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Contributions to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

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Fernando J. Gonçalves, Ruth Pereira and Walter Leal Filho

This book presents essential learning approaches. It introduces educational and training activities, as well as various innovative methods aiming at the development of practical skills, in order to strengthen the continuous process of environmental education, and in particular the education for sustainable development (ESD). In doing so, it focuses on three dimensions (social, economic and environmental) as a means of achieving an effective change of behaviour and «tries to bridge the gap between science and environmental education by describing a set of projects, initiatives and field activities». A special emphasis is put on teacher training programmes, conception, and implementation, highlighting the problems and barriers, which prevent development as far as integration of sustainability issues in higher education is concerned.

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Chapter 8: Education for Sustainable Development in Primary Schools: Contributions from the Development of a Teacher Training Program

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Chapter 8 Education for Sustainable Development in Primary Schools: Contributions from the Development of a Teacher Training Program Patricia Sá, Isabel P. Martins Abstract At the beginning of this new century, characterized by complexity, unpredictability and uncertainty, human beings face severe and multiple socio-economic and environmental problems. The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly for the period 2005-2014, launched the challenge of an education based on a correct perception of the current planet situation and oriented towards solidarity, social equity and environmental sustainability. International Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) guidelines and orientations emphasize the need for: life-long learning; formal, non-formal and informal education; strategies, activities and resources diversity and inter and trans-disciplinary approaches. Teachers, of all educational levels, are key elements to achieve these goals. However, national and international literature (Freitas 2004, 2006; Ko and Lee 2003; Martins 1998; Praia, Edwards, Gil-Pérez and Vilches 2001; Sá and Martins 2005) shows that teachers’ percep- tions regarding the current planet situation tend to be fragmented and superficial. The importance of teacher training programmes in the field of ESD is accen- tuated by different authors (Arima, Konaré, Lindberg and Rockefeller 2004; Fien and Tilbury 1998; Freitas 2006; Gil-Pérez and Vilches 2005, 2006; Hesselink, van Kenpam and Wals 2000; Hopkins and McKeown 2001, 2005; Pedrosa and Leite 2005; Pellaud 2001, 2002, 2003; Scoullos 2004), highlighting the impor- tance of teacher education to consistent practice (re)orientation. Being aware that teachers’ perceptions are fundamental to practice...

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