Kimaryo, L. A. (2011). Integrating environmental education in primary school education in Tanzania: teachers’ perceptions and teaching practices. Åbo, Finland: Åbo Akademi University Press. Ojala, M., (2013). Emotional Awareness: On the Importance of Including Emotional Aspects in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Journal of Education for Sustainable Develoment, 7(2), 167-182 Öhman, J. ed. 2008. Values and Democracy in Education for Sustainable Development; Contributions from Swedish Research. Malmö: Liber. Olsson. D, Gericke. N, & Chang Rundgren. S. -N. (2016). The effect of implementation of education for sustainable development in Swedish compulsory schools – assessing pupils’ sustainability consciousness, Environmental Education Research, doi:10.1080/13504622.2015.1005057. Rudsberg, K., & Öhman J., (2010). Pluralism in Practice – Experiences from Swedish Evaluation, School Development and Research. Environmental Education Research, 16 (1), 115–131. Sandell, K., Öhman, J., Östman, L., Billingham, R. & Lindman, M. (2005). Education for Sustainable Development: Nature, School and Democracy. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Summers, M., & Childs, A. (2007). Student Science Teachers’ Conceptions of Sustainable Development: An Empirical Study of Three Postgraduate Training Cohorts. Research in Science & Technological Education, 25(3), 307–327. Wals, A.E.J. (2007). Epilogue: Creating networks of conversations. In A.E.J. Wals (Ed.), Social learning towards a sustainable world (pp. 497–506). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers. Varela-Losada, M., Vega-Marcote, P., Pérez-Rodríguez, U. & Álvarez-Lires, M., (2016) Going to action? A literature review on educational proposals in formal Environmental Education, Environmental Education Research, 22 (3), 390-421, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1101751
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