Sustainability as a cross-curricular priority in the Australian Curriculum: a Tasmanian investigation
Dyment, JE and Hill, A and Emery, S, Sustainability as a cross-curricular priority in the Australian Curriculum: a Tasmanian investigation, Environmental Education Research, 21, (8) pp. 1105-1126. ISSN 1350-4622 (2015) [Refereed Article]
In this paper, we report on an investigation into sustainability education in schools in the Australian state of Tasmania following the implementation of the Australian Curriculum. Sustainability is one of three cross-curriculum priorities in the new national curriculum and is the focus of this research (sustainability cross-curriculum priority (CCP)). Principals and Curriculum Leaders (PCLs) from all schools in Tasmania were invited to complete a survey that asked them about their understanding of various aspects of sustainability and how the sustainability CCP was integrated across learning areas. Sixty-eight PCLs (24%) responded to the survey. They reported generally good understandings of sustainability and education for sustainability, but lesser understandings of the sustainability CCP and the nine organising ideas. Respondents’ understandings of sustainability were dominated by an environmental focus. The PCLs’ responses in relation to sustainability implementation across learning areas gave insights into ways that the sustainability CCP can serve as a pivot for cross-curricular teaching and learning, which is strongly advocated for achieving transformative sustainability education. We conclude this paper with a discussion of how the sustainability CCP is an important asset in the necessary reorientation of the Australian formal education system for a more sustainable future. We note the importance of professional support so that educators may better understand sustainability and its complexity as a cross-curricular priority and envision ways in which the sustainability CCP can be realised within education.
education for sustainability; sustainability; curriculum change; cross-curricular teaching; professional learning; interdisciplinary learning