Teaching and learning for sustainable development: ESD research in technology education

  • Margarita Pavlova


When education for sustainable development (ESD) emerged as part of the educational agenda in the international arena, it was associated with significant shifts in the educational debate about the purpose and nature of education and with the need to respond to crises caused by the modern idea of progress. Scientists from different fields warn humanity that the current trajectory of capitalism is leading towards environmental and cultural decline and that urgent measures are required to deal with the current and emerging issues. Global financial and economic crises, poverty and inequality, climate change and environmental degradation reinforce our understanding that a collaborative effort is required in addressing the existing status quo through education. These changing contexts require transformative education that must play a key role in developing a planetary vision, in “securing sustainable life chances, aspirations and futures for young people”. This paper refers to the essence of SD and the ethics behind it, explores current research on ESD in technology education (TE) and suggests a number of challenges that emerged for technology education as a result of the global SD agenda. They are related to policy and curriculum development, teaching and learning, and teacher training. This paper argues that current and future research on ESD in technology education must be framed by a shared vision about quality education and a society that lives in balance with Earth’s carrying capacity. The paper concludes with suggestions for further directions for research associated with the areas of challenge.


Education for sustainable development Research in technology education Transformative education Policy and curriculum development Teaching and learning Teacher training 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith Institute for Educational Research, School of Education and Professional StudiesGriffith UniversityMt GravattAustralia

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