Education for sustainability: the role of capabilities in guiding university curricula

Thomas, I and Sterling, S 2006, 'Education for sustainability: the role of capabilities in guiding university curricula', International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 349-370.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Education for sustainability: the role of capabilities in guiding university curricula
Author(s) Thomas, I
Sterling, S
Year 2006
Journal name International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development
Volume number 1
Issue number 4
Start page 349
End page 370
Total pages 22
Publisher Inderscience Publishers
Abstract While pressing sustainability issues climb international and national agendas, most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have yet to respond in a systematic and coherent way in terms of embedding sustainability concepts, values and skills into the student learning experience. The paper reviews some schemas and views in the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) debate regarding what constitutes 'capability' in this area, and finds an emerging pattern of broad consensus. Whilst some see sustainability as implying a major challenge for the purposes and nature of university education as a whole, it is still necessary to indicate curriculum ideas that any HEI can begin to implement, ideally as a precursor to deeper change. Between the undesirable extremes of curriculum prescription and emergence, the authors suggest some indicative schemas that might help academics design curricula for ESD. Further, a model of staged learning and change linking institutional change with deepening student experience is suggested, based on current work at RMIT and the University of Plymouth.
Keyword(s) sustainable development
education for sustainable development
learning response
capability
curriculum
curriculum design
hierarchy or learning/staged change
ISSN 1740-8822
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