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ERIC Number: ED531356
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 270
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-6656-7
Education as Sustainability: An Action Research Study of the Burns Model of Sustainability Pedagogy
Burns, Heather
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Portland State University
Postsecondary teaching and learning must be reoriented to equip learners with the knowledge, skills, and values they will need for creating a more sustainable world. This action research study examined the effects of implementing the "Burns model of sustainability pedagogy" in university courses taught by the researcher. This model is comprised of five key dimensions: (1) "Content"; (2) "Perspectives"; (3) "Process"; (4) "Context"; and (5) "Design." The Burns model of sustainability pedagogy seeks to: (1) increase learners' systemic understanding of complex sustainability issues ("Content"); (2) provide learners with opportunities to think critically about dominant paradigms, practices and power relationships and consider complex ecological and social issues from diverse perspectives ("Perspectives"); (3) enhance learners' civic responsibility and intentions to work toward sustainability through active participation and experience ("Process"); (4) increase learners' understanding of and connection with the geographical place and the community in which they live ("Context"); and (5) utilize an ecological course design to create transformative learning ("Design"). This pedagogical model reflects education as sustainability, a transformative learning process through which learners' values and perspectives change so that they are able to embrace sustainability and take action for change. Findings revealed that through the use of sustainability themes, students came to understand sustainability "Content" concretely, personally, and multidimensionally. Students understood multiple "Perspectives" and power relationships through experiential learning, through relationships with one another, by hopeful examples, and by learning to think critically. Due to a participatory and experiential learning "Process," students expressed intentions to buy locally and to act directly for sustainable change. Through a focus on "Context" students experienced stronger connections to their local community. A self-reflective teaching process and relational learning was important to the "Design" of a transformational learning process. The results show that the Burns model of sustainability pedagogy can be adapted to university courses in various disciplines. This study contributes to the field of sustainability education by providing an example of an effective model for teaching sustainability at the university level. In order to prepare diverse learners for leadership roles in a sustainable world, attention must be focused on integrating transformative sustainability pedagogy throughout postsecondary education. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A