E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

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: 31 March 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Mercè Junyent

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Website | E-Mail
Interests: education for sustainability; teacher education; ESD competencies; curriculum greening
Guest Editor
Dr. Gisela Cebrián

Universidad Camilo José Cela
Website | E-Mail
Interests: education for sustainability; organizational change; educational leadership; ESD competencies; action research
Guest Editor
Dr. Ingrid Mulà

Universitat de Girona
Website | E-Mail
Interests: education for sustainability; higher education; institutional change; professional development; ESD competencies

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 1700 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 (7 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-7
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Development and Validation of an Instrument for Measuring Student Sustainability Competencies
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1717; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061717 (registering DOI)
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
PDF Full-text (714 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle 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
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 16 March 2019
PDF Full-text (2723 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle 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
Received: 14 February 2019 / Revised: 10 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
PDF Full-text (1054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle 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
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
PDF Full-text (647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Holistic Approaches to Develop Sustainability and Research Competencies in Pre-Service Teacher Training
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3698; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103698
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (843 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Proposed Model of Sustainable Construction Skills for Engineers in Chile
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3093; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093093
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 21 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3275 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

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
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
PDF Full-text (576 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)
Figures

Figure 1

Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top