Inquiry into sustainability issues by preservice teachers: A pedagogy to enhance sustainability consciousness

Qudsia Kalsoom (Lead / Corresponding author), Afifa Khanam

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    72 Citations (Scopus)


    Education for sustainable development (ESD) is transformative education aiming at developing participants’ understanding of sustainability issues and transforming their attitudes and behaviours regarding environment, society and economy. Sustainability consciousness, an expected outcome of ESD, is a complex of cognitive and affective learning. Development of sustainability consciousness requires transformative learning experiences. The study presented in this paper employed action research to enhance sustainability consciousness of the preservice teachers through inquiry based learning. The study was done in the Institute of Education, Lahore College for Women University, Pakistan. The study integrated sustainability education in an existing course entitled ‘Research Methods in Education’. The course is included in the final year of B.Ed. (Honours) programme. Outcome of the ESD-integration was measured in terms of change in the sustainability consciousness of the preservice teachers. The Action Research project engaged 27 preservice teachers in inquiry-based learning (empirical investigations and research based discussions) for a period of 11 weeks. The participants investigated sustainability issues collaboratively. To investigate the change in participants’ sustainability consciousness through inquiry based learning, researchers collected through pre- and post-tests, interviews and observation. Quantitative data were analyzed through paired t-test while qualitative data through thematic coding. The data indicate that empirical investigations into sustainability issues by the presevice teachers and researchbased discussions enhanced preservice teachers’ sustainability consciousness. This highlights the transformative potential of inquiry based learning. Moreover, it indicates that sustainability education can be successfully integrated in the course of ‘research methods in education’. The findings suggest that teacher education programmes and other university programmes may employ inquiry based learning as a vehicle to enhance sustainability consciousness of the undergraduate students.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1301-1311
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017


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