Fieldwork as a vehicle for sustainability education: the centrality of geographical inquiry

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


This chapter argues that the current approach to sustainability education in Australian schools is potentially being narrowed as classroom teachers may not appreciate the potential of the cross-curricular teaching available through the use of fieldwork pedagogy. Instead, it is posited that teachers may be relying too heavily on the science pathway because of prior assumptions about disciplinary approaches and pedagogies rather than employing a sound sustainability literacy. Moreover, this chapter further argues that the features of a geographical approach to a sustainability inquiry, particularly in its wider conceptualisation of fieldwork, provides an effective means of developing a sustainability education that is more cogniscent of the deeper aspects of the sustainability concept. We introduce the notion of sustainability education fieldwork as being akin to geographical fieldwork, with its focus on '… the acquisition of deep and intimate knowledge of the land, or site, under investigation…' (Kidman & Casinader, 2017, p. 130). We begin the chapter by exploring sustainability in the Australian Curriculum followed by what we call sustainability education fieldwork. In this exploration we highlight a fieldwork imperative and redefine ‘fieldwork’ as used in the Australian Curriculum so that it facilitates the teaching of sustainability education.

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 pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780429450433, 9780429833694
ISBN (Print)9781138325357
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Education


  • fieldwork
  • inquiry
  • geography education
  • sustainability education

Cite this