Network Objective

The key objective of the Network in Research on Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) which is covers research in Environmental Education (EE), Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Sustainability Education (SE), etc., is to facilitate a network of European researchers who will critically investigate and discuss the dynamic relations between education, learning, environment and sustainability issues. The network will contribute to conceptual and methodological development in this field, as well as enhance empirical research in formal and informal educational settings from pre-school to higher education and other adult learning contexts. The research area is wide and includes curriculum, whole school approaches, teacher competencies, implementation and policy discussions on the one hand, and learning outcomes and learner participation on the other, which include non-formal and informal learning.

The overall objective is to share, discuss, disseminate and advance the newly established area of environmental and sustainability education research, and to promote the development and impact of such research. ESE is a multidimensional concept that is a combination of educational activities related to ecological, economic and social dimensions. Sustainability issues such as climate change, systemic thinking, world trade, global distribution of wealth and resources, life quality, quality of environment, health, intercultural communication and depletion of natural resources will be explored in respect of education and learning. Education will therefore be a key focus of this network including the specific approaches to learning and teaching that are relevant when studying complex contemporary societal issues. Research activities and discussion in this network are closely related to long traditions in educational philosophy including the role and purposes of education, for example, the relation between education as a tool for societal change at large or for the development of the informed individual. What makes these educational discussions distinctive is the critical analysis of international and intergenerational aspects of the educational settings and activities.

Summing up the network will dedicate itself to

Research in the theory / practice of environmental and sustainability education, environmental education, education for sustainable development, outdoor education, place-based education, global education, socio-scientific issues in science education

Research in formal, in-formal and non-formal education connected to educational policy, institutional and curriculum development, pedagogical practice, professional development, and learner empowerment

Research Focus

Attention is placed on research that challenges traditional educational discourses which focus narrowly on learners’ attitudes and behaviours. Instead, the research that will be examined and promoted within this network, will critically explore socio-cultural and other contextual determinants that influence learning processes regarding sustainability issues in educational settings in all sectors of an education system, and on individual, organizational and system levels. In this way, the network engages with wider educational issues such as participatory approaches, community partnerships, professional competencies, sustainable learning outcomes, policy transfer, and organizational learning.

Relations to other EERA Networks

The research fields of this network relate to other EERA Networks, such as Network 27 (Didactics), Network 7 (Social justice Intercultural education), Network 8 (Research on Health Education), and Network 23 (Policy Studies and Politics of Education). A particular distinguishing characteristic of this proposed network is the emphasis on the links between learning and sustainability in a broad sense. That is, between educational processes and outcomes on the one hand, the discussions on different societal levels about the use of outcomes for a more sustainable world on the other.  This network welcomes all researchers and educators with an interest in such issues from across Europe.

ESER, 2 min reflections, Porto 2014

Keywords

Environmental and sustainability education, environmental education, education for sustainable development, global education, outdoor education, and socio-scientific issues in science education, educational policy, institutional and curriculum development, pedagogical practice, professional development, and learner empowerment.