The university as a site of socialisation for sustainability education
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This chapter reports on an innovative approach to in-service teacher education focusing on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) aimed at faculty in a UK university. Building on the underpinning philosophies that characterise sustainability education: participation, experiential learning and authenticity, a module on ESD was designed which at first flipped and then moved beyond the classroom. An online resource was developed to house the necessary declarative content which student-teachers accessed before the class. Class time was then spent within deliberative, dialogic and ‘walkabout’ learning spaces. These included a critically informed tour of the university campus and community exploring the ‘unseen university’, following energy and waste processes, evaluating accessibility and inclusivity and considering the university as an example of an organisation in transition. They also afforded the opportunity for student-teachers to meet key sustainability individuals from procurement, estates, marketing and finances, as well as curriculum champions and of course students themselves. Discussions took place in boiler rooms, on stairwells, in coffee shops and in parks. Following an action research strategy for change leadership, student-teachers collaboratively and critically dissected these experiences and negotiated assignments which were not only informed by these experiences but that sought to address specific sustainability needs identified on our journeying through the university as a manifold learning space. At the end of the course, student-teachers used the UNECE (2012) framework for Competences in Education for Sustainable Development to assess what had been learnt and where to focus ongoing CPD. The course has proved popular in its home institution and has been showcased as an example of good practice by the European Communion through their ‘Lifelong Learning Programme’ (Mader et al. 2014).
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