Good examples of education for sustainable development at Chalmers: achievements and limitations
Paper in proceeding, 2010
Within the Education for Sustainable Development project at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, good examples of education for sustainable development (ESD) were collected from Chalmers teachers. The examples were intended to serve as a source of information and inspira-tion for colleagues at Chalmers and elsewhere. The 29 examples were collected and structured through interviews and e-mail and telephone contacts. The collection includes discussions, role plays, method practices, group projects, reflective writing, interactive lectures, home exams, and course outlines. The examples strive to encourage deeper understanding of the concept of sustainable development (SD) and its consequences and implementation, through encouraging discussion, reflection, and change of perspective. Many of them are good examples of pedagogy aiming at deep learning irrespective of the subject. Several of the teachers stated explicitly that methods aiming at deep learning are necessary for a topic such as SD, whereas others appeared to have developed their methods intuitively. The greatest obstacle to collecting the examples was not, as feared beforehand, unwillingness on behalf of the teachers to share their methods with others, but lack of time. Despite the use of prepared templates and assistance in the process, many teachers could not find time for this work due to ongoing teaching and research. There is strong reason to believe that the same inertia affects the extent to which teachers investigate and try out new pedagogical methods. More resources and stronger incentives are needed to enable universities to reorient education towards ESD. Some of these resources should be directed to research into effective ESD pedagogy. The pedagogical methods recommended require feedback and interaction. To avoid making ESD overly resource intensive in terms of staff, e.g. methods relying more on peer review, i.e., student–student interaction, should be further elaborated.