Defining education for sustainability (EfS): a theoretical framework

Gillian Kidman, Chew-Hung Chang, Andy Wi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This chapter explores the difficulties of defining Education for Sustainability (EfS) and Education Sustainable Development (ESD). We highlight the issues and challenges that educators and academics face in implementing EfS and provide examples of how some institutions translate EfS and ESD into practice. There is little guidance, in the research literature, on a basic framework for the implementation of effective EfS. To overcome this deficit, we have synthesised research-based perspectives and experiences about what is EfS, who it is for, the EfS curriculum and how to translate EfS theory into practice. It is through this synthesis that we offer an EfS theoretical framework for teaching and learning. This framework indicates that EfS should not only provide scientific and technical skills, but also the motivation and social support needed for individuals wanting to pursue and apply their scientific and technical skills for a sustainable future. The EfS theoretical framework is cyclical and involves the translation for EfS practice, educating educators about EfS, the pedagogies in EfS, taking action for EfS, and EfS in practice which loops back to the translation for EfS practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIssues in Teaching and Learning of Education for Sustainability
    Subtitle of host publicationTheory into Practice
    EditorsChew-Hung Chang, Gillian Kidman, Andy Wi
    Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429450433, 9780429833694
    ISBN (Print)9781138325357
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Research in Education


    • sustainability
    • sustainability edication
    • humanities education
    • geography education

    Cite this