Implementing Education for Sustainability in Higher Education Through Student-Centred Pedagogies

Authored by: Neus (Snowy) Evans

Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415727303
eBook ISBN: 9781315852249
Adobe ISBN: 9781317918110


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Scholars argue that effective education for sustainability (EfS – the preferred name in Australia) requires a re-imagination of pedagogy from traditional transmissive approaches to active and participatory student-centred teaching methods (Cotton and Winter 2010; Sterling 2004, 2012; Tilbury and Cooke 2005). Referred to as sustainability pedagogies (Cotton and Winter 2010; Sterling 2012), examples include role-plays and simulations, group discussions, stimulus activities, debates, critical incidents, case studies, reflexive accounts, critical reading and writing, problem-based learning, and futures visioning. Within higher education, however, such teaching and learning methods are found to be more aspirational than actual, with research identifying limited relevance, tensions between different approaches and conflict with conventional pedagogies as reasons for resistance (Christie et al. 2012; Cotton et al. 2009; Cotton et al. 2007). If sustainability pedagogies are being applied the processes and realities of application are poorly understood due to a lack of published empirical studies providing comparative and evaluative overviews of practice, or describing and reflecting on the processes, methods, outcomes and challenges (Tilbury 2011).

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