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Education for Sustainable Development and Teaching: Challenges, Practice and Research

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 2022) | Viewed by 24605

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Rijeka, 51 000 Rijeka, Croatia
Interests: education for sustainable development; preschool and teacher education; environmental education; connectedness to nature; sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka, 51 000 Rijeka, Croatia
Interests: education for sustainable development; methodology in social sciences
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology (FISPPA), University of Padova, Via Beato Pellegrino, 28, 35137 Padova, Italy
Interests: project evaluation; research in education; ICT; e-learning; education for sustainable development; entrepreneurship in education, psychology, and music education
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

SDG 2030 includes 17 global goals that are not achievable without education for sustainable development (ESD). Modern approaches to ESD include interdisciplinary sciences, transformational learning, and the active role of students [1–3].

The implementation of ESD in systems at all levels of education depends on a number of factors, most notably the role of teachers. The final report of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, titled "Shaping the Future We Want" [4], explicitly emphasizes that when it comes to the continuous professional development of preschool and primary school teachers and overall educators, it is necessary to more significantly work on this aspect of education and develop it further. Therefore, it is necessary to review the existing models of education and professional development of educators [5,6]. Educators, namely teachers, are the most important components between students and ESD, and their role is to foster connections with nature, empathy, and positive attitudes about the environment, which are values, attitudes, and behaviors that will be the foundation for more sustainable lifestyles and thus will contribute to SDG 2030 [7].      

This Special Issue of Education Sciences attempts to answer significant questions encompassing a number of factors that are an integral part of ESD-focused practice and that influence initial teacher education and professional development. [8]

  • What are the preconditions for the successful implementation of ESD in education systems at all levels? 
  • What do they depend on, or what factors? How can a more significant connection of children/pupils/students with nature be encouraged, and thus the development of knowledge, values, attitudes, and behaviors meeting the SDG 2030?
  • What are the characteristics of a modern teacher who implements ESD?
  • What are his/her personality traits, values, abilities, and competencies? 

How can we improve teacher education and lifelong professional development for ESD? What are some examples of good practice and research of modern ESD in kindergartens, schools, and universities?
How can digital technology-based education systems respond to these challenges in the context of the “pandemic experiences” of ESD implementation? What are these new pedagogies and new ways of teaching and learning in ESD during the time of COVID-19?

Such a broad goal of this issue of Education Sciences provides an opportunity to view and analyze the problems of modern ESD and professional development of educators in facing the challenges of SDG 2030, but also the challenges of the current era, which are influenced by digital technologies and the global pandemic of COVID-19. 

We invite all interested scientists, practitioners, researchers, and stakeholders who are considering and researching these topics to contribute to the actualization of these complex and significant issues in a world that is undoubtedly changing and seeking new approaches to dealing with ESD. 

References 

  1. Biasutti, M. An intensive programme on education for sustainable development: The participants’ experience, Environmental Education Research, 2015, 21(5), 734–752. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2014.921805
  2. Biasutti, M., T. De Baz, & H. Alshawa. Assessing the Infusion of Sustainability Principles into University Curricula, Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 2016, 18 (2), 21–40. https://doi.org/10.1515/jtes-2016-0012
  3. Biasutti, M. & Frate S. A validity and reliability study of the Attitudes toward Sustainable Development scale, Environmental Education Research, 2017, 23 (2), 214–230, https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2016.1146660
  4. UN (2012). The future we want. Outcome document of the United Nations conference on sustainable development. UN https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/733FutureWeWant.pdf (accessed 2 December 2020).
  5. Biasutti, M, Concina E, & Frate S. Social Sustainability and Professional Development: Assessing a Training Course on Intercultural Education for In-Service Teachers, Sustainability, 2019, 11 (5), 1238, https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051238
  6. Biasutti, M, Makrakis, V., Concina E, Frate S. Educating academic staff to reorient curricula in ESD. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 2018, 19 (3). http://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-11-2016-0214
  7. Vukelić, N.; Rončević, N. Vinković, A. (2019) Competencies for Education for Sustainability: Student Teachers’ Perspectives // Collection of papers "Quality of Education: Global Development Goals and Local Strategies" / Orlović Lovren, V. ; Peeters, J. ; Matović, N. (Ed.). Beograd, Srbija: Univerzitet u Beogradu (Srbija) i Ghent University (Belgija), 2019. pp 83–96.
  8. Anđić, D. (2020). Continuing professional development of teachers in Education for Sustainable Development – case study of the Republic of Croatia. Teacher development, 2020, 24, 1–22. https://www.bib.irb.hr/1051020

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in Education Sciences.

Prof. Dr. Dunja Anđić
Prof. Dr. Nena Rončević
Prof. Dr. Michele Biasutti
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2400 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

  • education for sustainable development
  • teacher education
  • educators
  • connectedness to nature
  • personal traits
  • schools
  • lifelong education
  • professional development

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 5074 KiB  
Article
Financial Anxiety among International Students in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis between International Students in the United States of America and China
by Frank Okai Larbi, Zaoming Ma, Zheng Fang, Florina Oana Virlanuta, Nicoleta Bărbuță-Mișu and Görkem Deniz
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3743; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14073743 - 22 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 9708
Abstract
Financial anxiety is one of the most stress-causing factors, destabilizing students’ academic activities and performance. This study investigated whether there was any financial anxiety in international students in higher education institutions by comparing students in the USA and mainland China. The study employed [...] Read more.
Financial anxiety is one of the most stress-causing factors, destabilizing students’ academic activities and performance. This study investigated whether there was any financial anxiety in international students in higher education institutions by comparing students in the USA and mainland China. The study employed a random-effect ordered probit model that utilised a sample size of 3953 international students during the academic years 2017–2019. The findings showed a significantly low rate of financial anxiety among international students in the United States, while international students in China experienced a highly significant financial anxiety as far as academic life was concerned. Additionally, a robustness check using marginal effects in probit showed a positive life satisfaction towards financial behaviour after the study period in the USA, while a negative life satisfaction towards financial behaviour existed in mainland China. Nevertheless, the study put forward vital recommendations to help address this phenomenon and strengthen the relationship between international students and administrators of higher education institutions in both countries. Full article
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13 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
Mapping Knowledge and Training Needs in Teachers Working with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Investigation
by Ruxandra Folostina, Cristina Dumitru, Claudia Iuliana Iacob and Christine K. Syriopoulou-Delli
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2986; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052986 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2313
Abstract
Countries seek to implement sustainable policies for supporting professionals working with students with an autism spectrum disorder. These policies can advance more slowly in developing states like Romania and Greece. As such, this study aimed to investigate the reported knowledge and training needs [...] Read more.
Countries seek to implement sustainable policies for supporting professionals working with students with an autism spectrum disorder. These policies can advance more slowly in developing states like Romania and Greece. As such, this study aimed to investigate the reported knowledge and training needs of professionals working with ASD students to inform policymakers. Using a cross-sectional design, 475 Romanian and 211 Greek specialists completed an online questionnaire on the following dimensions: diagnosis and assessment of ASD, management of behavioural problems in ASD students, communication skills, technology, teaching, and e-learning platforms. The results showed that Greek professionals have higher levels of ASD knowledge compared to Romanian respondents (MGreece = 15.2, SDGreece = 4.22; MRomania = 13.7, SDRomania = 3.88; U = 39703, p < 0.001). There is also a significant need for training on all the investigated dimensions in both countries, with greater training needs in Romania than in Greece (MGreece = 26, SDGreece = 2.98; MRomania = 27.2, SDRomania = 1.84; U = 35556, p < 0.001). Both countries reported the lowest level of knowledge in innovative teaching technologies and high training needs using an e-learning platform. The results emphasise important gaps in the educational programmes for ASD professionals. Full article
15 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Teaching Sustainable Development in a Sensory and Artful Way—Concepts, Methods, and Examples
by Harald Heinrichs
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13619; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413619 - 09 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2565
Abstract
Despite significant short-term pressures such as the recent Coronavirus pandemic with its economic and social disruptions, longer-term environmental un-sustainability and its projected intergenerational consequences remain a major threat for the future of mankind. More and new efforts are required in all social spheres [...] Read more.
Despite significant short-term pressures such as the recent Coronavirus pandemic with its economic and social disruptions, longer-term environmental un-sustainability and its projected intergenerational consequences remain a major threat for the future of mankind. More and new efforts are required in all social spheres with regard to the universal Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, the present article makes the argument for teaching sustainable development in higher education with a more sensory and artful approach, in order to raise students’ awareness of the multisensory reality of human existence and develop skills to engage creatively for sustainability transformations. Rooted in the perspective of sensory and arts-based sustainability science, three experimental bachelor courses—designed and conducted by the author of this article in collaboration with artists—with twenty to twenty-five students in each course from diverse disciplinary backgrounds in environmental studies, cultural studies, and social sciences are presented and discussed. It is argued that the specific course design and the scientific-artistic co-teaching provide an innovative way to teach sustainability topics in a more sensory way. The article ends with an outlook on potentials and challenges of this approach. Full article
14 pages, 1763 KiB  
Article
Determining Pre-Service Teachers’ Intention of Using Technology for Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
by Lim Lai Wah and Harwati Hashim
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147568 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4585
Abstract
The advancement of technology has led to a paradigm shift in the educational system, especially in classrooms. Technological tools have been used for language teaching in recent years, and it is proven that the use of technology enhances teaching and learning experiences. However, [...] Read more.
The advancement of technology has led to a paradigm shift in the educational system, especially in classrooms. Technological tools have been used for language teaching in recent years, and it is proven that the use of technology enhances teaching and learning experiences. However, the researchers lamented the lack of use of technology by pre-service to teach English as a second language (ESL). This study aims to investigate factors that influence pre-service teachers’ intention of using technology for teaching ESL. This research applied the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) with some modifications to the constructs. Using simple random sampling, this study distributed questionnaires to 257 ESL pre-service teachers in Malaysia. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM) were used to analyse the data. The findings showed that technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK) had a significant positive effect on the intention to incorporate technology in teaching. This study provides knowledge on the factors that influence ESL pre-service teachers’ intention to use technology in the classroom. It is hoped that this study can provide information for teacher training institutions to develop strategies and a new framework to address pre-service teachers’ concerns in technology utilisation for teaching ESL. As a conclusion, further study could be conducted qualitatively to better understand the subject matter. Full article
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Review

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21 pages, 1045 KiB  
Review
What Teachers Should Know for Effective Marine Litter Education: A Scoping Review
by E. I. Ahmad-Kamil, Sharifah Zarina Syed Zakaria and Murnira Othman
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14074308 - 05 Apr 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2952
Abstract
Marine litter has had a huge impact on the marine environment and the socio-economic activities that depend on healthy oceans. All members of the community must play their part to address marine litter. Teachers are agents of change that are capable of encouraging [...] Read more.
Marine litter has had a huge impact on the marine environment and the socio-economic activities that depend on healthy oceans. All members of the community must play their part to address marine litter. Teachers are agents of change that are capable of encouraging pro-environmental practices among the community that will reduce environmental issues, including marine litter. However, teachers were found to have limited knowledge regarding ocean literacy and marine pollution. A scoping review was conducted to identify various aspects of content knowledge related to marine litter education that has been recently conducted for school teachers and students. Web of Science, Scopus and ERIC databases were searched for articles published in English between 2015 and 8 July 2021. Fourteen peer-reviewed articles were selected for this study and were subjected to content analysis. Topics related to marine litter were frequently addressed. Meanwhile, topics related to teaching Environmental Education/Education for Sustainable Development (EE/ESD) were the least addressed. Benthic marine litter, solutions to marine litter and the introduction of new types of marine litter were identified as topics that need to be addressed in future marine litter education. This study lists content knowledge based on previous literature and identified the gaps, which will be useful for teachers to improve their knowledge and implement effective marine litter education in school. Full article
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