Essay on Successful Sustainability Education Practices For Sustainability

Essay on Successful Sustainability Education Practices For Sustainability

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As the concept of education for sustainability has grown in global prominence, many schools and teachers are eager to implement sustainability education in the classroom. However, teachers often feel unsure of how to actually teach sustainability: they rarely have the opportunity to build their knowledge in this area and, as such, may not have a great deal of experience in crafting sustainability education programs. This study shares some of the ways that teachers are successfully implementing sustainability education at sites where sustainability is a shared goal among educators and community members. The authors looked at teacher practice in eight schools in Victoria, Australia, focusing in particular on practices of place-based sustainability education and the relationships between teachers, students, and community members.

The research was conducted as part of a longitudinal study examining teacher professional education for sustainability in Victorian primary schools. In a previous sustainability mapping survey in the Gippsland region of Victoria, researchers identified eight primary schools with active sustainability education programs, and the researchers invited these schools to participate in a study by hosting pre-service teachers for a three-week practicum. Schools in the sample were a mix of large and small rural and regional schools, including one Catholic school and five government schools. None of the schools was in close proximity to a large metropolitan area. Researchers used semi-structured focus groups with a total of 5 principals and 16 teachers to understand how school administrator and teachers thought about sustainability as well as what practices they used t...

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...and explore new ideas, driving their own explorations of sustainability.

Successful sustainability education programs integrate and situate lessons within the local social and environmental setting, and their teaching methods encourage creativity and experiential learning. Strategies educators can employ in their classes include (1) engaging students with the physical environment that surrounds schools, (2) working across disciplines to help students understand the historical and ecological relationships that constitute local places, (3) forming partnerships with community members and groups, and (4) pursuing creative and inquiry-based projects. There is no standardized formula for sustainability education; rather, it should grow out of local conditions, students’ interests, and the conceptual connections that emerge from each learning encounter.

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