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School leaders’ experiences of implementing education for sustainable development: Anchoring the transformative perspective
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 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).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8735-2102
2019 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 11, no 12, article id 3343Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, we consider the problem of ensuring that Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is firmly embedded in a school through appropriate management and planning of the school’s activities (or characteristics of the school organization). To this end, we identify the domains of school organization that would benefit from particular structures and routines in order to embed ESD. We identify these domains by thematically analyzing responses of interviewed leaders of schools employing a transformative approach to ESD. We divided the leaders into two groups, based on the extent to which their respective schools employed a transformative approach to ESD. We analyzed the differences in responses of the two groups, enabling us to identify and compare the structures that school leaders in the respective groups believe to be important. In addition to reporting the results, we discuss their implications. We focus particularly on how structures identified by leaders of highly transformative schools could contribute to long-lasting transformative implementation of ESD, and how structures identified by leaders of the other group could be used to circumvent barriers to such implementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 11, no 12, article id 3343
Keywords [en]
education for sustainable development (ESD); ESD implementation; transformative schools; school leaders; school organization; upper secondary schools
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-74931DOI: 10.3390/su11123343OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-74931DiVA, id: diva2:1355850
Available from: 2019-09-30 Created: 2019-09-30 Last updated: 2019-11-08
In thesis
1. 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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