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How to assess professional competencies in Education for Sustainability? An approach from a perspective of complexity

Maria Rosa Garcia (Catalan Waste Prevention Foundation and Complex Research Group, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain)
Mercè Junyent (Mathematics and Science Education Department, Complex Research Group, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain)
Marta Fonolleda (Mathematics and Science Education Department, Complex Research Group, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to contribute to the professional competency approach in Education for Sustainability (ES) from the perspective of complexity and to the assessment of these competencies.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative research process was used, which consisted of two main phases: a documentary analysis of the internationally accepted frameworks about professional competencies in ES and complexity and a case study. The context was the Learning Camp of Cistercian Monasteries (Catalonia, Spain), and two educators participated in this camp.

Findings

The main outcomes are: a framework of professional competencies in ES from a complexity perspective, called CESC, and a rubric, as an assessment tool for professional competences in ES.

Originality/value

Based on the results, the author’s can state that this research is a contribution to the ES competency approach and it rectifies the lack of assessment tools in this area. The CESC is a theoretical contribution that facilitates educators’ development of ES competencies based on complexity. The design of the rubric with a high level of applicability and transferability is a methodological contribution which facilitates the assessment of these competencies by educators, as individuals, and educational teams. Related to the case study, several guidelines are proposed regarding the need for educator training to advance in the mobilisation of competencies in ES.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support received from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation to conduct the project “A training model to develop professional competences in education for sustainability and science education: characterization, implementation and evaluation” (Ref. EDU2012-39027-C03-01) and the support from the Research Group Complex at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2014SGR543). The participation of the two educators of the Learning Camp of Cistercian Monasteries in Catalonia (Spain) is also acknowledged.

Citation

Garcia, M.R., Junyent, M. and Fonolleda, M. (2017), "How to assess professional competencies in Education for Sustainability? An approach from a perspective of complexity", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 772-797. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-03-2016-0055

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited