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Learning for the Future? Effects of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) on Teacher Education Students

Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sprängkullsgatan 19, P.O. Box 711, Gothenburg SE-405 30, Sweden
Political Science Unit, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå SE-971 87, Sweden
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular, Professional Studies, University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 100, Gothenburg SE-405 30, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5135-5152;
Received: 18 October 2013 / Revised: 13 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
Currently, politicians, university representatives, scholars and leading NGOs share a strong belief in the ability of educational systems to generate positive attitudes to sustainable development (SD) among citizens, with the idea of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as perhaps the most apparent expression of this conviction. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether ESD might have the intended effects on teacher education students. More specifically, we account for the results from a panel study on the effects of a course on SD held in autumn 2010 at the University of Gothenburg (n = 323) on teacher education students. The surveys consisted of questions about the students’ concerns about various issues, including issues related to SD, and their attitudes towards SD and views of moral obligations to contributing to SD. The study included a control group (n = 97) consisting of students from the teacher-training programme at University West, which had not and did not include ESD. We find positive effects of ESD on almost all attitudes and perceptions, including e.g., personal responsibility in relation to SD and willingness to contribute to SD, while there is no noticeable effect in the control group. We conclude the paper by discussing the implications of our results for the idea of ESD in teacher training programmes at Swedish higher education institutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development; education; environment; teacher training sustainable development; education; environment; teacher training
MDPI and ACS Style

Andersson, K.; Jagers, S.C.; Lindskog, A.; Martinsson, J. Learning for the Future? Effects of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) on Teacher Education Students. Sustainability 2013, 5, 5135-5152.

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