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Education for Sustainability in Scottish Secondary Schools: boundary maintenance or professional reorientation?
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
Environmental Education Research
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This article reports on a study of education for sustainability in Scottish secondary schools. The study was based at the Institute of Education, University of Stirling, and was sponsored (between November 1997 and March 1998) by the Sustainable Schools Partnership, with funding from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Worldwide Fund for Nature Scotland and (between April 1998 and July 1998) by the University of Stirling. It comprised three research strands: a trawl of documentary evidence relating to policy and practice within the field of education for sustainability; interviews with key personnel in secondary schools identified as developing good practice in the field of education for sustainability; and a series of discussions with policy makers having a national and/or international perspective on education for sustainability and its development in schools. Although the prime focus was on Scottish schools, each of these strands also covered as a secondary concern relevant work in the other national regions of the UK. Having briefly clarified some issues of definition, the article offers an analysis of the central problem faced by schools (secondary schools in particular) involved in cross-curriculum developments of this kind. That analysis focuses upon the aspiration of these schools to bring about whole-school change within an institutional context characterised by strong boundary maintenance. The article then outlines the first of two findings: where education for sustainability is being developed within a secondary school setting, whole-school change is likely to be conceived as modest modifications to existing structures. The article goes on, however, to outline some of the changing practices within these schools and, in doing so, introduces the second finding: where education for sustainability is being developed within a secondary school setting, whole-school change is likely to be conceived in terms of a reorientation of professional interest and practice towards the local community and wider community concerns. These two findings, we argue, should be seen neither as complementary nor as existing in creative tension. They point to a school system seriously at odds with itself: pulled by one set of professional and managerial priorities towards piecemeal change within fixed parameters and by a very different set of professional and educational responses towards the reconceptualisa-tion of teaching and learning and the closer involvement of schools in the local communities. This increased interest in the outward-looking school community extends to issues of global concern. The article concludes with some thoughts on how this tension might be resolved through a radical reordering of educational priorities in favour of boundary realignment and community participation.
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