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    Enquiry-based skills education for sustainable development in a UK Geography module as a catalyst for organisational change

    Nicholson, Dawn Theresa, Ruiz Vargas, Valeria ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0008-0747 and Skelly, Gail (2023) Enquiry-based skills education for sustainable development in a UK Geography module as a catalyst for organisational change. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. ISSN 1467-6370

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    Abstract

    Purpose – Higher Education Institutions have a significant role in preparing future generations for the world of work and sustainable development. The paper presents a curriculum model of an Enquiry-Based Learning pedagogy and a sustainable development conceptual context, as a mechanism for teaching skills in a Geography module. Potential influences of this model on organisational change towards integrating sustainable development are explored. Design/methodology/approach – Following the design and implementation of the curriculum model, semi-structured interviews of the module teaching team were conducted. Thematic analysis was undertaken against a priori objectives determined from existing theoretical frameworks. Findings – Thematic analysis suggests powerful synergies exist between Enquiry-Based Learning, Education for Sustainable Development, and skills teaching. Potential impacts are: (1) conceptual perspectives enhance cognitive potential around systems thinking, (2) learning methods promote behavioural potential around professional capability and agency, and (3) cultural encounters raise affective potential around inclusive curricula. Practical implications – Findings indicate potential for bottom-up curriculum intervention to: • enhance individual learner capability and outcomes, • promote the role of Geography in responsible futures, • build teaching team capacity for active learning pedagogies, • influence individual and institutional behaviour change towards sustainability practices, diversity and inclusion, • catalyse organisational change around sector priorities including integrating Education for Sustainable Development, active learning, inclusive education, and enhanced graduate outcomes. Originality/value – This paper identifies multiple benefits from a curriculum model combining skills teaching in a synergistic pedagogical and conceptual framework, and its bottom-up potential to catalyse organisational change in Higher Education.

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