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Teachers’ objects of responsibility – Something to care about in education for sustainable development?
Mälardalens högskola.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. (Science Education)
2008 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, Vol. 14, no 2, 145-163 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Answers to questions about good teaching in environmental education can be expressed in different selective traditions. Questions as to what should be included in good teaching tend to be addressed by both teachers and researchers on an ideological basis. This qualitative study uses a pragmatist approach, and aims to make an empirical contribution to the debate. Rather than telling teachers what they should teach, this interview study involved listening to ten upper secondary school teachers in Sweden, and their arguments concerning their long-term teaching purposes. Why should students learn particular things? The teachers' answers revealed habits and frequently used the same arguments. These arguments recurrently dealt with what teachers particularly cared about, and five objects of responsibility were identified in the interviews. These objects of responsibility constitute the starting points of teachers' actions and can be seen as personal anchor points within a selective tradition. These points of departure remind the teachers of their teaching aims and objectives, and at the same time, keep them within a tradition. While they help the teachers in their everyday practice, they could just as easily be seen as tacit obstacles to efforts to change environmental education into Education for Sustainable Development. The results are also relevant for science education in general. Issues identified in the study include how the same scientific knowledge could be used for different purposes in education, and the different personal anchor points for long-term purposes of teaching based on teachers' own ideas of good teaching. These results can be important in developing a reflection tool for teachers, which in turn can help them to reflect more deeply about how they might change their teaching practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 14, no 2, 145-163 p.
Keyword [en]
pragmatism; objects of responsibility; argumentation; environmental education; education for sustainable development; science education; selective traditions
National Category
Research subject
Science Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35532DOI: 10.1080/13504620801951681ISI: 000207470100004OAI: diva2:287454
Available from: 2010-01-18 Created: 2010-01-18 Last updated: 2010-01-20Bibliographically approved

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Wickman, Per-Olof
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