Learning for Stewardship in the Anthropocene: A Study with Young Adolescents in the Wet Tropics
AbstractEnhancing student capacity to act for sustainability is recognised as an important strategy for reversing current patterns of environmental degradation. To achieve this, the emerging Australian Curriculum incorporates a sustainability cross-curriculum priority, designed to ensure students develop the necessary knowledge, skills, values and world views to contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. Stewardship has an important role to play in helping to develop sustainable patterns of living. However, it is not known to what extent or how the sustainability cross-curriculum priority includes stewardship.
This research investigates sustainability teaching and learning from an environmental stewardship perspective. Education based on environmental stewardship aims to develop an ethic of care for the natural and built world. Proponents of environmental stewardship argue that the approach is effective because it provides a foundation for the development of well-being, critical thinking and problem solving in tandem with the desire and confidence to act to maintain life supporting Earth Systems.
This research will apply an explanatory sequential mixed methods research design to map and review environmental stewardship in the Australian Curriculum’s sustainability cross-curriculum priority and in Year 10 students and teachers in the Wet Tropics region of Australia. Research methods will include a document analysis of the Australian Curriculum’s sustainability cross-curriculum priority; and survey and interviews to understand student and teacher subjective foundations of environmental stewardship and the expression of stewardship in school and life contexts. Subjective foundations include the existent aspirations, values and knowledge that guide student and teacher thinking and action for stewardship. Analysis and synthesis of this data, through a stewardship lens, will inform a stewardship pedagogical framework that will complement the sustainability curriculum.
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