Investigating Early Childhood Teachers' Understandings of and Practices in Education for Sustainability in Queensland: A Japan-Australia Research Collaboration

By Inoue, Michiko; O'Gorman, Lyndal et al. | Australian Journal of Environmental Education, July 2016 | Go to article overview

Investigating Early Childhood Teachers' Understandings of and Practices in Education for Sustainability in Queensland: A Japan-Australia Research Collaboration


Inoue, Michiko, O'Gorman, Lyndal, Davis, Julie, Australian Journal of Environmental Education


There are increasingly urgent calls for humanity to change its ways of living if we are to ensure that current generations are not the last to have a better outlook than their parents (Olshansky et al., 2005). While the fate of the human species is generally perceived as the most topical concern, worsening ecological crises impact all life on Earth, with dire consequences into the future. Humans are faced with the urgent need to recast our ways of living, and education for sustainability across the lifespan, including in early childhood, is seen as one of the most effective means by which societal transformation can occur (Centre for Environment and Sustainability, 2008; UNESCO, 2014). With a view to better understanding how the early childhood education field might contribute to reshaping society, this article reports on a study of the relationship between Queensland early childhood teachers' understandings of sustainability and education for sustainability (EfS), and how, or whether, they practise EfS. We believe that investigating the knowledge, skills and dispositions of teachers offers directions for maximising the powerful role that they can play in delivering an educational response to sustainability. In the context of this study, we see EfS practices as a broad term that includes not only teachers' pedagogical practices such as play-based learning and intentional teaching, but also centre policies and environmental management practices such as water conservation and recycling. The research conducted in Australia emerged from a Japanese investigation of a similar topic, with results discussed in light of this earlier work.

The history and evolution of environmental education and education for sustainability involves reshaping understandings of sustainability concepts. Ideas around sustainability are complicated and understood differently by governments, researchers, and the populace, as well as between regions and nations. For example, European countries use Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in official education and environmental policies. Japan and the United States mainly use Environmental Education (EE) in governmental discourses. Australia and New Zealand have adopted Education for Sustainability (EfS) as common nomenclature.

Similar histories and evolutionary moments have also shaped Early Childhood Education for Sustainability (ECEfS), although this subfield has a much shorter history. The earliest research articles on EE at the early childhood level, for example, were only published in the 1990s, mainly in the United States, although Australian research in EE and EfS is now arguably the strongest of any nation's outputs. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Australian researchers have produced many articles and research papers on EfS (Davis, 2009; New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency, 2003). One leading output is the 2014 international publication involving 31 international researchers from nine countries edited by Australian researchers, the world's first research text focused exclusively on ECEfS research (Davis & Elliott, 2014), to which each of these authors contributed.

As ECEfS research flourishes, it will become easier to undertake meta-analyses of the field because there will be a growing body of work. In earlier articles, for example, suggestions for ways teachers might facilitate nature-based activities in outdoor spaces were the most prevalent focus of early childhood EE/ESD/EfS (Wilson, 1994; Pramling Samuelsson, & Kaga, 2008). Elliott, Edwards, Davis, and Cutter-Mackenzie's (2013) assessment of'The Best of Sustainability Education'--articles and papers published by Early Childhood Australia's research journal Australasian Journal of Early Childhood and its professional magazine Every Child--found this is still largely the case. This focus on nature-based learning illustrates a strong and pervasive thread in ECEfS that Elliott and Davis (2009) identify as contributing to why early childhood education has been so slow to take up EfS--teachers believe they are 'doing EfS' in their early childhood centres because they already have a nature orientation to their curriculum work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Investigating Early Childhood Teachers' Understandings of and Practices in Education for Sustainability in Queensland: A Japan-Australia Research Collaboration
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.