Inquiry-Based Learning: The vehicle for promoting Education for Sustainable Development in elementary schools
Small, Tamica S.P 1980-
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ABSTRACT Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has risen to prominence over the past decade and several studies have been conducted regarding its significance. UNESCO has repeatedly elevated children as crucial to achievement of the goals of the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and research affirms that children are critical in galvanizing the changes necessary for achieving sustainable lifestyles. A plethora of research has been undertaken to analyze the integration of ESD into high school and post-secondary education, while other studies have featured the integration of ESD into specific disciplines. However, the literature does demonstrate there have been few studies that investigate the integration of ESD in elementary school classrooms Three research questions were used to navigate this research. These research questions include: (i) Does the Saskatchewan mandated curricula in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science at grades 6, support Education for Sustainable Development through inquiry-based learning? (ii) If so, does this mandated curriculum support primary school teachers who are committed to ESD and who use inquiry approaches? (iii) What are the barriers/challenges faced by Saskatchewan teachers who are committed to implementing ESD through IBL. Findings from this research indicates that inquiry-based learning is a compatible teaching method for fostering ESD in the classroom. However, the study revealed that while some ESD concepts are embedded in the documents, the curricula lack adequate ESD visibility, which contributes to the challenges that teachers experience when integrating ESD in the classroom. Such deficiencies, along with other challenges uncovered by this research, impede the teachers’ willingness to integrate ESD in their classroom. These findings are critical for educational policy makers and curriculum developers as these suggest ways in which ESD through inquiry-based learning could be strengthened.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeMcVittie, Janet; Baker, Jeff; Woodhouse, Howard
Copyright DateNovember 2018
Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Education for Sustainable Development, Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
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