An exploration of a Grade 9 teacher’s journey along the path of Education for Sustainable Development implementation

Hayley Bentham, Angela James and Sathiaseelan Pillay

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Abstract: Teachers constantly face the challenge of implementing new policy and content. It is the inconsistent phasing in and out of policies and innovations that often makes teachers reluctant to change too much.  This creates problems especially when teachers become reluctant to integrate worthwhile and necessary innovations into their teaching and subject content. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is identified in this study as one such necessary innovation. This study takes on a self-directed professional development approach to teacher professional development as it recognises the need to remove the debilitating view of teachers as simply adopters and implementers of educational change. Using an action research approach, a teacher’s story regarding how she developed her understanding and practice of ESD has been presented and the challenges she faced and successes she afforded have been revealed.  The study presented in this paper showed that although the teacher had initial, albeit limited head knowledge of the concept ESD, it was not until she engaged in active learning that she began to access a practical understanding of ESD. Finally, the study also reveals the ways in which this teacher attempted to integrate ESD into her practice.

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