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Teacher Education; Competences for ESD & Sustainability

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1 Teacher Education; Competences for ESD & Sustainability
Susan Barker University of Alberta

2 Goals of presentation Highlight the shift towards competence based education for ESD, the challenge that this places for teachers and teacher education and recommendations for moving forwards ESD – Education for Sustainable Development Competence and Competency I think this poses the biggest challenges that we have and we urgently need to be exploloring :next practice”

3 Aim of ESD Dynamic concept that encompasses a new vision of education that seeks to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating and enjoying a sustainable future (UNESCO 2002). Pursuing SD through education requires educators and learners to reflect critically on their own communities, identify non-viable elements in their lives and explore tensions between conflicting values and goals. There are thus some tensions that arise from these statements, first of all ESD suggests a new vision of education – so my question would be how has is education changing as we come to the close of the decade of ESD changed – where are the new practices in education? Secondly as ESD suggests a participatory and action –orientated approach. Since ESD has become a priority there has been a surge of research and development in education systems worldwide and the research team here in Cyprus is generating some very valuable recommendations for teacher education. It is clear from the research that the current provision of education through knowledge and skills is not sufficient to bring about about the changes required in society,

4 Thinking time Kinder Surprise Egg- Global phenomenon Framing the challenges of teacher education in ESD? Clarke (2012) ecological blindness and urban industrialism Model: take, make and dump Conceived as a disposable commodity – start to finish and waste is globally transmitted The kinder surprise is oe of the most successfully commercial childrens confectionary – originated in 1973, Banned in USA and in Europe become a collectors item in adults. an example of one of sustainabilitie’s biggest challenges- that is global consumerisation. The whole concept is based one immediate throw away – take make and dump ESD is about challenging and deconstructing the consumerist society in developed counries. I appreciate that in developing countries the Kinder surprise is not an issue and ESD will focus much more on traditional and indigenous knowledge and values as important resourses for achieving SD.

5 What is wrong with Kinder Surprises?
Aluminium wrapper – Australia Chocolate- Ghana? Plastic casing and toy – China Set of instructions varies One Kinder egg is benign but globally a huge pile of toxic waste One poorly educated learner adds a lifetime of human toxicity Its no excuse to claim we don’t know what we were doing. Why do people buy them – it’s a common marketing strategy – BOGOF- essentially because purchases do not fulfil the expectations of the buyer- does not live up to the dream – there are many philsophical musings about the kinder egg but I have chosen it today as a way of grabbing your attention about what we need to do as educators to move to a sustainable future. Making decisions about purchasing a kinder egg – what do we do as teachers. Do we say Kinder eggs are banned- no we cant do that – Sustainability education should not push a moral agenda and must resist simple dogmatic thinking. We have many examples of where this has not worked. However we need to articulate that a change is necessary and that students should develop the skills and knowledge necessary to work for the change. In addition we as sustainability educators do not prescribe a list of practices that lead to the right outcome but we should be a set of iterative questions that require students to grapple with unsustainable situations and move towards more sustainable solutions. We need to connect values, understanding and action. How do we do that – not just a check list for a teacher to tick off- there are serious challenge for us to move forward. Would providing knowledge about the component parts do that ? No We can see from this very seemingly innocuos example that the challenge of ESD is significant. ESD is stated to be a new vision of education. Providing knowledge and skills for centuries- and this does not work so what is new?

6 Current Teacher Education Programs
Curriculum shaped by school curriculum and thus focuses on knowledge and skills; Connected to requirements for teacher certification; Often prescribed by government; Curriculum and assessment practices are developed alongside each other. After all that’s what they are going to teach. Little flexibility in some countries yet in other a great deal of freedom within the classroom into what we would say is the lived curriculum. Whichever country you work in there was clear consensus internationally that current curricula were not equipped to address the global challenges we are facing,\=

7 Competence Approach Lack of relevance of current education provision and the need to produce change agents. Competences been around since 1980s in education mostly vocational- however in ESD it rarely refers to the ability to do a particular activity to a pre-determined and prescribed standard- ESD needs to be much more flexible. Sleurs (2008) Competence approach asks not what should be taught, but what should be learned, what abilities for acting, which concepts and problem-solving strategies should we have acquired as a result of the learning process” However all is not rosy- whilst we have seen a big shift there are some who contest this approach – inadequate interpretation of the competence approach.

8 Competences for Sustainability
2012 – UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). Defined competences for ESD- of significant relevance to teacher educators worldwide and major contribution to United Nations Decade for Sustainable Development. prepare general recommendations for policy makers define a range of core competences in ESD for educators.

9 Framework of Competences
Learning to know. For ESD the educator should know……. Learning to do. For ESD the educator should be able to……… Learning to be. For ESD the educator should be…………. Learning to live and work together. For ESD the educator should live and work with others in a way which…………. These competences are based on International Commission for Education for 21st Century report.

10 ESD Competences UNECE (2012)
I would ask you to follow up the reference of this report for the details. There are many challenges with these competences- will they be seen as a check list – how will we assess them? Will teachers just see them as additions to an already long list of things they need to do in the classroom. However the good thing is that it focuses on learning rather than teaching.- learner centred pedagogy. Therefore, it proposed that a starting point for engaging with the Competences would be for people to translate them, not just into their own language, but into words and examples that made sense in their own circumstances. In that way, it was seen that the Competences were not intended to be a definitive statement on the capabilities required for educators, but instead were thought of as a contribution to a conversation and a debate that would take on a life of its own. A big criticism of these competence framwork is that as it was prepared for policy makers it is difficult for teachers to translate into classroom practices so some work needs to be done on that translation.

11 Areas of focus Critical thinking and acting ethically for transformation; Shifting perspectives in time, space, culture and discipline; Dealing with risk and uncertainity on a journey towards shared and positive futures; Effectively facilitating learning. Where are the challenges for teachers and teacher education?

12 Initiatives in Canada There is modest but promising progress toward reorienting teacher education to address education for sustainable development. Key drivers and enablers- individual champions, as well as partnerships and collaboration with other departments on campus and with education faculties at other institutions. Key barriers and challenges include communication gaps within faculties, competing interests and priorities within faculties, funding challenges, and lack of professional development opportunities. Commensurate with McKeown and Hopkins 2005 Guidelines and Recommendations for Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability

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14 Recommendations Need to develop and design new pedagogies “next practices” to help us address a continually changing landscape of ESD. Sustainability is not static……will need to evolve with changing need and emphases (Stir, 2004) Education is perfectly placed to create conditions for innovative and imaginative solutions but a total transformation of schools and education is needed. However we need to simplify in order to get teacher ‘buy in’. ESD competences need to be aligned with current curricula be flexible and need to be locally based. We need to develop mechanisms by which we can measure achievements and progression. Tinkering with teacher education curriculum and school curriculum will have little impact- need to “ go big or go home”

15 Perils of education for ESD
Education can also play the opposite role: deadening curiosity and innovation; encouraging acceptance of unsustainable living as being normal; and teaching learners to passively wait for others to take action. From a sustainable development perspective, then, education is both a great hope and a great danger ( UNESCO advanced copy “Empowering educators for a sustainable future”

16 References Clarke, P. ( 2012) Education for Sustainability:Becoming Naturally Smart. Routledge:London. Council of Ministers of Education Canada (2012) Education for Education for Sustainable Development in Canadian Faculties of Education. Toronto. Sleurs, W. ( Ed) (2008) Competences for ESD Education for Sustainable Development) teachers. Comenius, Brussels. McKeown R. and Hopkins, C Guidelines and Recommendations for Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability Mochizuki, Y and Fadeeva, (2010). Competences for Sustainability and Sustainable Development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 11, p Sleurs, W( ed) ( 2008) UNECE, (2012) Learning for the Future. Competences in Education for Sustainable Development. UNESCO (2002)Education for Sustainability-From Rio to Johannesburg:Lessons Learnt from a Decade of Commitment. Wiek, A., Withycombe L. & Redman C.L ( 2011). Key competences in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science 6, p

17 Thank you


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