Subject student teachers’ views on their competences in teaching and learning sustainable development at the end of their educational studies

Year: 2019

Author: Yli-Panula, Eija, Jeronen, Eila, Tolonen, Pekka, Vesterkvist, Sofia

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study is a part of the bigger project concerning subject student teachers´ (SST) competences in teaching and learning sustainable development.The theoretical backgroundof this study lies on Bronfenbrenner and Ceci´s bioecological system theory. The aimof this study was to clarify SSTs´ views on their competences in teaching and learning sustainable development. The study questionswere: (1) What kind of environmental problems do SSTconsider important locally, regionally and globally? (2) What kind of opportunities do SSTsee they have in solving the mentioned environmental problems on a community basis and with whom would they want to solve these issues? (3) What kind of competences could be concluded from SST’s answersthey have at the end of their educational studies. The participantswere SST (n=142) from six Finnish Universities. The materialwas collectedusing web-based questionnaire. It was analysed by inductive content analyses based on (1) on the general process model of the teacher professional competences in teaching and learning, especially on teachers´ social competences and (2) on the competences in education for sustainable development (ESD). The resultsshowed that 60 % of the SSTwere interested to participate in decision making concerning ESD issues at school. They regarded as local environmental problems such as CO²-emissions, overconsumption, littering, plastic waste, climate change, and decreasing biodiversity. The same problems were also mentioned as regional problems and in addition pollution in the Baltic Sea, nonrenewable natural resources, the mining laws, and over logging of the forest. Globally the most often mentioned problem was climate change. Solutions were suggested to increase environmental awareness and discussion, sustainable consumption, public transport and both local and international cooperation. Very few SST made suggestions how or with whom they would solve the environmental problems. At the local and regional level were mentioned e.g. family, school students and staff, municipalities in the towns, the board of condominiums and at the global level multinational companies and institutions such as United Nations and UNESCO. At the end of their studies, SST were concluded to have at least one of the competences - critical thinking or anticipatory. The findings are discussedwith respect to the social skills introduced in general process model of teacher professional competences in teaching and learning and especially with respect to the UNESCO´s listed competencies in teaching and learning ESD.

Key words:content analyses, education for sustainable development, environmental problems, social competences, student teachers