A Teacher Education for Sustainable Development System: An Institutional Responsibility

Hayley Bentham, Astrid Sinnes, Sigrid Gjotterud


Soft systems methodology is commonly used in organizational research and can be very useful when attempting to understand organizational structures and dynamics. A teacher education institution is identified here as an organization. Soft systems methodology is employed to gain a picture of the current organizational structure of a Science and Technology Education Department and to further develop a hypothetical picture of what the same organizational structures would look like if they incorporated ESD. These two pictures were presented to a group of teacher educators within the particular department during a focus group interview, where they were encouraged to reflect on three foci. This paper explores the teacher educators’ responses to the hypothetical system picture which elaborates on a system for teacher education for sustainable development. The paper concludes by reflecting on teacher educators’ responses and what they imply for the future of ESD at this teacher education institution. The article reveals that the following findings permeated teacher educators responses to the notional system picture for teacher education for sustainable development: (1) managements’ perceptions of professional autonomy differs from that of teacher educators; (2) there exist seven relevant sub-systems that influence teacher educators’ priority and practice; (3) teacher educators felt that research and leadership were the most powerful tools supporting the suggested ESD curriculum innovation; (4) although ESD is deemed important, it is not a priority for teacher educators due to various reasons.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v4n4p158


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International Journal of Higher Education
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