30 SES 02 A, Competence based perspectives in ESE
In the attempt to address today’s most pressing challenge of leading the world on a more sustainable path, education and education for sustainable development (ESD) in particular play the crucial role of building society’s capacity to do so. (Barth et al., 2016). Accordingly, the international community recently committed to the global agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), inter alia, aiming to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all (...).” (DESA, 2015). Concurrently, UNESCO’s Global Action Programme (GAP) attempts to further develop and disseminate what has been achieved during the UN-Decade of “Education for sustainable development” (2005-2014). Here, it is argued that everyone should get “the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that empower them to contribute to sustainable development” (UNESCO, 2014, p. 14). To meet this ambition and ensure adequate implementation of ESD into curricula and school practice strongly depends on teachers’ competencies and commitment towards sustainability (Barth, 2015). Consequently, the GAP emphasizes “building capacities of educators and trainers” as one of its five priority areas (UNESCO, 2014).
To prepare teachers for the challenge of implementing ESD, universities and teacher education programmes must embrace pedagogies that foster the competencies needed to take action and act as competent change agents (e.g. Bertschy et al., 2013). However, knowledge about sustainability challenges (content knowledge - CK), skills to develop effective teaching and learning formats (pedagogical content knowledge - PCK) as well the volition to do so (attitudes) make the formulation and actual accomplishment of learning objectives in teacher education for sustainability a complicated task. Referring to Shulman´s (1987) categories of what constitutes a competent teacher, Baumert and Kunter (2013) designed a model of teachers’ professional competence, identifying professional knowledge, beliefs, motivation, and self-regulation as its core elements. Regarding competencies relevant for the successful integration of ESD at school level, various approaches emphasize the role of educators and provide different competence models for teachers in ESD (e.g. Warren et al., 2014). However, Bertschy et al. (2013) initially linked the discussion on competencies in ESD to the broader discourse on professional competencies of teachers, introducing an integrative model for “ESD-specific professional action competency in Kindergarten and primary school” (Ibid., p. 5075). Operationalizing this concept of teachers’ professional action competence in ESD – breaking it up into content knowledge (CK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and attitude – Brandt et al. (under review) provided a valuable foundation this research aims to build upon.
Thus, while there is ongoing work on what competencies students need to become competent ESD teachers (Evans et al., 2017), the question remains what pedagogical approaches best support the development of those competencies.
Focusing on individual courses of teacher education programmes at Leuphana University in Lüneburg (Germany) and Arizona State University/ASU (USA) – both following a competence oriented approach to ESD – the proposed paper aims to answer the following research question:
- To what extent do the learning environments and pedagogical approaches of course units ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ at Leuphana and ‘Sustainability Science for Teachers’ at ASU support the development of professional action competence for teachers in ESD?
- How do the two courses differ regarding their learning environments and pedagogical approaches?
- Which elements of the above mentioned professional action competence for teachers in ESD can be developed through the two courses?
- How do the students reflect on these outcomes and which learning processes (drivers and barriers) do they perceive?
Both learning outcomes and processes were investigated in a comparative case study (Stake, 2008) based on two individual ESD modules of the teacher education programmes at Leuphana University in Lüneburg Germany and Arizona State University (USA). The different educational approaches, institutional conditions as well as the contrasting political and socio-geographical environments make this study particularly interesting. Data collection Data was collected between April 2017 and December 2018, using a mixed method approach to capture a rich picture of the students´ learning. Pre- and post-course surveys were conducted to gather data on students’ individual backgrounds, their motivation to become a teacher as well as their ecological worldviews, and to identify changes in students’ attitudes and understanding of sustainability. Furthermore, instruments to assess the development of CK and PCK were specifically designed and applied. The CK assessment included multiple choice questions on various sustainability challenges, covering key competencies in sustainability according to Wiek et al. (2011), while the PCK assessment consisted of different case studies, dealing with scenarios of ESD-related school projects. In order to provide insights into learning processes and outcomes from the students’ perspective, focus groups were conducted mid-term and at the end of the semester. Here, the PhotoVoice method (Wang & Burris, 1994) was implemented to support their reflection processes. Finally, written reflections on the learning processes – as part of the students’ assignments – were analyzed. Data analysis The analysis of quantitative data from surveys and assessments was conducted with R and SPSS. While data on student backgrounds is characterized with basic descriptive statistics (frequencies), the pre-post comparison of content knowledge (CK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and attitude (self-efficacy and perceived relevance of ESD) was conducted by using paired sample t-tests. In order to determine students’ motivations to become a teacher, the open replies were coded based on the FIT choice scale (Watt et al., 2012). The qualitative data included the material from focus groups and written reflection. All coding was conducted by at least two researchers to ensure inter-coder reliability (ICR). In case of different scores the researchers went back to the raw data together to come to an agreement. The analysis of the data oriented to the understanding and reconstruction of the learning processes and outcomes and was carried out based on the coding paradigm and analytic approach of grounded theory according to Corbin and Strauss (1998).
Focusing on individual sustainability courses of the teacher education programmes at Leuphana and ASU, this study demonstrates that both courses under investigation supported the development of professional action competencies for teachers in ESD. Findings from both cases report positive changes in students’ attitudes and their motivation to implement sustainability in the future careers. Yet, whereas students at ASU showed an increase in specific content knowledge (CK), Leuphana students’, significantly developed their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). This corresponds to the respective course structures with different emphases regarding content and modes of delivery. Shedding further light on the links between learning outcomes of learning processes, qualitative results provide valuable insights into drivers and barriers students have encountered in the different learning environments at both institutions. While exchange with others, perceived relevance of learning formats and contents for their future career as well as real-world connection were frequently seen as driving factors, the overall workload and disconnection between different learning formats are examples of perceived barriers to students’ learning. These findings are equally relevant to university instructors, administrators, and students. Finally, this comparative case study delivers valuable information on how teaching and learning environments as well as respective learning processes may be structured in order to ensure and foster the development of the required competencies for teachers in ESD. Even considering the different resources and conditions at other institutions, this paper allows for general improvement of future teacher education in sustainability.
Barth, M. (2015). Implementing sustainability in higher education: Learning in an age of transformation. Routledge studies in sustainable development. London: Routledge. Barth, M., Michelsen, G., Rieckmann, M. and Thomas, I. (2016). Routledge handbook of higher education for sustainable development, Routledge international handbooks, First issued in paperback, Routledge; Earthscan from Routledge, London, New York. Baumert, J., & Kunter, M. (2013). The COACTIV Model of Teachers’ Professional Competence. In M. Kunter, J. Baumert et al. (Eds.). Mathematics Teacher Education: v. 8. Cognitive activation in the mathematics classroom and professional competence of teachers. Results from the COACTIV project (pp. 28–48). New York, London: Springer. Bertschy, F., Künzli, C., & Lehman, M. (2013). Teachers´ Competencies for the Implementation of Educational Offers in the Field of Education for Sustainable Development. Sustainability. (5), 5067–5080. Brandt, J.-O., Bürgener, L., Barth, M. and Redman, A. (under review). Becoming a competent teacher in education for sustainable development – learning outcomes and processes in teacher education. In: International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Corbin, J. and Strauss, A. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications DESA, 2015. Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to Transform our World. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/. Evans, N., Stevenson, R.B., Lasen, M., Ferreira, J.-A. and Davis, J. (2017). Approaches to embedding sustainability in teacher education. A synthesis of the literature. Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 63, pp. 405–417. Shulman, L. (1987). “Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform”, Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 57 No. 1, pp. 1–23. Stake, R.E. (2008). The art of case study research, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, Calif. UNESCO (2014). Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Paris. Wang, C. and Burris, M.A. (1994). Empowerment through photo novella: portraits of participation. Health education quarterly, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 171–186. Warren, A., Archambault, L. and Foley, R.W. (2014). Sustainability Education Framework for Teachers: Developing sustainability literacy through futures, values, systems, and strategic thinking. Journal of Sustainability Education, Vol. 6 May. Watt, H.M.G., Richardson, P.W., Klusmann et al. (2012). Motivations for choosing teaching as a career: An international comparison using the FIT-Choice scale. Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 791–805. Wiek, A., Withycombe, L. and Redman, C.L. (2011). Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 203–218.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.