An interdisciplinary approach to environmental and sustainability education: developing geography students’ understandings of sustainable development using poetry
– New EER Article Alert
Pages: 1-20 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1221887
Education for sustainable development (ESD) persists as an important concept within international policy and yet, despite considerable debate, there remains a lack of consensus as to a pedagogy for ESD in schools. This paper presents findings from a study investigating how an interdisciplinary approach to ESD in England developed one class of 16- and 17-year-old geography students’ understandings of sustainability. The research used students’ drawings of sustainable cities alongside questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to explore their understanding of sustainable development within a constructivist, case study framework. The study found that the use of poetry within a geography lesson developed students’ appreciation of the social and economic dimensions of sustainability, although their focus persisted around the environmental. As such, it is argued that an interdisciplinary approach to ESD encourages students to engage more critically and affectively with the concept of sustainable development, thereby developing a more holistic appreciation of it.
Keywords: Sustainable development, education for sustainable development (ESD), interdisciplinary, drawings, geography