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The Effectiveness of Education for Sustainable Development
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013). Univ Antwerp, Fac Social Sci, Res Unit Edubron, Dept Training & Educ Sci, Prinsstr 13, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8496-096X
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8735-2102
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7976-4860
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5446-7349
2015 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 7, no 11, p. 15693-15717Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Perhaps the most important issue in our time is how to sustain our planet's resources, while developing wealth and well-being for a growing population. This monumental task has been defined in the concept of sustainable development (SD). During the last few decades the world communities have agreed upon addressing SD through international treaties. As a response Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has been launched as an answer to cope with sustainability. However, empirical studies are a missing link in the discourse around ESD, where decisions and implementation strategies are heavily based on policy recommendations and gut feelings by practitioners. We used data from 2413 students in grades 6, 9, and 12 from 51 schools across Sweden to study the effectiveness of ESD. In line with the current debate on the definition of ESD, we quantified the extent to which teaching can be labeled as holistic and/or pluralistic. Through a series of descriptive analyses and the estimation of structural equation models, our results indicate that ESD can indeed impact on student outcomes in terms of their sustainability consciousness. The results of this study reveal the key role ESD plays in addressing SD, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 7, no 11, p. 15693-15717
Keywords [en]
Education for Sustainable Development, educational effectiveness, holism, pluralism, sustainability consciousness
National Category
Educational Sciences Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-40683DOI: 10.3390/su71115693ISI: 000369088600065OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-40683DiVA, id: diva2:906432
Available from: 2016-02-24 Created: 2016-02-24 Last updated: 2019-07-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Student Sustainability Consciousness: Investigating Effects of Education for Sustainable Development in Sweden and Beyond
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Student Sustainability Consciousness: Investigating Effects of Education for Sustainable Development in Sweden and Beyond
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Environmental and sustainability education has been an important part of education worldwide for many years, aiming to foster pro-environmental behavior among young people. Education for sustainable development (ESD) and its teaching components holism (the approach to the content) and pluralism (the approach to teaching) has been launched as the educational approach to support this aim by empowering young people with action competence for a sustainable future. Environmental and sustainability certifications are commonly used by schools as support in their ESD-implementation efforts. To date, scholarly attention to, and critical reflection on the effects of such certification on students’ perceptions of sustainability have been limited.

This doctoral thesis focuses on this gap in ESD research through five large-scale studies, four of which were conducted in Sweden and one in Taiwan. Questionnaire instruments measuring students’ sustainability consciousness (SC) and their experiences of ESD were developed for the project.  In total, 2 413 students in Sweden and 1 741 students in Taiwan (grades six, nine and twelve) participated by filling in the SC questionnaire. The Swedish students also filled in questionnaires about their experiences of ESD at their schools in terms of holistic approach to content and pluralistic approach to teaching.

The results question the impact of schools’ environmental and sustainability certification on students’ SC. The results also show the importance of holism and pluralism in ESD for students’ SC, regardless of whether schools were certified or not. Moreover, the findings reveal an adolescent dip in students’ SC as well as a gender gap, both of which were reinforced among students in the certified schools.

Given the findings, this thesis can give more generalizable guidance for schools and certifying organizations to further reorient ESD towards teaching and learning approaches that have an effect on student SC.

Abstract [en]

Education for sustainable development (ESD) has been launched worldwide to empower young people by providing them with action competence for a sustainable future. ESD certifications are commonly used by schools as support in their ESD implementation efforts. To date, scholarly attention to and critical reflection on the effects of such certification on students’ perceptions of sustainability have been limited.

This doctoral thesis focuses on this gap in ESD research through five large-scale studies of which four were conducted in Sweden (N=2413) and one in Taiwan (N=1741). Questionnaire instruments measuring students’ sustainability consciousness (SC) and experiences of ESD were developed for the project. The findings reveal that the effect of ESD certifications on students’ SC is limited. The results also show positive effects of ESD on students’ SC in the form of the teaching approaches based on holism and pluralism, regardless whether schools were ESD certified or not. Moreover, results also reveal that in the certified schools the general adolescent dip and gender gap in students’ SC were reinforced. Given the findings, this thesis can give more generalizable empirical guidance for schools and certifying organizations to further reorient education towards ESD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2018. p. 104
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2018:48
Keywords
Education for sustainable development, effects, environmental and sustainability education, holism and pluralism, students, sustainability consciousness
National Category
Other Biological Topics
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69838 (URN)978-91-7063-887-9 (ISBN)978-91-7063-982-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-14, 1B 364 (Frödingsalen), Karlstad, 13:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-23 Created: 2018-10-23 Last updated: 2019-03-26Bibliographically approved

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Boeve-de Pauw, JelleGericke, NiklasOlsson, DanielBerglund, Teresa

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