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Enabling action-oriented and transformative learning for sustainability in vocational teacher education. Example from The University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Conference paper
Authors Ingrid Henning Loeb
Charlotta Kvarnemo
Published in AARE Conference, Melbourne. 28/11-1/12, 2016
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Educational Sciences


Sustainable development has been a theme in the vocational teacher education at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, since autumn 2013. It is organized as part of a 7.5 credit course on evaluation and development work in schools. 30% of this course has a focus on sustainable development and this educational unit is provided by researchers and teacher from the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. The purpose of this unit is aligned with the dimensions of Educational Sustainable Development (ESD), put forth by Unesco. It addresses learning content on sustainable development in schools and the students are provided pedagogical models for ESD. In this paper, we present the content and form of this educational unit, analyse the pedagogical models that the students have worked. This is carried out as group project for two weeks, where they plan how a ESD task could be carried out in their specific VET program in Upper secondary education. In the end of the paper, we also reflect on the results provided by the student course evaluations that we have received since 2013 (student evaluations from eight semesters). We argue that the model enables action-oriented and transformative learning for sustainability. Vocational teacher education is Sweden is provided as a 90 ECTS credits programme: 60 credits of course-based studies and 30 credits of work-based training (practicum) in upper secondary schools or adult education. This can be arranged as full-time studies of one-and-a-half-year, or part-time studies. At the University of Gothenburg, the arrangement is a three-year part-time study program, mostly distance-based with some on-campus meetings at the university. Most of the students (75-80%) work as unqualified teachers in upper secondary education and in adult education. The average number of students per semester is 30. Thus, more than 200 vocational teacher students have participated in this course, and provide data presented in the paper.

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