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Education for Sustainable Development: Will it make a Difference? ULAB International Conference on ‘Sustainability in Higher Education 24th March 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Education for Sustainable Development: Will it make a Difference? ULAB International Conference on ‘Sustainability in Higher Education 24th March 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Education for Sustainable Development: Will it make a Difference? ULAB International Conference on ‘Sustainability in Higher Education 24th March 2007 Russell Goodwin BA (Open), MA (EPS) (Open), PGCert Res Meth (HG) Postgraduate Researcher Centre for Active Learning (CeAL) University of Gloucestershire, UK

2 Doctoral Research Education for Sustainable Development and Ecological Citizenship in Higher Education: The Incidence of Transformative Learning at the University of Gloucestershire –Investigating whether the teaching of sustainability issues at the University of Gloucestershire (UoG) is effective in influencing students' attitudes and values, to the extent that they will adopt sustainable behaviours and actions in their future lives. Centre for Active Learning (CeAL) University of Gloucestershire, UK

3 Sustainable Development “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (The Bruntland Report, WCED, 1987:43)

4 Sustainable Development “Anyone over the age of 50, given reasonable good luck, can expect life to go on much as it is now until we achieve our generous life expectancy. Those between 20 and 50 will need unusually good luck for that to happen and anyone under 20 has no chance at all. Something is going to have to change...” George Walker, Head of the International School, Geneva (2002) from

5 Sustainable Development “In economics there is no concept of enough: just a chronic yearning for more, a hunger that cannot be filled.”.” (Rowe, 2000:24) ‘To meet these challenges (of sustainability), we need to reinvent the way we live if we are to pass on a better world to future generations.’ (Welsh Assembly Government, 2004:1)

6 Sustainable Behaviour ‘ Environmental literacy is considered essential to the creation of a sustainable economy’ (Warhurst 1998:20) “There are a number of studies that show that pupils' environmental attitudes tended to be positive, except when the object of concern impinges on their own lives... It is as if one is always 'for' the environment until one's own freedoms are impinged upon.” (Lucas 1991: 37 cited in Dobson, 2003: )

7 “Rather than pay up, the public are likely to vote with their cars and take their rubbish and dump it on the pavement, in the countryside or in someone else’s backyard” (Dobson, 2003:2) “… people sometimes choose to do good for other reasons than fear (of punishment or loss) or desire (for economic rewards or social status). People sometimes do good because they want to be virtuous” (Beckman, 2001:179) Sustainable Behaviour?

8 Ecological Citizenship A citizenship of obligation –A sense of duty and responsibility whereby people want to adopt sustainable behaviours and actions

9 Our approach to ESD ‘Developing in students an understanding of the nature of society and its relationship with the environment, together with the capabilities and potential to promote justice in the distribution of economic, social and environmental assets, now and for the future.’ The University of Gloucestershire

10 The Centre for Active Learning –An approach to learning that enables the construction of theoretical understanding through reflection on practical activities The University of Gloucestershire

11 But will it change anything? –Can we produce the kind of ‘transformative learning’ whereby the student develops a deep awareness of alternative worldviews and praxis such that he/she ‘sees things differently’ (Sterling, 2001 and Wooltorton, 2002) Active Learning in ESD

12 The aims of the study are: –To gain an understanding of the range of current approaches to the delivery of ESD, in English Universities in general and specifically in the University of Gloucestershire –To explore whether ESD, as delivered within the University of Gloucestershire, is effective in shaping attitudes and beliefs in students to the extent that they develop a sense of ecological citizenship –To identify the influencing factors that contribute or inhibit the development of a sense of ecological citizenship as an inherent element of student identity Active Learning in ESD

13 Will it make a difference? What sort of people will our Graduates become? Education for Sustainable Development

14 Thank you !


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