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The Role of Transformation in Learning and Education for Sustainability

Leal Filho, W and Raath, S and Lazzarini, B and Vargas, VR and de Souza, L and Anholon, R and Quelhas, OLG and Haddad, R and Klavins, M and Orlovic, LV (2018) The Role of Transformation in Learning and Education for Sustainability. Journal of Cleaner Production, 199. pp. 286-295. ISSN 0959-6526


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Education research has acknowledged the value of transformation, which offers an opportunity for researching and rethinking how appropriate and successful educational practices may be. However, despite the role of transformation in higher education and particularly in sustainability learning, there is a paucity of studies which examine the extent to which transformation and learning on matters related to sustainable development may be integrated. Based on this perceived research need, the purpose of this article is to present how transformation in learning in education for sustainability requires the commitment of Faculty and the engament of students. To do this, a set of qualitative case studies were used in higher education institutions across seven countries (Brazil, Serbia, Latvia, South Africa, Spain, Syria, UK). The findings revealed that the concept of education for sustainable development has not been sufficiently integrated into the concept of transformation in higher education institutions. It also found that to enhance sustainability in the curricula, academics should develop collaborative approaches, and discuss how to redesign their own disciplines, and how to appreciate the epistemology and multicultural vision of sustainability, both as a topic, and as a field of education research. It was further found that reflections of the academics on their own values are crucial for developing the transformative potential of students as agents of a sustainable future. It is necessary that universities should transform to serve as models of social justice and environmental stewardship, and to foster sustainability learning.

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