Sustainability education research

Developing innovative approaches to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) pedagogical research 

The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) has highlighted the importance of developing more active and participatory pedagogical approaches within ESD and the need for research that provides a deeper evidence base of the impact and outcomes of such approaches. 

Towards this aim, CSF has developed a new pedagogical research service that seeks to work in partnership with staff keen to develop new pedagogical approaches within sustainability themed modules. Adopting an action research strategy, and drawing in particular from lesson study research methods emerging from Japan, this service seeks to capture the experiences of students as they participate in an ESD module in order to identify areas of positive impact as well as ideas for future innovation and refinement. 

In the last year, colleagues within the Business School have helped CSF to trial this approach within their new module BUS 229 Shaping the Future: creating sustainable organisations. This interdisciplinary module develops students' ability to assess how organisations can adapt, innovate and thrive in response to the macro social, economic and environmental forces impacting society and organisations. We'll be sharing the outcomes from this pedagogical research project at the Education for Sustainability in Higher Education: Achievements and Prospects conference at Plymouth University on January 8 2015. 

Current research projects

'Different Languages, Shared Goals? Exploring the Potential for Merged Pedagogies in Enterprise Education and Sustainability Education' (PedRIO Research Project funding), Lynne Wyness and Paul Jones

The development of innovative and creative pedagogies that push the boundaries of current educational practice in Higher Education (HE) will be imperative in the transition to a more sustainable future. Many consider it vital to engage future business leaders and entrepreneurs in tackling the most pressing environmental and social challenges in the 21st century, and to equip sustainability leaders with the entrepreneurial mind-set and skills necessary to bring about rapid change. Tentative conversations in the sector are emerging around the opportunities that the two fields of Enterprise Education (EE) and Sustainability Education (ESD) present each other but, to date, there has been little academic research that explores the potential for learning across both fields.  

Using a range of qualitative methods, including participant observation in pedagogical contexts, this research project aims to identify and examine the synergies between EE and ESD and to evaluate the potential for a merged pedagogical approach, critically informed by best practice in both fields.  For more information, contact Lynne Wyness (CSF) or Paul Jones (Futures Entrepreneurship Centre). 

Have a pedagogical research idea in mind? Come and talk to us or contact Paul Warwick.