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Environmental and sustainability education in teacher education research: an international scoping review of the literature

Rob Blom (Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada)
Douglas D. Karrow (Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 17 January 2024

Issue publication date: 3 June 2024

226

Abstract

Purpose

Halfway into the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs) timeline, we deemed fruitful an injunction into current teacher education (TE) practices at higher educational institutes (HEIs). The scoping literature review used all known English nomenclature interrelating to environment, sustainability, development, and education as regards TE. We explicated and modelled the data through timelines favourable to UN initiatives within a spatiotemporal metric. Thematic research topics and research methodologies strictly pertaining to TE were rigorously researched and delineated. Our study aims to elucidate a grander picture of the trends-as-patterns of environmental and sustainability education in teacher education (ESE-TE) research in HEI and potential contributions to come.

Design/methodology/approach

The spatiotemporal study adopts a scoping review as an investigative tool to probe current research trends on ESE-TE in the academic literature with respect to thematic research topics and research methodologies midway through the SDGs.

Findings

A total of 2,142 research papers spanning five decades, 152 journals and 96 countries were screened equally by two researchers. Of the 788 papers deemed eligible (i.e. English-language, peer-reviewed, pre-service/in-service TE that explicitly mentioned ESE-TE research), data from 638 studies have been included in the authors’ study.

Originality/value

Comprehensive trends in the international literature of all known environmental and sustainable education nomenclature specific to international ESE-TE research throughout the time period (1974 – 2021) were identified. Value is accrued by illuminating international trends in research topics and methodologies, exposing gaps in the history of the subfield, and predicting future trends for Agenda 2030 (e.g. SDG 4 – education) to mature the field.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Erratum: It has come to the attention of the publisher that the article, Blom, R. and Karrow, D.D. (2024), “Environmental and sustainability education in teacher education research: an international scoping review of the literature”, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-07-2023-0288, was published with a text error in Figure 2. This error was introduced in the production process and has now been corrected in the online version. The publisher sincerely apologises for this error and for any inconvenience caused.

The authors would like to acknowledge Susan Maureen Docherty-Skippen’s valuable support and contribution to the scoping study as a researcher in the initial collection through Covidence software and doctoral student Ryan Kasperowitsch for his assistance with data collection and management.

Disclosure statement: This is an unfunded study and the authors have no conflict of interest.

Citation

Blom, R. and Karrow, D.D. (2024), "Environmental and sustainability education in teacher education research: an international scoping review of the literature", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 903-926. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-07-2023-0288

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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