Special Issue "Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mercè Junyent
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, G5-126 Campus UAB—Bellaterra, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
Interests: education for sustainability; teacher education; ESD competencies; curriculum greening
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Gisela Cebrián
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education Sciences and Psychology, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Campus Sescelades, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
Interests: education for Sustainability; organisational change; educational leadership; ESD competencies; action research
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ingrid Mulà
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Educational Research, Universitat de Girona, 17004 Girona, Spain
Interests: education for sustainability; higher education; institutional change; professional development; ESD competencies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly reflects the urgency to embed the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) into all levels of education. Education is explicitly formulated as a stand-alone goal—Sustainable Development Goal 4. Numerous education-related targets and indicators are also contained within other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ESD aims at developing competencies that empower individuals to reflect on their own actions, taking into account their current and future social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts, from a local and a global perspective. Individuals as part of society should also be empowered to act in complex situations in a sustainable manner, which may require them to strike out in new directions; and to participate in socio-political processes, moving their societies towards sustainable development.

ESD has to be understood as an integral part of quality education, inherent in the concept of lifelong learning: all educational institutions—from preschool to higher education and in non-formal and informal education—can and should foster the development of sustainability competencies. ESD is holistic and transformational education that addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the learning environment. It should create interactive, learner-centred teaching and learning settings. It asks for an action-oriented, transformative pedagogy, which supports self-directed learning, participation and collaboration, problem-orientation, inter- and transdisciplinarity and the linking of formal and informal learning to the development of key sustainability competencies. Further empirical research is needed on the development, assessment tools and the impact of new policies and programs related to ESD competencies.

This special issue focuses on ESD competencies from preschool to higher education and in non-formal and informal education. Suggested topics include:

  • Integration of ESD competencies in policies, strategies and programmes
  • Innovative pedagogical approaches to ESD competencies
  • Curriculum developments—teaching and learning practices to develop ESD competencies
  • Processes and tools to assess ESD competencies
  • Connecting quality education with ESD competencies development
  • Professional development in ESD (teachers, university staff, non-formal educators, etc.)
  • Inclusion of ESD competencies in teacher education

References:

Barth, M., Godemann, J., Rieckmann, M., & Stoltenberg, U. (2007). Developing key competencies for sustainable development in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 8(4), 416-430.

Cebrián, G. & Junyent, M. (2015). Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development: Exploring the Student Teachers’ Views. Sustainability, 7(3), 2768-2786.

García, M.R, Junyent, M. & Fonolleda, M. (2017). How to assess professional competencies in Education for Sustainability?: An approach from a perspective of complexity. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 18(5), 772-797.

Kagawa, F. (2007). Dissonance in students' perceptions of sustainable development and sustainability: Implications for curriculum change. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 8(3), 317-338.

Lambrechts, W., Mulà, I., Ceulemans, K., Molderez, I., & Gaeremynck, V. (2013). The integration of competences for sustainable development in higher education: an analysis of bachelor programs in management. Journal of Cleaner Production, 48, 65-73.

Lozano, R., Merrill, M.Y., Sammalisto, K., Ceulemans, K. & Lozano, F.J. (2017). Connecting Competences and Pedagogical Approaches for Sustainable Development in Higher Education: A Literature Review and Framework Proposal. Sustainability, 9, 1-15.

Sandri, O., Holdsworth, S. & Thomas, I. (2018). Vignette question design for the assessment of graduate sustainability learning outcomes, Environmental Education Research, 24(3), 406-426.

Segalàs, J., Ferrer-Balas, D., Svanström, M., Lundqvist, U. & Mulder, K.F. (2009). What has to be learnt for sustainability? A comparison of bachelor engineering education competences at three European universities. Sustainability Science, 4(1), 17-27.

Shephard, K., Harraway, J., Lovelock, B., Mirosa, M., Skeaff, S., Slooten, L., Strack, M., Furnari, M., Jowett, T. & Deaker, L. (2015). Seeking learning outcomes appropriate for ‘education for sustainable development’ and for higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(6), 855-866.

Sipos, Y., Battisti, B., & Grimm, K. (2008). Achieving Transformative Sustainability Learning: Engaging Head, Hands and Heart. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 9(1), 68-86.

Sleurs, W. (2008). Competencies for ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) teachers: A framework to integrate ESD in the curriculum of teacher training institutes - Comenius 2.1 project 118277-CP-1-2004-BE-Comenius-C2.1. Available at: http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/esd/inf.meeting.docs/EGonInd/8mtg/CSCT%20Handbook_Extract.pdf (accessed 15 March 2011).

Stibbe, A. (Ed.). (2009). The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: Skills for a changing world. Devon: Green Books.

Thomas, I. (2009). Critical Thinking, Transformative Learning, Sustainable Education, and Problem-Based Learning in Universities. Journal of Transformative Education, 7(3), 245-264.

Tilbury, D. (2011). Education for Sustainable Development: An Expert Review of Processes and Learning. Paris: UNESCO. Available at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001914/191442e.pdf

UNECE. (2012). Learning for the future: Competences in Education for Sustainable Development. Geneva: UNECE. Available at: http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/esd/ESD_Publications/Competences_Publication.pdf

UNESCO (2017). Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives. Paris: UNESCO. Available at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002474/247444e.pdf

Wals, A. E. J. (2010). Mirroring, Gestaltswitching and transformative social learning. Stepping stones for developing sustainability competence. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 11(4), 380-390.

Watson, M.K., Lozano, R., Noyes, C. & Rodgers, M. (2013). Assessing curricula contribution to sustainability more holistically: Experiences from the integration of curricula assessment and students' perceptions at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Journal of Cleaner Production, 61, 106-116.

Wiek, A., Withycombe, L., & Redman, C. L. (2011). Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science, 6, 203–218.

Dr. Mercè Junyent
Dr. Gisela Cebrián
Dr. Ingrid Mulà
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ESD competencies
  • Education developments
  • Professional development
  • Competences’ assessment
  • Quality education

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development: Emerging Teaching and Research Developments
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020579 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly reflects the urgency to embed the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) into all levels of education. ESD, understood as an integral part of quality education and all educational institutions, from preschool to higher education [...] Read more.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly reflects the urgency to embed the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) into all levels of education. ESD, understood as an integral part of quality education and all educational institutions, from preschool to higher education and in nonformal and informal education, can and should foster the development of sustainability competencies. This Special Issue entitled “Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development” responds to this urgency and the papers presented deliver recent developments in the field of ESD competencies. They focus on various perspectives: systematic literature reviews; curriculum developments; meta-analysis of the interrelation between sustainability content, competencies developed and pedagogical approaches used; testing and validation of evaluation tools and processes for sustainability competencies; and the development of conceptual models focused on different subject areas and educational levels (higher education, primary education, rural schools, external support services to schools, and extracurricular activities). The contributions indicate how the field of ESD competencies in the area of sustainability has become a major focus in recent years. Further research efforts need to be put into operationalizing sustainability competencies and developing tools to measure and evaluate students’ and educators’ competencies development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle
Competences to Address SDGs in Higher Education—A Reflection on the Equilibrium between Systemic and Personal Approaches to Achieve Transformative Action
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3664; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133664 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Competence-oriented teaching that leads to the sustainable transformation of both the individual and society requires a holistic learning process that addresses the cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural domains of learning in a balanced way. This article questions whether a personal dimension of competences (addressing [...] Read more.
Competence-oriented teaching that leads to the sustainable transformation of both the individual and society requires a holistic learning process that addresses the cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural domains of learning in a balanced way. This article questions whether a personal dimension of competences (addressing the individual’s values, attitudes, and lived experiences) is relevant for higher education in addition to the systemic dimension (learning objectives emphasizing cognitive processes). A theoretical concept for analysing competence frameworks from this point of view was developed in a multi-step qualitative research process: two existing competence frameworks underpinning international ESD policies were compared and, based on the findings, an analytical tool to analyse competence dimensions was drafted as a two-dimensional matrix. This tool was tested on competence frameworks reported in the literature and on examples from practice in confrontation with related academic discussion. The analysis of sustainability competences with this tool illustrates the transformative dimension on a scale from holistic thinking through future orientation to achieving transformation, and the normative dimension that indicates the complementarity of the personal and systemic character of competences. The analysed competence frameworks include competences more or less evenly distributed in both dimensions; the competences in the socio-emotional learning domain were often associated with envisioning change and achieving sustainable transformation. As anticipating the future in an active way is relevant for sustainability-oriented HE programs, not only should this dimension of competences be afforded greater consideration, but pedagogies addressing the personal level should also be further investigated and implemented in HE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Transforming Consumer Behavior: Introducing Self-Inquiry-Based and Self-Experience-Based Learning for Building Personal Competencies for Sustainable Consumption
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2550; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092550 - 02 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Despite growing educational efforts in various areas of society and albeit expanding knowledge on the background and consequences of consumption, little has changed about individual consumer behavior and its detrimental impact. Against this backdrop, some scholars called for a stronger focus on personal [...] Read more.
Despite growing educational efforts in various areas of society and albeit expanding knowledge on the background and consequences of consumption, little has changed about individual consumer behavior and its detrimental impact. Against this backdrop, some scholars called for a stronger focus on personal competencies, especially affective–motivational ones to foster more sustainable consumption. Such competencies, however, are rarely addressed within the context of education for sustainable consumption. Responding to this gap, we suggest two new learning formats that allow students to systematically acquire affective–motivational competencies: self-inquiry-based learning (SIBL) and self-experience-based learning (SEBL). We developed these approaches at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany, since 2016, and applied them within the framework of two seminars called Personal Approaches to Sustainable Consumption. Conducting scholarship of teaching and learning, we investigated the potential of SIBL and SEBL for cultivating personal competencies for sustainable development in general and sustainable consumption in particular. Our results indicate that SIBL and SEBL are promising approaches for this purpose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Technique, Creativity, and Sustainability of Bamboo Craft Courses: Teaching Educational Practices for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2487; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092487 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The 18-year history of bamboo craftsmanship in the university curriculum of Taiwan started with the popularization of concepts such as green design, community building, and cultural and creative industries. Bamboo is an environmentally-friendly material that has received much attention in the 21st century. [...] Read more.
The 18-year history of bamboo craftsmanship in the university curriculum of Taiwan started with the popularization of concepts such as green design, community building, and cultural and creative industries. Bamboo is an environmentally-friendly material that has received much attention in the 21st century. Craftsmanship has drawn the attention of universities. This study uses participatory observation and interviews to collect information on bamboo craft courses in four departments of three universities and uses qualitative coding analysis to explore the sustainable teaching methods of craftsmanship teachers, sustainable development learning effects on students, and different ways of promoting sustainable development education (ESD) with bamboo craft courses in different universities. The research results show the following: (1) There are differences in bamboo craft courses: teachers’ craftsmanship and curricula are different, resulting in differences in technical depth and creativity; (2) with respect to the ESD evaluation criteria of the four bamboo craft courses, skills learning itself is not complete, but students are provided with a path to self-reliance in the craft and in responding to cultural sustainability challenges; and (3) regarding the relationship between ESD and bamboo craft education, bamboo craft education promotes the concept of sustainability and is important for the creation of crafts; universities offer opportunities for testing students’ technical talents and knowledge, but ESD is limited and blurry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Acquisition of Competences for Sustainable Development through Visual Thinking. A Study in Rural Schools in Mixco, Guatemala
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082317 - 17 Apr 2019
Abstract
The acquisition of competences for sustainable development can be promoted in educational contexts through Visual Thinking. This study is based on the implementation of the Visual Arts in Education (VA.E) project and the development of a programme of socialization and training for teachers [...] Read more.
The acquisition of competences for sustainable development can be promoted in educational contexts through Visual Thinking. This study is based on the implementation of the Visual Arts in Education (VA.E) project and the development of a programme of socialization and training for teachers of schools in area 6 of the city of Mixco in Guatemala. The participant observation and research action are the core methodological tools to study four key competences, namely critical analysis, systemic analysis, collaborative work or work through projects, and commitment to society. The results were obtained from the analysis of the competences and capacities acquired during the training process, in which students and teachers participated and expressed through observable learning conducts or achievements. The proposal aims to contribute to the study of the impact of Visual Thinking as a tool for teaching-learning of students in rural schools, and of teaching practices based on the acquisition of competences for sustainable development that can be assumed by teachers in all educational levels and contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Defining Sustainability Core Competencies in Business and Management Studies Based on Multinational Stakeholders’ Perceptions
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082303 - 17 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
One of the concerns in our time is the need to integrate economic, social and environmental aspects, which is known as sustainable development. The role of higher education is essential for providing future professionals with the necessary profiles to respond to the sustainability [...] Read more.
One of the concerns in our time is the need to integrate economic, social and environmental aspects, which is known as sustainable development. The role of higher education is essential for providing future professionals with the necessary profiles to respond to the sustainability challenges in increasingly complex and global contexts. That is why numerous authors have sought to define key competencies, skills and learning outcomes for sustainability. However, there is still no agreement on what these key competencies for sustainability in higher education really are. For that reason, the objective of this paper is to determine which are the sustainability core competencies, considering three different geographical regions (Europe, Latin America, and Central Asia), and the perspective of four different stakeholders (graduates, employers, students and academics). The framework of the research is the development of the so-called Tuning projects, which aim to design comparable and compatible higher education degrees in different regions of the world, based on student-centered and competency-based learning. Using an exploratory factor analysis (EFA), the results of this study reveal the existence of a factor intimately related to sustainability, which includes competencies such as commitment to the preservation of the environment, social responsibility or respect for diversity and multiculturality, among others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Didactic Strategies to Promote Competencies in Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2086; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072086 - 08 Apr 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Higher education is a principal agent for addressing the sustainable development goals proposed by the 2030 Agenda, because of its key mission of knowledge generation, teaching and social innovation for sustainability. In order to achieve this, higher education needs to integrate transversally the [...] Read more.
Higher education is a principal agent for addressing the sustainable development goals proposed by the 2030 Agenda, because of its key mission of knowledge generation, teaching and social innovation for sustainability. In order to achieve this, higher education needs to integrate transversally the values of sustainability in the way of developing the field of management, as well as research, university life and, of course, teaching. This paper focuses on teaching, and more specifically on the didactic strategies considered most relevant for training in sustainability competencies in college students, according to the guidelines commonly accepted by the international academic community. Through collaborative work among experts from six Spanish universities taking part in the EDINSOST project (education and social innovation for sustainability), funded by the Spanish R&D+i Program, in this paper the role of five active learning strategies (service learning, problem-based learning, project-oriented learning, simulation games and case studies) in education for sustainability are reviewed, and a systematic approach of their implementation in higher education settings is presented. The results provide a synthesis of their objectives, foundations, and stages of application (planning, implementation, and learning assessment), which can be used as valuable guidelines for teachers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle
Implementing Competence Orientation: Towards Constructively Aligned Education for Sustainable Development in University-Level Teaching-And-Learning
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1891; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071891 - 29 Mar 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
The call for integration of competences in tertiary education for sustainable development (ESD) has been heard. Helpful competence models for ESD are available but little exists about how to put them into practice. As illustrated in this article in an initial review of [...] Read more.
The call for integration of competences in tertiary education for sustainable development (ESD) has been heard. Helpful competence models for ESD are available but little exists about how to put them into practice. As illustrated in this article in an initial review of competence models for change agency, this is not easy because competences are fundamentally context-bound and generalized models make little sense. Faculty staff who wish to foster competences for SD therefore need help with contextualising and operationalising competences. They often lack the pedagogic-didactic understanding needed to implement competence orientation in their teaching, in an institutional context where knowledge transmission is traditionally rated higher than competence development. Using a reflective practitioner approach, this paper addresses the need for methodological guidance by introducing a heuristic procedure and a didactic planning tool from adult education that enable lecturers to establish coherent ESD teaching-and-learning environments and curricula: the tree of science model and constructive alignment. Two case studies show how these instruments can be used to increase coherence when operationalising competences for SD. The article concludes by outlining three factors that foster integration of competence orientation in ESD: pedagogic-didactic tools, professional development for ESD, and institutional change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Devising a Competence-Based Training Program for Educators of Sustainable Development: Lessons Learned
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1890; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071890 - 29 Mar 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Over recent decades, education policy has been preoccupied with economic growth while paying insufficient heed to global sustainability challenges. International initiatives to promote education for sustainable development (ESD) have been hampered by a lack of clarity on how to implement this form of [...] Read more.
Over recent decades, education policy has been preoccupied with economic growth while paying insufficient heed to global sustainability challenges. International initiatives to promote education for sustainable development (ESD) have been hampered by a lack of clarity on how to implement this form of education. To address this concern, a Rounder Sense of Purpose (RSP) began as a three-year EU-funded project that set out to develop a practical accreditation model for educators working on ESD. Expert and user opinion was sought through several rounds of structured consultation with over 500 people, chiefly using a Delphi approach, to develop and validate the model. The resulting framework comprises 12 competences, each with three learning outcomes and several underpinning components. This is supported by a range of activities largely reflecting a constructivist pedagogy. A range of assessment techniques have also been piloted within the project although this remains an area for further enquiry. Ultimately, it was decided not to design a single qualification template because defining the award to such a level of detail would make it more difficult to apply across multiple jurisdictions. Partners also felt that such an approach would atomize learning in a way that runs counter to the holistic principles of sustainability. RSP provided a rich learning experience for those involved and has already demonstrated its potential to extend its impact well beyond the original participants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Validation of an Instrument for Measuring Student Sustainability Competencies
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1717; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061717 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
The importance of education, and ESD in particular, for achieving sustainable development is highlighted in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since the Brundtland Report (1987) and the Agenda 21 conference in Rio in 1992, many measures and programs have been [...] Read more.
The importance of education, and ESD in particular, for achieving sustainable development is highlighted in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since the Brundtland Report (1987) and the Agenda 21 conference in Rio in 1992, many measures and programs have been launched. However, no widely accepted and validated assessment instruments are currently available to examine the output levels of ESD on the student side as a means to contribute to monitoring the effects of ESD initiatives. Furthermore, connections to the results of empirical educational research are often lacking. Indeed, operationalization is necessary in order to evaluate actions of fostering ESD. Taking concepts of empirical educational and other relevant research findings (for example, psychology for sustainability) into account, this study develops a reliable and valid approach to measuring sustainability competencies. In this paper, novel data of a first school assessment is presented. One thousand six hundred and twenty-two students (aged from 9 to 16) participated in the survey. The paper-pencil questionnaire covers general (socio-demographic) as well as cognitive, affective, behavioral, application- and curriculum-orientated aspects of sustainability competencies. The evidence for the validity and reliability of the instrument indicates that the presented assessment tool constitutes a suitable instrument by which to measure sustainability competencies in secondary schools. The gathered insights show a path towards the operationalization of sustainability competencies to clarify the needs and achievements of ESD implementation in schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Teaching Sustainability in European Higher Education Institutions: Assessing the Connections between Competences and Pedagogical Approaches
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1602; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061602 - 16 Mar 2019
Cited by 17
Abstract
There has been considerable progress in the incorporation of sustainable development (SD) into higher education institutions’ curricula. This has included research on competences for SD and pedagogical approaches used; however, there has been limited research on the connection between how pedagogical approaches are [...] Read more.
There has been considerable progress in the incorporation of sustainable development (SD) into higher education institutions’ curricula. This has included research on competences for SD and pedagogical approaches used; however, there has been limited research on the connection between how pedagogical approaches are used and how they may develop sustainability competences. A survey was developed, based on the ‘connecting sustainable development pedagogical approaches to competences’ framework, to investigate sustainability being taught, sustainability competences developed, and pedagogical approaches used in European higher education institutions. The survey was sent to a database of more than 4000 contacts from which 390 complete responses (9.80%) were obtained. The results show that the social dimension was the least addressed at 18% of responses, while the economic, environmental, and cross-cutting dimensions were addressed almost equally. The correlation analyses showed a relation between the contribution to sustainability and the strength of competences, and between the strength of competences and the strength of pedagogical approaches. The results from the survey helped to update the theoretical framework, which provides a more precise perspective on how sustainability competences can be better developed in class, and how to better develop all the sustainability competences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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A Professional Competences’ Diagnosis in Education for Sustainability: A Case Study from the Standpoint of the Education Guidance Service (EGS) in the Spanish Context
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061568 - 14 Mar 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Currently, all members of the educational community have a relevant role in the development of professional competences on the sustainability of students. This is supported by the findings obtained by different research studies carried out in different countries and which show the need [...] Read more.
Currently, all members of the educational community have a relevant role in the development of professional competences on the sustainability of students. This is supported by the findings obtained by different research studies carried out in different countries and which show the need to characterize and evaluate the practice of EGS as key agents in the training and counseling of teachers on sustainability topics, which, in turn, is the goal of this study. To address this, we have conducted an exploratory study based on the case study of EGS members in the metropolitan area of Granada (Spain) that has helped us to profile the professional practice of its members in the development of professional competences in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Answers to a questionnaire provided by 43 teachers who are linked to the EGS have been investigated in addition to an interview to six formal members of the EGS. Results evidence that transmit some values over others correlates positively with the type of competences for sustainability that they promote. Therefore, this shows the interrelation of these competencies with the teaching-learning process and, consequently, with the promotion of an education for sustainability. We conclude that counseling on participatory methodologies, working on values, competences, and curricular sustainability, as well as the cross-curricular nature of the content that is imparted, are the most effective ways from which these teacher guidance services can promote the development of professional competences linked to sustainability in schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Integrating Sustainability into Higher Education Curricula through the Project Method, a Global Learning Strategy
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030767 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Higher levels of material well-being lead almost inevitably to giving priority to individualism and personal advancement, often at the expense of civic conscience. A proposal for integrating sustainability into the curriculum is presented in the third year of the degree in Early Childhood [...] Read more.
Higher levels of material well-being lead almost inevitably to giving priority to individualism and personal advancement, often at the expense of civic conscience. A proposal for integrating sustainability into the curriculum is presented in the third year of the degree in Early Childhood Education at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC). Projects on sustainable food are planned and elaborated to this aim. This study seeks to apply a global and systemic approach to solving socio-environmental problems and to check whether education for sustainable development (ESD) helps to develop and encourage actions that promote sustainable development. Quantitative research was conducted using a pre-test/post-test quasi experimental design separated by a period of didactic training in the project method. The results presented in this article show the students’ sustainability competencies (SC) improve after working on didactic proposals in a global manner. It is concluded that elaborating competencies in education for sustainable development enables an integrated approach of knowledge, procedures, attitudes and values in teaching through promoting the project method in multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams, which enhances future teachers’ sustainability competencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Holistic Approaches to Develop Sustainability and Research Competencies in Pre-Service Teacher Training
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3698; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103698 - 15 Oct 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect, both UNESCO and other international organisations recommend empowering youth to implement the SDGs in universities. Getting started with the SDGs at university level is of special relevance in pre-service teacher training since future teachers [...] Read more.
Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect, both UNESCO and other international organisations recommend empowering youth to implement the SDGs in universities. Getting started with the SDGs at university level is of special relevance in pre-service teacher training since future teachers are powerful agents of change in the lives of young people. Future teachers need to acquire competencies in sustainability to be able to promote meaningful changes in sustainable behaviour. To that end, holistic approaches to facilitate their acquisition need to be developed. The aim of this study is to explore which teaching methodologies are suitable for the development of competencies in sustainability and research in Higher Education (HE). The participants taking part in the study are students in pre-service teacher training. The experimental educational model used for the development of competencies in sustainability and research consists of a methodological sequence of Project-Oriented Learning (POL) and a Cross-disciplinary Workshop on Sustainable Food. This study provides evidence that POL is an excellent methodology for developing competencies in sustainability and facilitates the relationship between sustainability and research competencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Proposed Model of Sustainable Construction Skills for Engineers in Chile
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3093; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093093 - 30 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The training of engineers in sustainable construction (SC) is becoming increasingly studied, since sustainable construction not only improves the quality of life of people, but also provides comprehensive solutions to the environmental problems we face today and thus takes care of the needs [...] Read more.
The training of engineers in sustainable construction (SC) is becoming increasingly studied, since sustainable construction not only improves the quality of life of people, but also provides comprehensive solutions to the environmental problems we face today and thus takes care of the needs of future generations. This research is in line with the National Strategy for Sustainable Construction (NSSC) from the Chilean Government. One of the NSSC challenges is the training of engineers capable of adapting to the SC requirements. Although the competences in sustainability for the training of engineers has been discussed in other researchs, it has not been specifically in sustainable construction and it have not been grouped in a model that considers their degree of importance. The purpose of this article is to present a conceptual model can be used to design and evaluate engineering training programs in SC. The methodology to establish the skills and the proposed training model consists of three stages: Theoretical Phase, Methodological Phase and Validation Phase (surveys and interviews). 113 professionals who performed activities related to SC answered the survey. Interviews were conducted with five experts in training in different SC aspects. Three global skills are identified as: Sustainable Evaluation, Sustainable Construction Certification, and Sustainable Facility Management. In addition, the degree of importance of skills associated with these global skills was identified and assessed. There are five skills necessary for the future engineer, among them, two stand out: teamwork (collaborative) and ethics. Finally, the order of importance of the topics in SC is: energy, environment comfort, water, waste, and construction materials. A future investigation is recommended to apply the proposed conceptual model to current engineering training programs, both national and international. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessReview
A Systematic Review of the Use of Agile Methodologies in Education to Foster Sustainability Competencies
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102915 - 22 May 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Life-long learning and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the current fast-evolving and ever-changing society requires modern pedagogical tools and methodologies that help the transmission of key competencies such as coping with uncertainty, adaptability, creativity, dialog, respect, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, responsibility and systemic [...] Read more.
Life-long learning and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the current fast-evolving and ever-changing society requires modern pedagogical tools and methodologies that help the transmission of key competencies such as coping with uncertainty, adaptability, creativity, dialog, respect, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, responsibility and systemic thinking. The recent trend of the application of Agile methodologies for the management of projects in different fields can be a valuable tool to convey these competencies due to the participative, collaborative and constructionist principles in which they are deeply rooted. Some experiences of the application of Agile Methodologies in education—originating what is known as Agile Education—are, therefore, starting to appear in the literature. This work carries out a systematic review to analyze how this modern pedagogical tool is being used to foster key sustainable development competencies in the field of education. Results are presented for 11 out of 121 analyzed studies which present a direct link between key ESD competencies and Agile Education. It is shown that Agile Education creates a learning environment favorable for the creation of responsible and sustainable citizens while improving the performance, satisfaction and motivation of both faculty and students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessReview
Students’ Decision-Making in Education for Sustainability-Related Extracurricular Activities—A Systematic Review of Empirical Studies
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3876; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113876 - 25 Oct 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Equipping students with the capability to perform considerate decision-making is a key competence to elaborate socio-scientific issues. Particularly in the socio-scientific context of sustainable development, decision-making is required for the processing of information and the implementation of sustainable action. Extracurricular activities in education [...] Read more.
Equipping students with the capability to perform considerate decision-making is a key competence to elaborate socio-scientific issues. Particularly in the socio-scientific context of sustainable development, decision-making is required for the processing of information and the implementation of sustainable action. Extracurricular activities in education for sustainable development (ESD) offer a suitable format to promote decision-making due to their multidisciplinary and more informal structure. The purpose of this literature review is therefore to analyze empirical studies that explore students’ (1) decision-making in (2) ESD-related (3) extracurricular activities. Following the preferred-reporting of items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a systematic search yielded 19 out of 365 articles, each of them addressing all three components. Despite the theoretical relationship, hardly any empirical enquiry is found examining the trinomial interrelation with an equal consideration of all components. Contrarily, we argue that each is positioned in favor for only one component with the others serving as a backdrop. It follows that the full potential of an equal distribution between all three foci has not been explored yet; even though integrating sustainability-related issues in extracurricular activities displays a promising learning opportunity to optimally foster students’ decision-making. Instead, studies that concentrate primarily on decision-making as a quantitatively measurable competence were predominant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Other

Open AccessConcept Paper
A Competency Framework to Assess and Activate Education for Sustainable Development: Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals 4.7 Challenge
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2832; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102832 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
The UN Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (herein, Agenda 30) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer both a set of aspirations for the kind of future we would like to see for the world and a suite of [...] Read more.
The UN Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (herein, Agenda 30) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer both a set of aspirations for the kind of future we would like to see for the world and a suite of targets and indicators to support goal implementation. Goal 4 promotes quality education and Target 4.7 specifically addresses Education for Sustainability. However, creating a monitoring and evaluation framework for Target 4.7 has been challenging. The aim of this research was to develop a meaningful assessment process. We used a dialogical intervention across complementary expertises and piloted concepts in a trainer workshop. We then developed a modified competency framework, drawing on previous competency models but innovating through the addition of intrapersonal competencies, a self-reflective validation scheme, a focus on non-formal learning, and specific alignment with SDG 4.7 requirements. Through exploration of how such learning could be activated, we proposed the use of multiple intelligences. Education plays a synergistic role in achieving the aspirations embedded within Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. We concluded that Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) will require individuals to acquire ‘key competencies’, aligning with notions of transformational learning, in addition to other generic and context specific competencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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