Incorporating Education for Sustainability into a Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers’ Program

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With the declaration of UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) a science and environmental studies lecturer in elementary pre-service teacher education at an Australian University became committed to incorporating sustainability, as defined by the declaration, into teacher education subjects. This process began with a grass roots approach of incorporating Education for Sustainability into an existing subject, a first year science and technology subject of a Bachelor of Education (Primary) program. The themes of sustainability as defined in the UNESCO Decade of Education for Sustainable Development were incorporated into a Sustainability Forum prepared and delivered by pre-service teachers. The pre-service teachers also worked with community groups on sustainability of the natural environment. Two questionnaires were completed by pre-service teachers, one after the Sustainability Forum and one after the pre-service teachers had returned from working with community groups. It was found that pre-service teachers had a wide view of sustainability and clear ideas of how they could introduce these views of sustainability into elementary school classrooms. This small case study was part of a larger cross-universities project funded by the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (ARIES).


Keywords: Pre-Service Teachers, Sustainability, Education
Stream: Teacher Training and Professional Development
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Incorporating Education for Sustainability into a Pre-service Elementary School Teachers’ Program


Dr. Barbara M. Odgers

Lecturer in Science Education, School of Education
Brisbane Campus, Australina Catholic University

Virginia, QLD, Australia

Dr Barbara M Odgers is a lecturer in the School of Education at Australian Catholic University, Brisbane Campus. Her major teaching areas are Science Education for pre-service primary and secondary school teachers and environmental studies. Her research interest are beliefs about the nature of science, science education, education for sustainability and disturbance ecology.

Ref: L09P0784