Special Issue "Teaching and Learning for Sustainability"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Arto O Salonen Website E-Mail
Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies,University of Eastern Finland, Yliopistonranta 1 E, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland
Interests: behavioral change, systems change, sustainable society, sustainable well-being

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability is to bring together empirical and theoretical research from different fields in the quest for good life on the finite planet. Too often, education reproduces the existing worldviews, value systems, and practices. In the Anthropocene era, transformative learning and transdisciplinary approaches are very much needed. Our common desirable future on planet Earth is described by Agenda 2030: “We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.”

Teaching and Learning for Sustainability focuses on social and behavioural changes to have sustainable lifestyle and culture. The approach of the Special Issue is transdisciplinary, where ecological, social, and economic aspects can be linked. A viewpoint of your article submitted to the Special Issue can focus on climate education, global education, human rights education, environmental education, or future education. Additionally, deliberation concerning the adoption of eco-social education emphasizing a responsible relationship with the world is warmly welcomed.

Dr. Arto O Salonen
Guest Editor

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

  • transformative learning
  • social change
  • behavioural change
  • sustainable lifestyle
  • sustainable culture
  • non-formal and informal learning
  • education for sustainability
  • climate education
  • global education
  • human rights education
  • future education
  • eco-social approach to education

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Is Sustainability about Education for Life Satisfaction?
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030612 - 24 Jan 2019
Abstract
Our planet is undergoing a comprehensive transformation [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Training Secondary Education Teachers through the Prism of Sustainability: The Case of the Universitat de València
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4170; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114170 - 13 Nov 2018
Abstract
Designing the training of future teachers through holistic and interdisciplinary visions is vital to developing coherent contents, epistemologies, and methodologies that put Education for Sustainability into action. The research presented here analyzes the teaching guides from the curriculum for the Master’s Degree in [...] Read more.
Designing the training of future teachers through holistic and interdisciplinary visions is vital to developing coherent contents, epistemologies, and methodologies that put Education for Sustainability into action. The research presented here analyzes the teaching guides from the curriculum for the Master’s Degree in Secondary Education Teaching at the Universitat de València (Spain). A collaborative study on the inclusion of sustainability in a selected sample of teaching guides was conducted from an Action/Research methodological approach. The study includes an analysis of the competences identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and their expected contribution to the 17 SDGs in the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The results of this research point to the need to promote collaborative work across disciplines in order to engage teachers in the transition to sustainability and encourage them to participate in the research process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Innovative Education in MOOC for Sustainability: Learnings and Motivations
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 2990; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10092990 - 23 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This research project analyzes the motivation and learning perceived by the participants in four Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that use innovative education strategies in order to train the community in Education for Sustainability. These MOOCs were delivered during 2017 and the study [...] Read more.
This research project analyzes the motivation and learning perceived by the participants in four Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that use innovative education strategies in order to train the community in Education for Sustainability. These MOOCs were delivered during 2017 and the study forms part of the subproject “Open, Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Innovation to Train in Energy Sustainability through MOOCs”, which was offered in the portal of the Binational Laboratory for Intelligent Energy Sustainability Management and Technology Training. The method utilized was mixed, with a triangulation design approach according to the convergence model. This method consisted of two phases: the first being quantitative, with an online survey designed by experts in a Likert type scale, and the second being qualitative, in which valuations of the users were collected through diverse instruments such as focus groups and observations. The results obtained demonstrate the advantages of designing MOOCs that make use of innovative tools, in order to engage the students as much as possible, and the collateral impact on the development of digital abilities and skills in addition to the learning acquired with respect to sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
“Oh This Learning, What a Thing It Is!”—Putting Sustainability First in Teaching Techniques and in Content
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2803; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082803 - 08 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Although sustainability has become a strategic topic at many universities, working towards a learning approach in which sustainability is the fundament underlying and permeating the entire course is hardly straightforward. This paper is a case study on the development, the teaching, and the [...] Read more.
Although sustainability has become a strategic topic at many universities, working towards a learning approach in which sustainability is the fundament underlying and permeating the entire course is hardly straightforward. This paper is a case study on the development, the teaching, and the evaluation of one specific course that aims to achieve this. Based on (participant) observation, documents, and discussion with students and other stakeholders, we describe and analyze the results of the transformation of the course ‘advanced management accounting techniques’ for Masters students at the University of Groningen, in the academic year 2017–2018. We show how the course was transformed in a way to increase both a general, a business, and an accounting awareness of the importance of sustainability, while also applying a new teaching approach, namely lemniscate learning, to support this. Our course was the first in the faculty to make this transformation, and although the majority of the students were enthusiastic, the faculty staff was cautiously positive. In presenting our findings, we aim at supporting educators and other stakeholders at universities, by supplying a case study on the transformation of our course, and by scrutinizing the problems that we encountered, the feedback, both positive and negative, that we received, and the challenges that still face us, both on a course and a university level. Thus, we hope to be a source of inspiration and advice for others and to further advance our understanding of the dilemmas, practicalities, and challenges in working towards sustainability in teaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
University Contributions to the Circular Economy: Professing the Hidden Curriculum
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2719; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082719 - 02 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
In a world dominated by linear economic systems, the road to improving resource use is multi-faceted. Whilst public and private organisations are making progress in introducing sustainable practices, we ask ourselves the extent to which education providers are contributing to the circular economy. [...] Read more.
In a world dominated by linear economic systems, the road to improving resource use is multi-faceted. Whilst public and private organisations are making progress in introducing sustainable practices, we ask ourselves the extent to which education providers are contributing to the circular economy. As engines for skills and knowledge, universities play a primary role in propelling circular economy approaches into reality and, as such, hold the potential for raising the bar on sustainable performance. A rapid evidence assessment (REA) was therefore undertaken to examine the interactions between university estate management and the circular economy. This assessment identified six pertinent themes: campus sustainability, the hidden curriculum, environmental governance, local impact, university material flows, and the role of universities as catalysts for business and examined 70 publications. A second part of the study reviewed the environmental activities of 50 universities ranked highly in terms of their environmental credentials or their environmental science courses. The results are presented and then discussed in terms of how universities can affect material flows, promote sustainability outside of the formal curriculum, and act as catalysts with business. The economic significance of universities provides an appreciable demand for circular products and services. Universities should develop “hidden curriculum” plans to promote improved environmental behaviours of staff and students. Universities can also catalyse a circular economy by working with business to improve eco-effectiveness as well as eco-efficiency. For example, projects should extend the focus from decreasing carbon footprint to achieving carbon positivity, from improving water efficiency to treating wastewater, and from recycling to reverse logistics for repurposing. Pilot projects arising from such work could provide valuable research bases and consultancy opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Building a More Sustainable Society? A Case Study on the Role of Sustainable Development in the Education and Early Career of Water and Environmental Engineers
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2605; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082605 - 25 Jul 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Engineering education is critical for sustainability, given the key role that engineers have in shaping the development of our society. Yet, engineering studies have traditionally not been driven by sustainability-related knowledge and skills, but focused more on general computational skills and technical problem-solving. [...] Read more.
Engineering education is critical for sustainability, given the key role that engineers have in shaping the development of our society. Yet, engineering studies have traditionally not been driven by sustainability-related knowledge and skills, but focused more on general computational skills and technical problem-solving. This has also been the case in our case study, which focuses on recent water and environmental engineering graduates in Finland. We studied the role that sustainable development has had in their education and early career through an extensive questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The analysis was done in two ways: indirectly by comparing how well the key working life knowledge and skills recognized by the respondents correspond with sustainability-related skills, and directly by studying the graduates’ views towards the sustainable development and their possibilities to advance it in their work. The results show that although sustainability was not at the core of respondents’ studies, their key competencies correspond well with sustainability-related working life skills. The respondents also see that sustainable development has a central role in water and environmental engineering, although it is typically more visible at a strategic rather than a practical level. However, the results also indicate that several early-career engineers have deficient knowledge of sustainable development, and are therefore lacking the ability to fully connect the principles of sustainable development into their own expertise. Overall, the findings suggest that water and environmental engineers with their wide set of competencies have the potential to take on a larger role in building a more sustainable society. To ensure this, engineering education should emphasize the connection between the field and sustainable development and clearly link engineers’ core competencies with the skills required to promote sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Researcher–Planner Dialogue on Environmental Justice and Its Knowledges—A Means to Encourage Social Learning Towards Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2601; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082601 - 24 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Societies aiming for a sustainable future need more effective and legitimate planning and decision making practices, in which various actors together find pathways towards a sustainable transition. In this paper, we approach sustainability and environmental justice as epistemological (and ontological) challenges for land-use [...] Read more.
Societies aiming for a sustainable future need more effective and legitimate planning and decision making practices, in which various actors together find pathways towards a sustainable transition. In this paper, we approach sustainability and environmental justice as epistemological (and ontological) challenges for land-use planning, and empirically analyse how action research could support planners’ social learning and planning towards fair and sustainable development. We analysed qualitatively the evolution of the researcher–planner dialogue while co-designing and developing better methods, means and practices to improve environmental justice in regional scale planning in Kymenlaakso Region, South-East Finland. We found that researcher-planner dialogue developed during cooperation. While in the beginning, social learning related to approaching environmental justice as a fair distribution of power evolved incrementally, later, when dialogue became more focused, communicative and reflective as an outcome of mutual frames and trust, learning occurred in a more transformative way. Such transformative learning concerned recognising youth as a silent group in the planning process and the means to involve their perceptions in planning. In order to support sustainability transformation in the future, we conclude that it is essential to create opportunities for such incremental and transformative social learning through innovative modes of interaction in various contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Designing a Real-World Course for Environmental Studies Students: Entering a Social-Ecological System
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2546; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072546 - 20 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
There is increasing interest in using “real-world pedagogy” to train students in ways that make them better able to contribute toward a more sustainable society. While there is a robust body of literature on the competencies that students need as sustainability professionals, there [...] Read more.
There is increasing interest in using “real-world pedagogy” to train students in ways that make them better able to contribute toward a more sustainable society. While there is a robust body of literature on the competencies that students need as sustainability professionals, there is a lack of specific guidance in the literature on how to teach for competency development or on how to structure a program or course to support competency development. Our research addresses this gap in the literature through a description and autoethnographic reflection on the design and early implementation of a “real-world” course. The course is from the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH, USA), but it takes place in the environs of the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre in the Namib Desert of Namibia and in nearby Topnaar settlements. Our research objective was to articulate strategies to address the primary pedagogical challenges that we faced during the design and first five iterations of the course. These include: How do we frame this course and communicate it to students in a way that is understandable and works within the particular context and constraints of the course? Can we provide students with a coherent framework that helps them to understand the approach and also provides a platform for thoughtful consideration, acquisition, and retention of appropriate competencies? How do we develop collaborations with our community partners that are ethical and effective? How do we frame these real-world experiences in a way that allows for students to integrate their experience with the theory and broader empiricism they learn on campus? To address these pedagogic challenges, we framed the course as a research-based course, more specifically community-based research (CBR), conducted in a social-ecological system (SES). We developed lower-level strategies for implementing this framing, including preparing students for collaborative research, encouraging student ownership of their learning, linking theory to research, and thoughtfully navigating time constraints. Furthermore, program-level and student-level engagement with community have been critical for avoiding becoming “helicopter researchers.” Drawing on our personal reflections and those of our community partners, we conclude with a discussion of emergent outcomes and the next steps for continual improvement and adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of an ESD Indicator for Teacher Training and the National Monitoring for ESD Implementation in Germany
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2508; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072508 - 18 Jul 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a core element of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) Target 4.7, which seeks to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development through education for sustainable development. The German Federal Ministry [...] Read more.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a core element of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) Target 4.7, which seeks to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development through education for sustainable development. The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) followed suit in 2015 and launched a high scale national monitoring of the current state of ESD implementation. In this context, suitable ESD indicators should be analyzed to inform policy and research agendas. The present project is part of the national monitoring within Germany’s Global Action Program (GAP) actions. The research team at the University of Education in Freiburg conducted a study to evaluate the accessibility of data and the measurability of ESD-relevant teacher training (TT). During the two-step procedure for data collection on ESD-relevant TTs in Germany, an extensive list of ESD related search terms first captured 66,935 TTs with possible ESD relevance in the evaluation period. Second, the collected data was analyzed using Mayring’s qualitative content analysis. The 66,935 TTs were thereby reduced to 3818 TTs with different degrees of ESD relevance. The results of the evaluation study show that suitable ESD indicators, the FESD (formula for the ESD-indicator for TTs) (basic), FESD (basic, rated) and FESD (pro), could be developed and calculated for 15 of 16 federal states in Germany. The gathered insights show a path towards ESD monitoring in TT to clarify the needs and achievements of ESD implementation in the field of continuing education of teachers. However, the presented indicators only show a possible path for ESD indicator development. A comprehensive set of ESD indicators should also focus on the micro or output (e.g., ESD competencies) level. These insights for the future seem worth striving for not only in Germany or on the national level but also internationally to foster ESD, Target 4.7 of the SDGs and the SDGs in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Protecting Life on Land and Below Water: Using Storytelling to Promote Undergraduate Students’ Attitudes toward Animals
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2479; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072479 - 16 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The framework of Global Education 2030 Agenda suggests 17 learning objectives for sustainability education. Restoring the human–animal relationship is a core task emphasized by Goals 14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land). This study investigated the effect of using storytelling, focusing [...] Read more.
The framework of Global Education 2030 Agenda suggests 17 learning objectives for sustainability education. Restoring the human–animal relationship is a core task emphasized by Goals 14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land). This study investigated the effect of using storytelling, focusing on the thematic topic of wild animals, as an integrated part of learning about attitude toward wild animals. It addressed the major question: how could the students’ perceptions concerning the human–animal relationship be changed? The participants were 31 university students majoring in a variety of subjects. Qualitative inquiry using a personal meaning map (PMM) and online in-depth focus group interview explored the students’ perceptions of wild animals and their learning experience. The results showed the students’ changing attitudes toward wild animals at the end of the storytelling session. In the focus group interview students reported the process of their storytelling regarding the invention the stories. In conclusion, storytelling, featuring the adoption of multiperspectives, addressed imagination and empathy and promoted an understanding of the ethical relationship between wild animals and human beings. The educational implication of storytelling appealed to a holistic approach, engaging an interdisciplinary classroom practice in defining humanity in relation to the nonhuman world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Rethinking Consumerism from the Perspective of Religion
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2454; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072454 - 13 Jul 2018
Abstract
Due to the global challenges that are posed by the Anthropocene and the academic focus on the fragmented state of modernity, we extend an invitation for shared dialogue on the all-pervading nature of consumerism as the seemingly problematic ethos of Western consumer culture. [...] Read more.
Due to the global challenges that are posed by the Anthropocene and the academic focus on the fragmented state of modernity, we extend an invitation for shared dialogue on the all-pervading nature of consumerism as the seemingly problematic ethos of Western consumer culture. To this end, we outline a way to approach consumerism as an implicit religion, theorized as having adopted functionalities related to explicitly faith-based traditions within secular settings. We suggest that a similar kind of holistic and multidimensional approach might be of great benefit in the implementation of sustainability, as this would allow, e.g., (i) a more holistic analysis of the all-pervading nature of consumerism; (ii) acknowledgement of the functional diversity of the phenomenon; (iii) recognition of the shallowness of the critique of consumerism as a way of life; and, (iv) shared dialogue across a spectrum of academic perspectives under a unified model. This approach problematizes standard interpretations of consumerism as being about the promotion of the individual against the collective and as leading to a general sense of purposelessness. The perspective of religion reveals how patterns of consumption become illuminated with meaning and connected to a shared way for individuals to articulate a sense of purpose in contemporary contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Environmental Awareness and Its Relationship with the Concept of the Living Being: A Longitudinal Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2358; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072358 - 06 Jul 2018
Abstract
There is currently a growing theoretical discussion about the foundations that underlie the development of environmental awareness and nature care in early childhood. The aim of this study is to analyze how the environmental concerns of young children emerge and evolve during early [...] Read more.
There is currently a growing theoretical discussion about the foundations that underlie the development of environmental awareness and nature care in early childhood. The aim of this study is to analyze how the environmental concerns of young children emerge and evolve during early childhood and whether these concerns are connected to an understanding of the biological notion of the living being. This study is designed to address methodological limitations of previous studies through a longitudinal axis and an extensive age sample. A sample of 178 children between the ages of four and nine participated at two different testing times for a period of one year. The methodology includes the categorization of various images of living beings and inert entities in order to analyze their understanding of living organisms. Dilemmas involving environmental, moral and socio-conventional situations are presented to examine and compare how young children view transgressions against plant life. The results reveal that young children’s judgments about environmental behaviors may arise before the development of an understanding of the concept of the living being. It is therefore proposed that this type of understanding does not support environmental awareness. Previous research indicates that complex biological concepts may be successfully introduced at the preschool age, provided that suitable educational interventions are designed for the initial stages of education. In this regard, there is evidence that a basic understanding of the issue of the ecological interactions among organisms may be achieved in the preschool years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Pathways to Equitable and Sustainable Education through the Inclusion of Roma Students in Learning Mathematics
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072191 - 27 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Education is a key feature in the development of an agenda for a sustainable world. Education usually is associated with developing a responsible and ethical citizenship, aware of the main challenges for a sustainable development. Mathematics used to play a role as gatekeeper [...] Read more.
Education is a key feature in the development of an agenda for a sustainable world. Education usually is associated with developing a responsible and ethical citizenship, aware of the main challenges for a sustainable development. Mathematics used to play a role as gatekeeper to achieve good educational performance. This article explores six case studies of Roma developing successful learning stories in learning mathematics. We identify five main characteristics in their educational trajectories that may explain Roma students’ success in the school. This article moves forward previous studies characterizing Roma cultural features of mathematics learning, reporting stereotypes towards Roma in school. We conclude that in order to promote educational inclusion, successful stories may inform effective educational programs that, ultimately, may lead towards a sustainable education, including students from the most disadvantaged groups, as in the case of the Roma people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
From Learner-Centered to Learner-Driven Sustainability Education
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072190 - 27 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Learner-centered sustainability education has been advocated to be used in higher education, but the pedagogy is blurry. In the discussions, also an idea of a learner-driven approach has been promoted. The aim of this study is to study how these pedagogies have been [...] Read more.
Learner-centered sustainability education has been advocated to be used in higher education, but the pedagogy is blurry. In the discussions, also an idea of a learner-driven approach has been promoted. The aim of this study is to study how these pedagogies have been described and suggested to be used by a group of higher education students responsible for planning a teacher education course on sustainability education. This case study uses grounded theory to analyze the higher education students’ beliefs about learner-centered and learner-driven sustainability education. The data was obtained from audio-recordings of the planning process and two semi-structured interviews of five students acting as course designers. The course designers showed to have beliefs about the nature of learner-centered/learner-driven pedagogy, freedom, meaningfulness, acting and making an influence in the learning environment, the nature and ownership of sustainable development knowledge, the diversity of the learners, and pedagogical support. The results indicate that the learner-centered and learner-driven approach are fundamentally different in terms of all of the categories. In conclusion, it is suggested that the terminology concerning learner-centered and learner-driven approaches should be more precise, and sustainability education should be developed towards a more transformative, learner-driven education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Mechanisms and Pedagogical Counterforces of Young People’s Social Exclusion: Some Remarks on the Requisites of Social Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2166; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072166 - 25 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper is focused around the concept of social exclusion and its underlying factors. Social exclusion—just as its opposite, social inclusion—is seen as a relationship between an individual’s life course and society. In modern society, this relationship becomes ever more complex, increasing the [...] Read more.
This paper is focused around the concept of social exclusion and its underlying factors. Social exclusion—just as its opposite, social inclusion—is seen as a relationship between an individual’s life course and society. In modern society, this relationship becomes ever more complex, increasing the probability of social exclusion. This complexity will be discussed from the viewpoint of socialization of young people. Education, employment, and citizenship are regarded as fundamental determinants of social exclusion. This paper constructs a novel theoretical understanding of the phenomenon of social exclusion and its pedagogical counterforces within the framework of social sustainability through philosophical conceptual analysis. The problem field is based on the example of Finland, where social exclusion of young people has become an important issue in political debate, despite the population’s extensive social rights. In conclusion, the importance of holistic-systemic modeling is highlighted as a foundation for an integrated and coordinated system of political and educational interventions. Pedagogical counterforces against social exclusion are discussed particularly in the light of the concept of social sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
An Assessment of Critical Reflection in Management Education for Sustainability: A Proposal on Content and Form of Shared Value Rationality
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2091; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062091 - 20 Jun 2018
Abstract
This article describes and analyzes a proposal for the teaching-learning of strategic management for business students, from the angle of critical reflection (CR) presuppositions. The proposal was designed to broaden the dominant rationality in teaching strategies at business schools and has been in [...] Read more.
This article describes and analyzes a proposal for the teaching-learning of strategic management for business students, from the angle of critical reflection (CR) presuppositions. The proposal was designed to broaden the dominant rationality in teaching strategies at business schools and has been in progress since 2011 in a Brazilian business school. We argued that changes in the organizational environment and in competition demand not only a review of strategy theoretical content, but also of the way that strategy is taught with more critical and reflective teaching-learning approaches. We conducted a survey to analyze the results of this educational experience from students’ points of view. Considering a sample of 165 undergraduate students who have taken the course since its implementation, we evaluated the students’ CR levels. The results present implications for professors, business schools, and researchers, revealing challenging aspects and also CR enhancers in the context of the undergraduate strategy initiative. We expect that the described experience can be replicated and improved in comparative studies in different geographical and disciplinary contexts, encouraging the evaluation and promotion of CR in the teaching of strategic management in business education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Refugee Students in Spain: The Role of Universities as Sustainable Actors in Institutional Integration
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2082; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062082 - 19 Jun 2018
Abstract
This article examines the role of institutions—particularly universities—in the recent refugee crisis. It contributes to the debate on the integration of refugees through the higher education system in Spain. Based on semi-structured interviews with refugees and experts in the institutions linked to the [...] Read more.
This article examines the role of institutions—particularly universities—in the recent refugee crisis. It contributes to the debate on the integration of refugees through the higher education system in Spain. Based on semi-structured interviews with refugees and experts in the institutions linked to the reception and integration of refugees, the paper presents evidence—albeit within an under-developed field of analysis—which has strong practical and sustainable policy implications. I argue that expanding access to university, by recognizing refugees’ qualifications and their overcoming of language barriers, increases the potential of refugees to contribute to the socio-economic progress of the receiving country and thus avoid marginalization. The evidence-based analysis of the effectiveness of the existing initiatives and programs for the integration of student refugees identifies challenges that still need to be addressed. The conclusions highlight the role of universities as sustainable actors in the integration of refugees, which through their programs make the reality of refugees more visible to other actors throughout Europe in the hope of encouraging institutions and other organizations to follow their lead in effective and sustainable initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Designing Learning for Sustainable Development: Digital Practices as Boundary Crossers and Predictors of Sustainable Lifestyles
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062030 - 15 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sustainable development (SD) is a multidimensional issue. However, research findings report a divide between students’ awareness and behavior. It is identified that study programs are designed more for awareness outcomes, and not so much for behavioral outcomes. For higher-order learning outcomes manifested in [...] Read more.
Sustainable development (SD) is a multidimensional issue. However, research findings report a divide between students’ awareness and behavior. It is identified that study programs are designed more for awareness outcomes, and not so much for behavioral outcomes. For higher-order learning outcomes manifested in a sustainable development behavior, the authors argue for a model based on an understanding of learning as boundary crossing. Based on this model, learning for sustainable development occurs in relating social practices, lifestyles, academic practices, professional practices, and students’ digital practices. To inform teachers’ approaches to teaching as an important driver of institutional change, we conducted a survey among students of urban and spatial planning in Slovenia. Examined factors included personal, academic, and digital predictors for sustainable development awareness, lifestyle, and behavioral intention. We hypothesized that a significant predictor for sustainable development behavior, which was measured as sustainable lifestyle and sustainable development behavioral intention, would be learning in social practices, and that learning in social practices would predict preferred teaching methods. The findings of hierarchical regression analysis indicated personal factors as the most important predictors of SD behavioral intention, and academic predictors as the most important factors for SD awareness. Digital practices were found to be the most important predictors of a sustainable lifestyle. Social practices of sustainable lifestyle, digital practices, and perceived teaching methods predicted students’ preferred teaching methods. We discuss the future directions of sustainable development education, considering digital social media practices as essential boundary crossers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Crafting Sustainability: Handcraft in Contemporary Art and Cultural Sustainability in the Finnish Lapland
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1907; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061907 - 07 Jun 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Crafting sustainability is discussed here with respect to the dimensions of handcraft traditions in contemporary art for promoting cultural sustainability in the Scandinavian North. Aspects of decolonization, cultural revitalisation, and intergenerational dialogue form an integral part of the negotiations around the need for [...] Read more.
Crafting sustainability is discussed here with respect to the dimensions of handcraft traditions in contemporary art for promoting cultural sustainability in the Scandinavian North. Aspects of decolonization, cultural revitalisation, and intergenerational dialogue form an integral part of the negotiations around the need for cultural survival and renewal for a more sustainable future. These dimensions should also be considered in the development of the current education of art teachers. Learning traditional skills and applying them in contemporary art constitute an influential method when striving for cultural sustainability. This study examines three handcraft-based contemporary art cases through art-based action research conducted in the Finnish and the Swedish Lapland. The results show that handcraft-based contemporary art practices with place-specific intergenerational and intercultural approaches create an open space for dialogue where the values and the perceptions on cultural heritage can be negotiated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Writing a Recipe for Teaching Sustainable Food Systems: Lessons from Three University Courses
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1898; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061898 - 06 Jun 2018
Abstract
The sustainability of the food system is at the forefront of academic and policy discussions as we face the challenge of providing food security to a growing population amidst environmental uncertainty and depletion, social disruptions, and structural economic shocks and stresses. Crafting a [...] Read more.
The sustainability of the food system is at the forefront of academic and policy discussions as we face the challenge of providing food security to a growing population amidst environmental uncertainty and depletion, social disruptions, and structural economic shocks and stresses. Crafting a sustainable and resilient food system requires us to go beyond disciplinary boundaries and broaden critical and creative thinking skills. Recent literature calls for examples of pedagogical transformations from food systems courses to identify successful practices and potential challenges. We offer a recipe for what to teach by framing systems thinking concepts, then discuss how to teach it with five learning activities: deductive case studies, experiential learning, reflective narrative learning, system dynamics simulations and scenarios, and inductive/open-ended case studies, implemented with collaborative group learning, inter/trans-disciplinarity, and instructor-modeled co-learning. Each learning activity is animated with concrete examples from our courses at Oregon State University, University of Minnesota, and University of Vermont, USA. We discuss opportunities and challenges implementing these strategies in light of student, instructor, and institutional expectations and constraints. But the challenge is worth the effort, because food system transformation requires active learners and systemic thinkers as engaged citizens, food system advocates, entrepreneurs, and policy makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Literacy on Ecotourism: A Study on Student Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavioral Intentions in China and Taiwan
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061886 - 05 Jun 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This study aims to gain further insights to Chinese and Taiwanese university students’ environmental literacy on ecotourism. A structural equation model is developed and validated in an effort to explore the differences between Chinese and Taiwanese university students in terms of their environmental [...] Read more.
This study aims to gain further insights to Chinese and Taiwanese university students’ environmental literacy on ecotourism. A structural equation model is developed and validated in an effort to explore the differences between Chinese and Taiwanese university students in terms of their environmental knowledge, environmental attitude, and behavioral intentions. The results showed that the ecotourism perception of Chinese and Taiwanese university students affect their behavioral intentions. Chinese university students exhibited a higher correlation between ecotourism knowledge and behavioral intentions than their Taiwanese counterparts. The findings also revealed differences between the Chinese and Taiwanese students in their perception of ecotourism, and this disparity was particularly evident with regards to how ecotourism should be governed. A moderate difference in ecotourism behavioral intentions was also identified, in which Taiwanese university students were less likely to engage in self-empowerment or private empowerment, to be more educated in the field of ecotourism than their Chinese counterparts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
An Exploratory Study of the Learning of Transferable Skills in a Research-Oriented Intensive Course in Atmospheric Sciences
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051385 - 01 May 2018
Abstract
Transferable skills, such as learning skills as well as oral and written communication skills, are needed by today’s experts. The learning of transferable skills was studied during a multidisciplinary two-week, research-oriented intensive course in atmospheric sciences. Students were assessed on their experience of [...] Read more.
Transferable skills, such as learning skills as well as oral and written communication skills, are needed by today’s experts. The learning of transferable skills was studied during a multidisciplinary two-week, research-oriented intensive course in atmospheric sciences. Students were assessed on their experience of learning data analysis, writing reports and articles, oral presentation, learning and teaching, as well as project and time management skills and the importance of learning these transferable skills in the beginning and at the end of the course. The learning outcomes were constructively aligned with the course and it supported the learning of transferable skills needed by researchers working with multidisciplinary research questions. The methods of teaching were group work, data analysis of real scientific questions and real scientific data, a few expert lectures, discussions with experts and peer-support, and the course evaluation that was based on the groups’ oral presentations and a written report. The groups consisted of seven to eight students and four to six assistants who were working side-by-side for the period of the course. Students considered data analysis, including the formulation of research questions, as the most important transferable skill of the course and stated that it was also what they learned the most. We conclude that the students felt that working with real scientific questions and data in multidisciplinary groups supports the learning of transferable skills. The findings suggest that the students may have learned transferable skills from peers, assistants, and teachers while working in small groups of students in different stages of their studies. The study was conducted from student feedback from one course only, but we have observed while organizing over 50 similar courses that working on real scientific questions and data in a multidisciplinary and multicultural course has been motivating for both the teachers and the students. We recommend this method to be used by research groups who are training the future generation of researchers and experts in atmospheric sciences and other fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Teaching and Learning about Biomass Energy: The Significance of Biomass Education in Schools
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040996 - 28 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Biomass energy can mitigate climate change, revitalize rural economies, and achieve energy independence. Using biomass energy as subject matter content, American agricultural education programs at the secondary school level can prepare future agricultural professionals with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills to solve [...] Read more.
Biomass energy can mitigate climate change, revitalize rural economies, and achieve energy independence. Using biomass energy as subject matter content, American agricultural education programs at the secondary school level can prepare future agricultural professionals with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills to solve complex issues. Through a state-wide survey (N = 100) in the U.S., this study found agriculture teachers’ interest in biomass energy is motivated by economic, environmental, pedagogical, and learning factors. Nine relevant topics were determined as high training needs perceived by teachers. Teacher educators are recommended to incorporate the four factors and nine topics in planning, delivering, and evaluating in-service training programs of biomass energy for agriculture teachers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring a Third Space for Sustainable Educational Development—HIV/AIDS Prevention, Zambia
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040946 - 23 Mar 2018
Abstract
This study was conducted in Zambia from 2002 to 2008, a country greatly affected by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic. The global, national, as well as local discourses on spread and mitigation were clustered around scientific knowledge and [...] Read more.
This study was conducted in Zambia from 2002 to 2008, a country greatly affected by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic. The global, national, as well as local discourses on spread and mitigation were clustered around scientific knowledge and the local context and cultural traditions. The education sector struggled with implementing the national HIV/AIDS education strategy but by a broader stakeholder involvement, and a close collaboration between the educational sector and tribal chiefs and their traditional internal structures, a localized approach emerged. The overall objective of the paper is to illustrate how a multi-voiced strategy can bring about sustainable change, illustrated by this study. The study used qualitative constructivist and grounded theoretical approaches, and applied the third generation of cultural and historical activity theory (CHAT) as an analytical tool. Bernstein’s concept, symbolic control, contributes to a broader understanding of the underlying processes and outcomes of the study. The findings revealed that the strategically monitored multi-voiced participation of local stakeholders created a learning space where both scientific and indigenous knowledge were blended, and thereby creating solutions to preventive action meeting the local needs. The study exemplifies these processes by identifying contradictions between the various levels and activity systems involved, by listing some of their characteristics, manifestations and finally their negotiated solutions. These solutions, or the third space interventions, the outcome of the multi-voiced participation, is in the paper used to explore a theoretical framework for an ethical and decolonized development strategy; a precondition for sustained local development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Values (2-MEV) and Appreciation of Nature
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020350 - 30 Jan 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
When monitoring the long history of empirical instruments for environmental attitude measurement, the Two Major Environmental Value model (2-MEV) with its two higher order factors: Preservation (PRE) and Utilization (UTL) has repeatedly and independently been confirmed. PRE assesses preferences towards conservation of nature [...] Read more.
When monitoring the long history of empirical instruments for environmental attitude measurement, the Two Major Environmental Value model (2-MEV) with its two higher order factors: Preservation (PRE) and Utilization (UTL) has repeatedly and independently been confirmed. PRE assesses preferences towards conservation of nature and the environment, whilst UTL measures preferences towards utilization/exploitation of nature. The latter, however, does not yet include the positive aspects of benefitting from the (enjoyable) use of nature. Consequently, besides the established 2-MEV-battery, additional items from an “Appreciation of Nature” (APR) scale were applied to an Irish sample of 289 secondary school students (age: M = 14.3 years). Responses to the altogether 30-item battery were applied on an oblique rotation by using the Promax procedure: UTL and PRE appeared as orthogonally related factors, APR correlated to PRE with 0.283. Based on loading scores, the item number for each subscale was further reduced to make the analysis more manageable in educational outreach sites; on those sites, where completing questionnaires may well be quite unpopular, they are very much needed for planning and fine-tuning educational programs. Therefore, extending the 2-MEV scale with an added scale for Appreciation may help: (i) to judge participants’ feedback for adjusting/balancing program contents better; and (ii) to promote appreciation as a successful strategy for shifting individuals away from their individual exploitative preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying the Virtuous Circle of Humanity Education and Post-Graduate Employment: Evidence from a Confucian Country
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010202 - 15 Jan 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
As education for sustainable development receives continuing attention, universities provide regular courses, education programs, and individual activities on human rights, diversity, and corporate responsibilities. This study conducts an empirical analysis of a virtuous circle between experience in extracurricular programs as part of humanity [...] Read more.
As education for sustainable development receives continuing attention, universities provide regular courses, education programs, and individual activities on human rights, diversity, and corporate responsibilities. This study conducts an empirical analysis of a virtuous circle between experience in extracurricular programs as part of humanity education and performance in the labor market based on Education–Career matched data of 15,180 students who graduated from one of the Confucian-based universities between 2008 and 2015. The analysis found that employment is positively affected by not only grades but also extracurricular activities related to humanities, such as completion of an education and practice course on etiquette and social service activities. These findings are significant in verifying that the level of refinement of university students and their participation in social volunteering can have positive effects on employment, thereby leading to the sustainability of a virtuous circle between education and social and economic activities. Therefore, universities should formulate an educational system that integrates expertise, human growth, equality, and human rights, and firms should establish a specific employment manual to identify the invisible characteristics of job seekers to facilitate the sustainability of a virtuous circle between education and social and economic activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessCommentary
Rethinking Teaching of Basic Principles of Economics from a Sustainability Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051486 - 09 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this paper, we posit that sustainability warrants explicit recognition in the teaching of basic principles of economics. The conventional exposition of conceptual and analytic frameworks in basic principles in almost all standard economics textbooks overlooks at least two basic flaws. The first [...] Read more.
In this paper, we posit that sustainability warrants explicit recognition in the teaching of basic principles of economics. The conventional exposition of conceptual and analytic frameworks in basic principles in almost all standard economics textbooks overlooks at least two basic flaws. The first of these concerns the collection of residual externalities that exist without being internalized in market transactions and hence fall outside the calculus of national income accounting. For example, not all energy resource prices capture the entirety of the damages inflicted on natural ecosystems. The cumulus of residual externalities threatens the feasibility of sustainability. The second flaw is the absence of sustainability as a necessary condition in the fundamental benchmark of perfect competition (PC). Sustainability, when explicitly introduced in the PC benchmark, results in significant changes to conceptual premises in economics. The most significant of such changes concerns the axiomatic differentiation between “goods” and “bads”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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