30 SES 05 B, Teacher Education and ESE
The main purpose of the study was to find ways in which education for sustainable development (ESD) can be integrated into teacher education (TE) in Uganda. The study employed a qualitative research paradigm because this research paradigm enabled the researcher to investigate, explore and gather in-depth information through active engagement with the research participants in order to gain a deeper understanding of ways in which ESD could be integrated into teacher education within the context of the participants´ natural setting, lived experiences and processes, and also grasp the meaning the participants ascribed to their experiences, processes and views. The research problem was based on the fact that ESD issues are transdisciplinary and there is no any single academic discipline that can claim ownership of ESD but all academic disciplines contribute to the integration of ESD into teacher education. However, according to the academic structure and setting of teacher education in Uganda, teacher trainers and their trainees specialize at least in one or two academic discipline. Becher (1989) argues in his book academic tribes and territories that academic disciplines like social cultural tribes have their own traditions with heroes, taboos and rituals and categories of thought, which provide the members of the field with shared concepts of theories, training procedures, methods, specialized vocabulary, a systematic research strategy, techniques for replication and validity, techniques for investigation, checks and balancing, understanding and responding to the world, quality controls, punishment and reward mechanisms, (Teichler, 2019: 16; Trowler, 2014, 18 & Hativa & Goodyear, 2002: 56). Therefore, the main objective was to find out how could a teacher educator who was trained and specialized in a particular academic discipline with such attributes as mentioned above be in position to integrate ESD which requires transdisciplinary knowledge in his teaching and learning activities? In other words, how could ESD be integrated into teacher education in spite of teacher´s professional academic specialization (academic tribalism)? In order to find ways in which ESD could be integrated into teacher education, this study was guided by four research questions. These were: what are teacher´s perceptions of ESD? What competencies do teachers consider to be important for integration of ESD in TE? To what extent could teachers´ subject area of specialization affect the integration of ESD in TE? And finally, in which ways can teachers transcend the possible challenges due to their subject specialization and integrate ESD in TE? The study did not adopt any a priori theory rather a posterior approach was adopted in order to let a theory emerge out of the collected data, thus, the study employed a grounded theory research approach. However, prior to data collection, a detailed conceptual background to all key concepts in the study such as sustainable development, education for sustainable development, teacher education and teacher´s professional academic tribalism was conducted. Research data were collected from four universities which have faculties or colleges of teacher education in Uganda. Data were collected from teacher educators, since they have the task of integrating ESD in their teaching and learning activities, so that both the in-service and pre-service teachers can be in position to learn issues of ESD in their educational activities and in turn after their training, they could also integrate ESD in their respective places of work.
The study employed a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) research design which is located within the qualitative research paradigm. Unlike other qualitative methods, a ground theory approach was adopted for this study because first of all not many studies on ESD have been conducted in Uganda to make it easy for the researcher to use already existing theories. Secondly, grounded theory approach could enable the researcher to go beyond mere exploring and describing to explaining the complex phenomena of ESD integration into teacher education with an intention of generating a theory grounded in research data that would explain the ways in which ESD could be integrated into teacher education in Uganda. The constructivist grounded theory approach was chosen for this study in particular because it enables a researcher to socially co-construct reality with the study participants, (Charmaz,2006:187). Secondly, CGT was considered for this study because it permits a researcher to begin the research process with a review of literature in order to get familiar with the area of research interest before data collection unlike the Glaserian grounded theory approach which states that a research process should begin with data collection. This guided the researcher in identifying a starting point for data collection, nevertheless the knowledge of the reviewed literature was not given relevance until it was validated or dismissed by the formulation of the emerging theory. The choice of the constructive grounded theory approach was also informed by the researcher´s philosophical underpinnings, that was, a relativist ontology, a subjectivist epistemology, an interpretivist methodology, and a balanced axiology. Purposive and theoretical sampling were conducted until a theoretical saturation was achieved. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews, observation and document analysis and a number of 24 teacher educators participated in the study. Data analysis procedures include: Constant comparative data analysis, open coding, axial coding and selective coding techniques. Out of this rigorous process, a concrete theory based on research data that explains how ESD could be integrated into teacher education is still in its formation. Research trustworthiness was based on five criteria, that is, credibility, dependability, transferability, confirmability and reflexivity. Research ethical considerations were followed judiciously.
Preliminary results of the study indicate that teacher educators perceive ESD to be that type of education that could enable a person to become beneficial to his/herself, local, national and international society. Several competences were deemed to be very important for integration of ESD in teacher education and among them were system thinking, team-work, critical thinking, self-motivated, creativity and knowledgeable. Teacher´s subject specialization was considered to a hindrance to integration of ESD in teacher education by most of the teacher educators interviewed. However, some teacher educators argued that subject specialization may not necessarily hinder a teacher´s ability to integrate ESD in his/her learning and teaching activities but it depends on individual teacher´s ability to relate subject matter to the local needs of the learners, with the national and international ESD issues which may be relevant to his/her learners and society at large. Several ways were also suggested by the study participants on how ESD can be integrated in teacher education despite of teacher´s academic tribalism. Some of these ways are; transdisciplinary teaching, thinking broadly beyond one´s areas of specialization, individual and corporate responsibility, collaboration among all stakeholders in education, institutionalization of ESD policies at all levels of education and holistic approach to ESD integration in TE. Finally, a theory grounded in researched data that explains how ESD can be integrated into TE in Uganda is still emerging. The emerging theory is most likely to contribute to the discourse of reorienting TE for sustainable development and integration of ESD into teacher education. This may not be limited to only in Uganda but also worldwide. Secondly, it is hoped that the study findings will create awareness among the various education stakeholders on how ESD can be integrated not only in TE but also at various levels of education.
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