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Pre-service teachers’ aesthetic learning about inclusion and exclusion

Ginta Gedžūne (Institute of Sustainable Education, Daugavpils University, Daugavpils, Latvia)
Inga Gedžūne (Institute of Sustainable Education, Daugavpils University, Daugavpils, Latvia)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to the body of practical knowledge about reorienting teacher education to address sustainability by reflecting on an action research experience from a study course on sustainability in a regional university.

Design/methodology/approach

It contemplates the usage of aesthetic learning to activate pre-service teachers’ presentational knowing about inclusion and exclusion – modes of relationships which are essentially sustainable and unsustainable, respectively. The research participants are involved in creation, interpretation and discussion of drawings-cum-concept-maps about inclusive and exclusionary relationships in social and educational contexts.

Findings

The participants are found to express their knowledge through presentational forms such as colour, spatial alignment, direction and mimicry.

Research limitations/implications

This qualitative study being an action research into the particulars of a specific situation precludes abstract generalisation. Yet it is hoped that the findings may illuminate related concerns in similar contexts as educators seek inspiration and guidance for improving their practices of implementing teacher education for sustainability.

Originality/value

The paper proposes aesthetic learning as a means to involve pre-service teachers in active generation of personally meaningful and practically applicable insights, enabling communication of complex ideas and fostering emotional engagement with peers. It is also suggested as a pathway towards accessing, exploring and, potentially, enriching the participants’ assumptions about relational issues such as inclusion and exclusion as pre-service teachers strive to make personal sense of what it means to live sustainably.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work has been supported by the European Social Fund within the Project “Support for the implementation of doctoral studies at Daugavpils University, 2nd stage”, agreement No. 2012/0004/1DP/1.1.2.1.2/11/IPIA/VIAA/011.

Citation

Gedžūne, G. and Gedžūne, I. (2015), "Pre-service teachers’ aesthetic learning about inclusion and exclusion", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 72-95. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-10-2012-0097

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited