Teacher’s narratives on the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) : a comparative discourse analysis in Germany and Sweden

Detta är en Master-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Sammanfattning: A manifold of research and literature on Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) stretches from pluralistic interpretations of the concepts’ definition over political debates to the formulation of practical guidelines for educators’ and training programs. While being very open for interpretation, on the political agenda the concept of ESD is argued to be one of the fundamental solutions to tackle Climate Change. Among other areas in society, the ESD approach is meant to be implemented in every subject by teachers in high schools. Needless to say, this imposes a great responsibility on teachers and a successful implementation of the concept of ESD is highly dependent on the individual teacher’s commitment to the topic. The present paper investigates high school teachers’ narratives on the implementation of the concept of ESD in Germany and Sweden. Discourse Theory by Laclau and Mouffe was used to develop a discourse analytical lens in order to identify differences and similarities between the discourses. The intention behind choosing a high school in Germany and Sweden is less to be understood as a comparison of two countries’ performance. Instead, it shall merely allow for the identification of differences and similarities in two different communities for future knowledge exchange and identification of different communication approaches. This research proposes a deeper elaboration on power structures within the educational system in order to empower teachers to implement the concept of ESD and related pedagogical approaches. Research data was obtained through surveys and in-depths interviews in both countries. With a focus on underlying power structures, hegemony in discourse and the role and identity of teachers, the analysis led to four main themes that will be elaborated on in the discussion of this paper. Those findings illustrate the teachers’ understanding of the ESD approach and how they express to implement it. Furthermore, it discusses the portrayal of a separation between schools and reality and whether and when a lack of time and funding leads to inaction. The teachers’ narratives show how a more liberated role of teachers, where the teachers identify with the responsibility and freedom that is given to them, can lead to higher motivation for an implementation of the ESD approach.

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