To connect through education to advance understandings and actions in relation to environmental and sustainability issues across all communities and education sectors.
Education for Sustainability Partnership Project
Australian Education for Sustainability Alliance (AESA)
The Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) entered into an Alliance with other organisations to advocate for resources to support Education for Sustainability in four key areas.
This AESA project has published a report from the first stage of the Education for Sustainability and the Australian Curriculum Project.
Four key policy areas
The challenge is that Australia currently lacks the vision and leadership to provide high quality and integrated education for sustainability through formal education and lifelong learning. AESA has identified four key policy areas to improve education for sustainability in Australia:
- The Australian Curriculum
- Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative
- Tertiary Education
- Professional development in the green skills sector
To achieve a more sustainable Australia by ensuring that all Australians have the opportunity to receive effective education that instils knowledge, practices and values of sustainability, through the formal education system and through ongoing information and training throughout life.
The Australian Education for Sustainability Alliance is comprised of organisations from the education, union, youth and environment sectors that want a higher prioritisation of sustainability in the education system. We are achieving this by advocating and lobbying for best practice education for sustainability policy to fulfil our vision of a sustainable Australia.
ACF on behalf of the Australian Education for Sustainability Alliance (AESA) is managing a DEEWR funded project over the next 18 months to engage with a wide variety of mainstream teachers and educators, as well as with decision makers in government, to recommend ways to:
- improve the accessibility of high quality classroom ready resources;
- support the alignment of EfS learning tools and programs with the Australian Curriculum; and
- provide better training and support services for teachers and educators programs to enable efficient delivery of sustainability learning outcomes across the Australian Curriculum.
About the Alliance
The Australian Education for Sustainability Alliance is comprised of organisations from the education, union, youth and environment sectors that together represent over 700,000 Australians that want a higher prioritisation of sustainability in the education system. We are achieving this by advocating for best practice education for sustainability policy to fulfill our vision of a sustainable Australia.
- Australian Association of Environmental Education
- Australian Campuses Towards Sustainability
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- Australian Council of State School Organisations
- Australian Education Union
- Australian Youth Climate Coalition
- Catholic Earthcare Australia
- Environment Institute Australia and New Zealand
- Independent Education Union
- National Tertiary Education Union
- National Union of Students
A resources portal
Read about the Sustainability in Schools resources portal that came out of this project.
For more information
Visit the Australian Education for Sustainability Alliance website or contact the President at president(at)aaee.org.au.
Skilling Educators for Sustainability Australia (SESA)
Skilling Educators for Sustainability Australia (SESA), which began mid-2012, is a three-year project funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry.
The aim of the project is to enhance the skills and capability of trainers in water and waste industries to better support their colleagues in responding to the challenges of climate change and a low-carbon economy. The project will provide targeted professional training for those working in the field of sustainability education.
SESA is overseen by three professional associations: Australian Water Association, Waste Management Association of Australia and Australian Association for Environmental Education.
Research undertaken in late 2013 helped to further refine the project’s understanding of the sector’s professional development needs. A summary of findings includes:
- Training outcomes have shifted from ‘information’ to ‘transformation’, audience and topic diversity has increased:Trainers are now required to include a wider scope of sustainability topics. The level of training has shifted from information or awareness raising to transforming participant understanding and achieving behavior change. The diversity of audiences engaged and topics taught by waste and water trainers have expanded to include broader sustainability issues such as climate change and energy efficiency
- Marketing and engagement methods are critical to successful Education for Sustainability (EfS): Trainers reported the significant challenges they face in engaging their target audiences (including the people in their organisations) in sustainability issues. When they considered attending training themselves, they found it difficult to discern the level, focus and outcomes. Research revealed that poor descriptors, the pitch of training and insufficient communication about professional development opportunities contributed to low uptake in the past. Both trainers and their employers perceive that time and money has been wasted on poor quality or irrelevant professional development, however quality, targeted training is still sought.
- Trainers’ roles and background skills are extremely diverse, often without EfS training: Whilst many trainers have a deep understanding of sustainability issues they often do not have formal EfS or education qualifications. They are unlikely to have learnt EfS principles because this is a relatively new area. Many trainers do not have formal qualifications in EfS.
- PD areas of most interest to trainers that relate to sustainability education were:
a. Building the business case for sustainability;
b. Sustainability issues and concepts related to their field;
c. Achieving action outcomes and behaviour change (including motivating people; identifying needs and structuring information for audiences; and community/business engagement skills);
d. Course and program evaluation techniques;
e. Critical and systems thinking;
f. Social media use and analysis.
- Trainers were also very interested in gaining skills in more generic areas of:
g. Technical skills and knowledge about waste/water;
h. Strategic planning and project management.
- The educational resources requested by trainers were:
i. Experiential learning activities (60%, 65)
j. Case studies (58%, 63)
k. Learning resources (53%, 58)
l. Practical trials (46%, 50)
m. Activities (44%, 48)
n. Field trips (44%, 48)
- Making personal connections through the learning process was highly valued: Trainers prefer face-to-face learning and are prepared to have this in combination with flexible online options so that people in disparate locations can participate. Peer-to-peer learning through networking and conference attendance is very important, as is the opportunity to be mentored by experts.
- Accreditation for training was important but not essential: Industry is more concerned with quality training that provides specific, meaningful knowledge and skills particular to trainers’ needs. This is especially so, given the lack of time that trainers have available to undertake PD.
- Time, cost and gauging the value and relevance of training are the main barriers to uptake of professional development for both trainers and employers.
read the report
The full report is now available SESA Alchemy Report Final 14Feb2014
Register to become a member