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Lärares formande av en yrkesidentitet relaterad till hållbar utveckling

Licentiate thesis
Authors Ingela Bursjöö
Date of public defense 2011-01-17
Opponent at public defense Magdalena Svanström
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Göteborg
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Language sv
Keywords education for sustainable devlopment, science education, transformative learning, student teachers
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Other Natural Sciences


Swedish schools are required to educate for sustainable development (ESD). The challenges for the teachers are demanding as the content is controversial and complex. This study focuses on exploring the different ways teachers and student teachers reflect upon their approach to ESD. Of particular interest is how they talk about the dilemmas they confront in their teaching. 1. How do teachers and student teachers describe their approach to ESD? 2. How do teachers and student teachers reflect on their personal lifestyle in relation to their professional teacher identity? For the purposes of this study a qualitative approach with interview questions were designed and conducted. This study uses open-ended questionnaires combined with focus-group as well as individual interviews. The teachers and the student teachers were asked about their reflections on their approach to ESD and how their own lifestyle affects their teaching credibility. The different phases of transformative learning were used as an analytical tool in order to better understand the variation in ways participants made meaning of ESD. Student teachers’ approaches to ESD depend on both external and internal factors. Three major external factors have been found: colleagues, time and the curriculum. The answers also describe the teaching methods in ESD as collaborative and interdisciplinary; ESD requires individual skills as well as a collective competence. The practicing teachers in the study have not received any professional development concerning education for sustainable development. However, all of them have a reflected explanation of how they teach for sustainable development. The different perceptions held by the teachers are categorized in three dimensions, described as a focus dimension, an action dimension and a reflection dimension. The focus dimension shows the direction of the teaching practice, a possible difference between environmental education and education for sustainability. The reflection dimension shows an identification of a transformative process and the action dimension could reveal a description of a dilemma. These three dimensions could be visualized in a 3D space of teachers’ approaches to education for sustainable development. All of the teachers and the student teachers describe education for sustainable development as difficult to teach since it involves conflicts and contradictions. The student teachers express more comfort in content and teaching methods, on the other hand they perceive more tensions with colleagues, time constraint and their lifestyle. Some teachers in the study even avoid education for sustainable development because of its political connotations. This implies that ESD is, indeed, difficult, and involves choices of different approaches to ESD such as normative, fact-based and pluralistic. ESD is a contested concept and involves controversial values which lead to dilemmas for the teacher. Dilemmas and critical self- reflection are important for transformative learning. These results may be important to teacher education as well as to teachers’ professional development as they provide insights for implementation of changes in the educational system. The use of the different phases of transformative learning as an analytical tool could also contribute to the understanding of how teachers form their professional identity. The findings also provides an opportunity to perform longitudinal studies as a way to identify different trajectories of teacher´s learning processes in a dynamic and changing educational system. Still, much work remains to identify, analyse and improve different aspects of teaching, in order to be able to stress that the implementation of ESD is based on both research and best practice.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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