30 ONLINE 23 A, ESE in Teacher training and Higher Education
MeetingID: 829 6758 6957 Code: j28XJC
Social and environmental transformation requires quality education in all professional areas and levels. For this, a transdisciplinary approach is required: knowledge must be acquired but, beyond that, students must be enabled to feel part of the development processes, i.e., they must be equipped with the tools, attitudes, competences and values necessary to actively participate in these sustainable development processes. Within the framework of higher education, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) seeks to enable and transform students into planetary citizens (Murga Menoyo &Novo, 2017) who actively seek to shape a more equitable, peaceful, tolerant, and inclusive world.
However, Leal Filho et al.’s (2018) research indicates several obstacles in higher education institutions to integrate EDS, as it “has difficulties inherent to the mobilization of staff from the various subject groups in the faculty to include sustainability in the subject that they offer” (p. 4). Furthermore, Leal Filho et al. (2019) concluded that the barriers that universities face when implementing sustainability can be at the institutional level itself (e.g., lack of governance for sustainability); the motivation of the staff, professors, and students; lack of knowledge; and overworked professors without time to bring forward sustainability actions.
In this sense, the international project “Education for the Sustainable Development Goals – Capacity Building for Educators” (2021–2024) (funded by the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD) focuses on capacity building on the SDGs and ESD for university teachers in Ecuador (Universidad Técnica del Norte) and Colombia (Universidad de Antioquia and Universidad EAFIT). Furthermore, this project aims at enhancing the expertise in the field of ‘higher education in developing countries’ at the University of Vechta and it seeks to strengthen personal competence development of all project participants in terms of South-North and South-South dialogues.
The project aims to achieve the following objectives (outcomes):
1. Assessment of the current ESD implementation at the partner institutions through the analysis of training and educational programs for educators and the institutions’ academic offer.
2. Design and pilot implementation of ESD and SDGs training programs for educators in the partner institutions, including the development of a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) in Spanish.
3. Consolidation of a common platform with digital resources oriented to support and foster the continuity of the training programs for educators.
4. Initiation of a collaboration network on ESD.
This project contributes directly to the implementation of UNESCO’s framework Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs (ESD, 2030), especially in Priority Action Area 3 (Teachers and Educators), recognizing that “more opportunities are needed for educators to increase their capacities as facilitators of learning that leads to transformation” (UNESCO, 2019). Priorities Action Areas 2 and 4 (Education and Training; and Youth, respectively) of ESD for 2030 are also addressed in this project. It also aims at strengthening sustainability competences of teachers: holistic thinking, envisioning change and transformation (Scherak & Rieckmann, 2020).
This project supports the development of sustainability competencies among university teachers and students by promoting the integration of ESD in higher education. All four partner universities understand ESD as an instrument to improve the quality of higher education and hence the employability and citizenship skills of their students (Rieckmann 2018, 2012). In fact, the first research question we are working on is ‘What attitudes, knowledge and competences do university teachers have in relation to ESD and the SDGs?’, something clearly connected to the first goal. In this sense, a questionnaire was designed, validated, and applied to teachers of the three Latin American universities in order to analyze different teaching aspects from an ESD perspective and the competences for sustainability.
The consolidation of the survey was carried out in three phases: 1. Review of the literature of instruments reported by previous research where the contributions of Lozano et al. (2015), Christie et al. (2013) and Aleixo et al. (2019) were decisive. 2. Reading of the ‘A rounder sense of Purpose’ Project (Scherak & Rieckmann, 2020) to identify the indicators of each competency that could be transformed into items for the questionnaire. 3. Validation of the questionnaire with 10 academic peers from the partner universities, which allowed the instrument to be improved. The questionnaire is organized into four blocks: sociodemographic characterization, familiarization with education for sustainable development and SDGs, environmental attitudes, and competencies for sustainability. Most of the items included in each block are answered using a Likert scale with four levels of agreement (strongly agree, agree, disagree, totally disagree); other items were multiple-choice and prioritization and, to a lesser extent, open-ended questions that allowed teachers to broaden their answers. This makes possible the connection and triangulation between qualitative and quantitative data. In total 208 teachers from partner universities (91,8%) and other Latin American universities (8,2%) answered the questionnaire. The proportion between men and women was 52,4% and 47,6% respectively. However, their teaching practices are linked with various areas such as Earth/Environmental Sciences (32,7%), Humanities/Arts (26,9%), Engineering (15,9%), Administration/Economics (13,5%), Health Sciences (9,1%), Education (7,7%), among others. And the majority (74%) of teachers do research work.
Firstly, a relatively small number of university teachers consider that sustainability was a relevant issue in their initial training (38%), but, at the same time, they claim they know and are familiar with ESD and SDGs (73%). Also, most of them acknowledge that these should be included as content of subjects in higher education and within the academic debate in universities (70%). In addition, the university teachers consider relevant to promote problem solving (93%) and to stimulate that the content of the classes can understand real world problems (96%). Likewise, they value the possibility of exploring with new pedagogical strategies centered on the student to enhance learning (92%) such as place-based education and service learning (80%). With respect to the competences for sustainability, in general terms it stands out that many university teachers agreed or strongly agreed with statements related to a high level of competences. In particular, from the thinking holistically competences, criticality had the most positive ratings. From the envisioning change competences creativity and innovation competence stand out. The group of competences for transformation is striking, since some such as action and decision show that fewer teachers agree or strongly agree with their indicators. This aspect will be later confirmed and described with greater precision through the triangulation between the qualitative and quantitative analyses.
Aleixo, A. M., Azeiteiro, U. M., & Leal, S. (2019). Are the sustainable development goals being implemented in the Portuguese higher education formative offer? International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 21(2), 336-352. Christie, B. A., Miller, K. K., Cooke, R., & White, J. G. (2013). Environmental sustainability in higher education: how do academics teach? Environmental Education Research, 19(3), 385-414. Leal Filho, W., Raath, S., Lazzarini, B., Vargas, V. R., de Souza, L., Anholon, R., ... & Orlovic, V. L. (2018). The role of transformation in learning and education for sustainability. Journal of cleaner production, 199, 286-295. Leal Filho, W., Skanavis, C., Kounani, A., Brandli, L. L., Shiel, C., do Paco, A., ... & Shula, K. (2019). The role of planning in implementing sustainable development in a higher education context. Journal of cleaner production, 235, 678-687. Lozano, R., Ceulemans, K., Alonso-Almeida, M., Huisingh, D., Lozano, F. J., Waas, T., & Hugé, J. (2015). A review of commitment and implementation of sustainable development in higher education: results from a worldwide survey. Journal of cleaner production, 108, 1-18. Murga-Menoyo, M. A. y Novo, M. (2017). Sostenibilidad, desarrollo “glocal” y ciudadanía planetaria. Referentes de una pedagogía para el desarrollo sostenible. Teoría de la Educación. Revista Interuniversitaria, 29(1), 55-78. Rieckmann, M. (2012). Future-oriented higher education: Which key competencies should be fostered through university teaching and learning? Futures 44(2), 127–135. Rieckmann, M. (2018). Chapter 2 - Learning to transform the world: key competencies in ESD. In: Leicht, A., Heiss, J., & Byun, W. J. (eds.): Issues and trends in Education for Sustainable Development. UNESCO, Paris, pp. 39-59. Scherak, L., & Rieckmann, M. (2020). Developing ESD competences in higher education institutions—Staff training at the University of Vechta. Sustainability, 12(24), 10336.
- 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.