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Separated and integrated perspectives on environmental, economic, and social dimensions: an investigation of student views on sustainable development
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5446-7349
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences. (SMEER)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8735-2102
2016 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 22, no 8, p. 1115-1138Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

The sustainable development (SD) concept is based on the idea that economic and social development should be linked to the environment. However, controversies about various associated issues often arise due to the differences in protagonists’ viewpoints, depending partly on whether they focus mainly on environmental, economic, or social dimensions and partly on ideological stances related (for instance) to the optimal ways of promoting economic growth and social justice. This study investigates views of 638 Swedish upper secondary students who responded to a questionnaire probing their views of SD from two perspectives. In the first, the dimensions were separately introduced, so the respondents only had to consider one dimension at a time. In the second, the dimensions were introduced in an integrated fashion, so the respondents had to consider effects related to all three dimensions. The results strongly indicate that the students’ views and priorities concerning the dimensions depend on both the perspective and the context. Implications for teaching and learning are discussed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016. Vol. 22, no 8, p. 1115-1138
Keywords [en]
sustainable development, education for sustainable development, dimensions of sustainable development, holistic understanding, students’ conceptions, decision-making
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-42364DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1063589ISI: 000387141700003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84938631442OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-42364DiVA, id: diva2:933744
Available from: 2016-06-07 Created: 2016-05-23 Last updated: 2020-02-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Student views of environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development and their interconnectedness: A search for the holistic perspective in education for sustainable development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Student views of environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development and their interconnectedness: A search for the holistic perspective in education for sustainable development
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Elevers föreställningar om miljömässiga, sociala och ekonomiska dimensioner av hållbar utveckling och deras sammanlänkning : En utforskande studie av det holistiska perspektivet i utbildning för hållbar utveckling
Abstract [en]

The work in this thesis centers on upper secondary students’ views of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development and their interconnectedness. The focus has been to study the diversity of students’ views in various contexts. The research uses as its starting point the aims of education for sustainable development to facilitate a holistic understanding among students, which implies the consideration of environmental, social and economic perspectives when dealing with issues of sustainability.

A mixed methods and iterative approach was applied in this research. Two data sets were collected: one larger-scale data set from 638 students in grade 12 (aged 18-19) on science and social science programs, and one smaller set involving 18 students of similar age and programs. In the first data collection exercise, the students responded to questionnaires investigating their sustainability consciousness and decision-making within different everyday contexts. The aim of the second data collection exercise was to study, in-depth, patterns of students’ views on the interconnectedness of sustainability dimensions. 

The results reveal a diversity of student views that specifically relate to the economic dimension in sustainable development. The economic dimension is perceived differently in their sustainability consciousness, and when they encounter the economic dimension in various sustainability contexts. Moreover, there are four distinctly different beliefs among students about the interconnectedness of the economy and sustainable development. The four beliefs are identified as the un-differentiating positive, the nuanced ambivalent, the two-way convinced and the critical, differing in their arguments about the interconnectedness of environmental, social and economic dimensions. The findings indicate the potential resource students’ views and different contexts can represent in teaching that aims at perspective-shifting and learning about the complexity and dynamic nature of sustainability issues.

Abstract [en]

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is described as a learner-centered teaching approach in which the perspectives of the learners constitute an important part. In line with the holistic aims of ESD, social and economic perspectives are considered alongside environmental perspectives when dealing with sustainability issues. This thesis is a compilation of four sub-studies, centering on the diversity of views among upper secondary students on sustainable development, its underlying environmental, social and economic dimensions and their interconnectedness. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to investigate the diversity in students’ views in different contexts. The results reveal a diversity in views that specifically relates to the economic dimension of sustainable development. Four distinctly different beliefs were identified among the students on how the economy and sustainable development are connected. Moreover, students’ views differed depending on whether they encountered environmental, social and economic dimensions in an integrated way or in isolation. The findings indicate the potential resource students’ views and different contexts can represent in education that aims for learning about the complex and dynamic nature of sustainable development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2020. p. 99
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2020:14
Keywords
Education for sustainable development, sustainable development, upper secondary, student views, sustainability consciousness, interconnectedness, holism, pluralism
National Category
Didactics Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-77040 (URN)978-91-7867-097-0 (ISBN)978-91-7867-107-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-04-03, 21A 342, Eva Eriksson-salen, Universitetsgatan 2, Karlstad, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-03-12 Created: 2020-02-24 Last updated: 2020-03-12Bibliographically approved

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Berglund, TeresaGericke, Niklas

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