Proceedings of The International Conference on Research in Teaching and Education
Understanding of Sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development among Pre-Service Biology Teachers
Petra Bezeljak MEd ,Gregor Torkar and Martin Scheuch
Sustainable development (SD) is one of the global and central aims of today’s politics. As stated in Agenda 21, education has to play an essential role in achieving a sustainable society. The present research focused on Slovenian and Austrian biology teacher students’ understanding about SD and education for sustainable development (ESD), and on their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in these issues. The research was carried out at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education and at the University of Vienna, Centre for Teacher Education. Altogether, sixty Slovenian and sixty Austrian pre-service biology teachers were interviewed. Pre-service biology teachers answered a set of closed, Likert-type and open survey-questions. Pre-service biology teachers from Slovenia and Austria had a good understanding of the environmental aspects of sustainability, but they lack understanding the interconnections between the environmental, economic and social concerns related to SD. They describe and connect ESD with environmental education and environmental awareness. Students from both countries know the pedagogical principles of ESD, such as active learning and transformative education. Results of the research contribute to evaluation and development of curriculum for middle and high school biology teachers.
Keywords: attitudes, knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, pre-service biology teachers, sustainable development.