The status of education for sustainability in initial teacher education programmes: a Canadian case study

Thomas Falkenberg (Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)
Gary Babiuk (Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 26 August 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish the status of education for sustainability in the teacher education programmes in the province of Manitoba in Canada and to identify challenges and obstacles for mainstreaming education for sustainability in those programmes.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a multi-unit case study design, online programme information and data from interviews with faculty administrators and a convenience sample of faculty members from all five faculties of education in Manitoba were collected and analysed.

Findings

There is no systematic and focused preparation of teachers for education for sustainability in any of the Manitoba teacher education programmes. Three challenges for mainstreaming of education for sustainability are identified: lack of leadership, an unfavourable view of the role of education for sustainability and the silo-ing within faculties of education.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited by its focus on the programme-based implementation of education for sustainability in faculties of education, which did not include any course-based implementation by individual instructors.

Practical implications

To address the challenges and obstacles for mainstreaming, the authors argue for joint leadership across the relevant institutional levels (government, university and faculty), and for establishing education for sustainability as a framework for responding to the purpose question of school education.

Originality/value

The study provides empirical evidence for some of the major challenges for mainstreaming education for sustainability in faculties in education and, by generalisation, all university faculties.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors want to express their great appreciation to the Canadian Council on Learning and Manitoba Education for the financial support of the study and to Heather Hunter, Director of the Manitoba Education Research Network (MERN), whose logistical work made the financial support possible in the first place.

Citation

Falkenberg, T. and Babiuk, G. (2014), "The status of education for sustainability in initial teacher education programmes: a Canadian case study", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 418-430. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-10-2012-0088

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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