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Environmental sustainability in higher education : how do academics teach?
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Belinda Christie, Kelly MillerKelly Miller, Raylene CookeRaylene Cooke, John WhiteJohn White
The concept of sustainability can be controversial and difficult to define. As a result, it has been suggested that there should be specific pedagogies and teaching methods for education for sustainability (EfS). How well these methods are used within universities can inform the future of EfS pedagogy. One quarter of the teaching academics in every discipline of every Australian university (except one) (n = 38) was sent an online questionnaire asking for their recollections of their teaching practices and EfS. Data were obtained from 1819 respondents (26% response rate) and analysed with descriptive and inferential statistics (χ 2 tests of independence and one-way between-groups analysis of variance). This study presents the views of approximately 6% of the entire university teaching workforce of Australia. It presents the findings that academics prefer, and utilise, lectures, tutorials, critical thinking and discussions in their teaching. Although the adoption of the pedagogies and teaching methods advocated for EfS is low, there is evidence that academics are actively seeking to make their lessons more interactive. Although EfS is largely not practiced within classrooms, when EfS is taught, teaching methods remain the same as when it is not taught – suggesting EfS is not currently associated with pedagogical innovation.