Mainstreaming education for sustainable development in initial teacher education in Australia: a review of existing professional development models

May. 14, 2007

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 33, Issue 2 May 2007, pages 225 – 239

Initial teacher education provides a strategic opportunity for ensuring that all teachers are ready and able to teach for sustainability when they begin their teaching careers. However, it is widely recognized that this strategy has not been used to its full potential. Efforts in education for sustainable development (ESD) at this level have tended to engage with prospective teachers and teacher educators already interested in this area of learning - preaching mostly to the converted.
This paper reports on a study undertaken by the Australian Research Institute of Education for Sustainability (ARIES) for the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, which sought to appraise the models of professional development underpinning a range of initial teacher education initiatives. Its intention was to learn from these experiences and identify effective models for mainstreaming ESD in pre-service teacher education. Three main models of professional development were identified: the Collaborative Resource Development and Adaptation Model, the Action Research Model and the Whole-of-System Model.

The paper concludes by arguing that a systemic approach that engages the whole of the teacher education system is necessary if ESD is to be successfully mainstreamed in initial teacher education.

Updated: Dec. 31, 2007