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Education for Sustainable Development Report 2015.
Contribution to Quality Education in Australian Schools.
Western Sydney University/Centre for Educational Research
ISBN: 978-1-74108-3
ISBN: 978-1-74108-3
Executive Summary
There are many definitions of sustainable development, and it can be better understood as an emerging vision, rather than a neatly defined concept or model. It is not a fixed notion, but rather a process of change in the relationships between social, economic, and natural systems and processes. Many schools and school systems that have embraced the concepts of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) through their policies, practice and curricula have reported improvements in student academic achievement, attendance, student intellectual engagement and student/student, student/teacher relationships. At the same time, some school systems have been reluctant to include ESD in their programs fearing that this may dilute or interfere with their current program focus aimed narrowly at improving students′ test scores. This project, conducted in Australia and in a number of countries overseas, is the initial phase of an ongoing project to explore the relationship between ESD and the pursuit of quality education. It is an attempt to better understand the potential synergy in merging these two goals and to realise the opportunities that exist to share common goals.

The Project
In April 2013, the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education invited 12 research teams from high-scoring PISA countries, including Australia, to consider conducting research related to ESD′s contribution to quality education. The research objectives were as follows:1. To support the continuation of the development of ESD;2. To collect data to better understand the potential of synergy between embedding the concepts of ESD throughout education policies, practice and curricula, student academic achievement and attendance, student intellectual engagement, and student teacher relationships;3. To prepare a meta-analysis and report for the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in Nagoya in November of 2014 and to provide research towards a second phase to support the continuation of the development of ESD on a global basis.At the first meeting the UNESCO team agreed on research addressing five questions:1. How can ESD update and improve educational purposes and outcomes? 2. How can ESD help to improve and enrich school curriculum development? 3. How can ESD guide students to have the knowledge, skills and values to care for and solve the sustainable development issues that will arise in their lifetime? 4. How can ESD help strengthen the partnerships between schools and other stakeholders, including the surrounding community? 5. How can ESD promote innovation in the teaching-learning conceptual framework? To complete the project in Australia ten participants were interviewed. These participants were engaged in ESD work in schools, pre-service teaching in universities as educators or consultants, or worked in organisations that support schools systems. They were all experts in the field of ESD representing different positions and perspectives. They were interviewed using semi-structured in-depth interviews.

Key Findings
Improving educational outcomes Educators expressed general beliefs about what this might mean and a little observational evidence that traditional educational outcomes are improved in the context of sustainability education. Educators were more forthcoming about the question of enriching the school curriculum, through relevance, collaboration, creative authenticity, problem solving, and action-oriented, transdisciplinary and transformative approaches. The categories of authentic real life curriculum, local place-based curriculum and transdisciplinary curriculum covered the range of ways they considered that sustainability education enhanced the curriculum.Guiding for future challenges Educators were less sure about the futures potential of ESD in complexity and systems thinking, but expressed a number of different ways that this could be understood. The main proviso for all educators was that the introduction of complexity and crisis scenarios needed to be age appropriate, and that students at all levels needed to be empowered to take action to make a difference in their worlds, however small that might be.Strengthening partnerships This yielded vigorous and comprehensive responses, beginning with a range of ideological and practical drivers for the formation of community partnerships. Participants gave numerous practical examples that revealed the pedagogical processes behind the partnership building potential of ESD, and the significant outcomes that could be gained by early childhood centres, schools and higher education institutions forming alliances beyond their boundaries—because we cannot do this work alone.

Promoting innovation
This generated the most surprising responses, but the reason for this becomes clear when promoting innovation is compared with the idea of enriching the curriculum. Promoting innovation in curriculum was understood by educators as involving changing the practices across educational systems, rather than as an addition to the curriculum implied by enrichment. They discussed the challenges of such change in the traditional approaches of most teachers, and the emphasis on standardised testing in current school systems. Innovation was seen to involve seeing curriculum through a new lens. They were able to provide some outstanding examples of curriculum innovation where whole school changes were made, and outcomes were of the kind that gives one hope for a better world.

Throughout the past decades reports have highlighted the significant limits to our progress for global sustainability. It has been recognised around the world that current economic, development and environmental trends are unsustainable, and that public awareness, formal and informal education programs and training are the most useful tools we have available to us to work towards change. However, education systems in Australia,particularly the national system, have been piecemeal in their ongoing commitment to ESD or EfS. This report provides some insights from educators of the complexities of engaging ESD in formal education. These conversations need to be explored in order to realise the potential of ESD as a transformative curriculum supporting quality education that could contribute towards achieving a sustainable future planet.
Inhaltsverzeichnis :
Executive Summary... 1
Introduction.. 1.
The Project... 1
Key Findings....2
Conclusion.... 2
Background.... 6
Findings.. ...10
1. Improving educational outcomes ....10
2. Enriching school curriculum.... 14
3. Guiding students for future challenges.... 19
4. Strengthening partnerships... .23
5. Promoting innovation... 31
Discussion.. .37
Improving educational outcomes ...37
Enriching school curriculum..... 37
Guiding for future challenges. ...39
Strengthening partnerships... ..40
Promoting innovation ..42
Conclusions ...43
References... 45
Acknowledgements... 45
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