Sustainability education: researching practice in primary schools

Monica Mary Green, Margaret Jean Somerville

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    Many teachers are keen to implement sustainability education in primary schools but are lacking the confidence, skills and knowledge to do so. Teachers report that they do not understand the concept and cannot integrate sustainability into an already overcrowded curriculum. Identifying how teachers successfully integrate sustainability education into their teaching practice can offer important insights into how these perceived problems can be overcome. The paper is based on data from the third year of a longitudinal study about teacher education and teacher professional learning for sustainability in primary education. The third year of the study investigated teachers? understandings of sustainability and how sustainability education is manifested in eight rural and regional primary schools in Victoria, Australia. Data included photographs of school grounds and sustainability projects, audio recordings of focus groups with teachers and principals, and field notes of meetings with school staff. Sustainability education was found to be an emergent practice necessarily constituted in the relation between teachers, students and community members and the materialities of local places. Partnerships were found to be an essential part of integrated sustainability programmes which extended into communities and places beyond the schools. The processes of learning involved pedagogies of creative problem-solving and inquiry learning that enabled children to lead the way.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)832 - 845
    Number of pages14
    JournalEnvironmental Education Research
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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