Towards more effective learning for sustainability: reconceptualising science education

Year: 2007

Author: Gough, Annette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper discusses the history of the relationship between science education and environmental education in Australian and international contexts and argues that, given the on-going resistances to environmental education in schools, the static nature of science education practices, and declining student interest in studying traditional science subjects-it is time to reconsider the relationship. If we are to achieve sustainable development the goals of the Australian Government's National Action Plan for Education for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, then science education must have a role in encouraging ecological thinking. However, the science education that can be an appropriate partner for environmental education is not necessarily that currently practiced: a reconceptualised form is needed. From an historical perspective this paper suggests that it might be time to reconsider science education's function as a 'host' for environmental education and try to imagine a relationship that will be of mutual benefit: getting environmental education for sustainability as part of the mainstream education agenda and increasing students' engagement with their science education.