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ESD implementation at the school organisation level, part 1 – investigating the quality criteria guiding school leaders’ work at recognized ESD schools
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013). (SMEER)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2726-8253
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013). (SMEER)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8735-2102
2017 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 23, no 7, p. 972-992Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) implementation tends to focus primarily on student and teacher outcomes, and there have been few studies on leadership practices at the school organisation level that provide information on how quality in education contributes to ESD implementation. To address this issue, we conducted an empirical mixed methods study of existing practices in 10 highly ESD-active upper secondary schools in Sweden. The schools’ principals, who were responsible for implementing ESD, were interviewed to obtain information on the quality criteria they used to guide their work. Twenty-six criteria were identified and grouped into four main principal quality criteria on the basis of statistical analysis: Collaborative interaction and school development; Student centred education; Cooperation with local society; and Proactive leadership and continuity. This categorization both supports existing research on ESD quality criteria and highlights new criteria that are important but were previously unrecognized. Trends in the identified quality criteria are discussed and related to prior research in order to identify potentially fruitful school leadership and management for implementing ESD at the school organisational level. Research on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) implementation tends to focus primarily on student and teacher outcomes, and there have been few studies on leadership practices at the school organisation level that provide information on how quality in education contributes to ESD implementation. To address this issue, we conducted an empirical mixed methods study of existing practices in 10 highly ESD-active upper secondary schools in Sweden. The schools’ principals, who were responsible for implementing ESD, were interviewed to obtain information on the quality criteria they used to guide their work. Twenty-six criteria were identified and grouped into four main principal quality criteria on the basis of statistical analysis: Collaborative interaction and school development; Student centred education; Cooperation with local society; and Proactive leadership and continuity. This categorization both supports existing research on ESD quality criteria and highlights new criteria that are important but were previously unrecognized. Trends in the identified quality criteria are discussed and related to prior research in order to identify potentially fruitful school leadership and management for implementing ESD at the school organisational level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. Vol. 23, no 7, p. 972-992
Keywords [en]
ESD implementation; quality criteria; school leadership; school organisation
National Category
Other Biological Topics Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology; Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-64653DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1226265ISI: 000405630600005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-64653DiVA, id: diva2:1148405
Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2019-11-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Implementering av lärande för hållbar utveckling: En studie av rektors förståelse av kvalitet i skolans organisation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Implementering av lärande för hållbar utveckling: En studie av rektors förståelse av kvalitet i skolans organisation
2017 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Implementing Education for Sustainable Development : A study of school leaders’ understanding of high quality in school organisations
Abstract [en]

Student outcomes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is reported to be weak and empirical studies investigating the underlying causes have been called for. School organization is pointed out as essential, which highlights the role of school leaders in realizing ESD. This study aims to identify characteristic features of ESD active school organizations, by investigating how school leaders maintain high quality in their organizations. ESD is thus studied from an internal organizational perspective. Fourteen school leaders at ten upper secondary schools, active in ESD implementation, were interviewed and qualitative data quantified. A special focus was on school leaders’ transformative statements, in response to earlier criticism that ESD implementation has been too structural. Results consist of 26 identified quality criteria. By means of cluster analysis, the quality criteria were merged into four principal quality criteria: collaborative interaction and school development, student-centred education, cooperation with local society and proactive leadership and continuity. The school leaders’ quality strategies were identified through correlation analysis of their principal quality criteria. The quality strategies reveal a difference in the schools’ internal or external focus. An analysis of the school leaders’ quality statements in relation to their quality strategy implementation indicates that ESD to a large degree is introduced from a transformative perspective. One school in the study stands out as highly transformation-oriented, and has a quality strategy combining an internal and external focus, thus making it a possible benchmark for successful ESD-implementation. The study contributes a suggestion on how a progression of ESD implementation can take place and as well as possible obstacles.  

Abstract [sv]

Studier om implementering av Lärande för hållbar utveckling (LHU) visar att påverkan på elevers förståelse, attityder och agerande i frågan är liten. Det finns ett behov av att empiriskt undersöka hur skolans organisation kan underlätta en mer framgångsrik LHU implementering. Rektorernas roll pekas ut som central i det arbetet, men få studier har tidigare undersökt hur rektorer arbetar med skolorganisationen. I studien undersöks generella uttryck för kvalitet som rektorer anser viktiga i skolorganisationen för att åstadkomma en utbildning med hög kvalitet. Resultaten tolkas i ljuset av skolor som aktivt implementerar LHU. Studien söker svar på vad som utmärker de skolorganisationer som aktivt arbetar med LHU. 14 rektorer på 10 LHU-skolor har intervjuats. Kvalitativ data har kvantifierats i syfte att upptäcka mönster och sammanhang. Ett speciellt fokus har ägnats åt transforamtiva uttryck, som ett svar på tidigare kritik mot att LHU implementerats allt för strukturellt inom skolan. Resultaten redovisar kvalitetskriterier som rektorerna framhåller som viktiga samt specifika fokusområden för kvalitetsarbete. Skolor i studien med hög medvetenhet om transformativa uttryck inom skolans organisation utgör grund för en diskussion om hur strategier för LHU implementering kan utformas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017. p. 69
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:39
Keywords
ESD implementation, transformativ education, quality criteria, school leadership, school organisation, Implementering av lärande för hållbar utveckling, kvalitetskriterier, skolans organisation, transformativ utbildning, skolans ledarskap, rektor
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-64659 (URN)978-91-7063-816-9 (ISBN)978-91-7063-911-1 (ISBN)
Presentation
2017-11-17, 1D340, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, B0589701
Available from: 2017-10-30 Created: 2017-10-11 Last updated: 2019-05-27Bibliographically approved
2. Guiding Principles of Transformative Education for Sustainable Development in Local School Organisations: Investigating Whole School Approaches through a School Improvement Lens
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Guiding Principles of Transformative Education for Sustainable Development in Local School Organisations: Investigating Whole School Approaches through a School Improvement Lens
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The importance of an education that empowers students to engage with real societal problems to promote a sustainable future is widely acknowledged. However, the organisational characteristics of schools that facilitate such education for sustainable development (ESD) have received little attention. This thesis aims to fill this research gap by contributing new knowledge on ways that school organisations can implement transformative ESD, while aligning with a whole school approach.

Swedish upper secondary schools actively implementing ESD were selected for the study. The research design used a mixed-method approach developed from the field of school improvement research. Methods included semi-structured interviews with school leaders and questionnaire surveys for teachers. School leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of quality in their local school organisation was studied.

The thesis identifies the guiding principles that school leaders and teachers found important for promoting transformative ESD. These include four principal quality criteria that need structural support through collegial meetings to establish a holistic idea of ESD, namely collaborative interaction and school development, student-centred education, cooperation with local society, and proactive leadership and long-term perspective. With the support of the guiding principles, the whole school organisation contributes to teaching and learning practices in ESD active schools.

The two main contributions are 1) identification of the school organisation that provide firm ground for local implementation of transformative ESD, and 2) that the internal school organisation is a prerequisite for school collaboration with the surrounding society, which is a main goal of ESD, according to policy and theory. In the case of the latter, a student-centred approach in organising education was found to facilitate such links between education and the community, which is a main goal of ESD, according to policy and theory. The results may provide useful recommendations for schools and ESD implementation programmes.

Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the guiding principles required in the school organisation to make a permanent implementation of transformative Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) possible, while aligning with a whole school approach. Swedish upper secondary schools actively implementing ESD were selected for the study.

The research design consists of a mixed method approach that was developed from the field of school improvement research. The methods used include semi-structured interviews with school leaders and questionnaire surveys with teachers. School leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of quality in their local school organisation was studied, and the guiding principles promoting transformative ESD were identified.  These include four principal quality criteria that need structural support through collegial meetings to establish a holistic idea of ESD in the organisation: collaborative interaction and school development, student-centred education, cooperation with local society, and proactive leadership and long-term perspective.  

The two main contributions are 1) identification of the school organisation that provide firm ground for local implementation of transformative ESD, and 2) that the internal school organisation is a prerequisite for school collaboration with the surrounding society, which is a main goal of ESD, according to policy and theory. The results may provide useful recommendations for schools and ESD implementation programmes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2019. p. 95
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2019:33
Keywords
Education for Sustainable Development, School organisation, Transformative ESD, Transformative Quality, School improvement, Whole School Approach
National Category
Educational Sciences Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-75563 (URN)978-91-7867-058-1 (ISBN)978-91-7867-068-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-12-20, Eva Eriksson, 21A342, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-12-04 Created: 2019-11-08 Last updated: 2019-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Mogren, AnnaGericke, Niklas

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