Towards more effective learning for sustainability: reconceptualising science education


  • Annette Gough RMIT University



Environmental education can trace many of its roots to science education, although the relationship between the two has been contested. With the growth of Education for Sustainable Development in the past decade or so the potential relationship between environmental education and science education has strengthened with a growing recognition that an understanding of ecological sustainability is essential if we are to achieve sustainable development. This foregrounding of the importance of an environmental science education has been happening at the same time as student interest in studying traditional science subjects is declining and concerns are being raised about the static nature of science education practices. However, environmental education and Education for Sustainable Development also remain marginalised in most schools and education systems. It thus seems timely to reconsider the nature of both environmental education and science education, and reconceptualise science education to their mutual benefit. The science education that emerges from this reconceptualisation will not be like that currently practiced as, within an ESD context and given the changing nature of youth, a reconceptualised science/environmental education will also need to explicitly address economic and social sustainability as well as ecological sustainability and the significance of “Education for all”.