Systems Thinking for Understanding Sustainability? Nordic Student Teachers’ Views on the Relationship between Species Identification, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

A1 Journal article (refereed)


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Irmeli Palmberg, Maria Hofman-Bergholm, Eila Jeronen, Eija Yli-Panula
Publisher: MDPI
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Education Sciences
Journal acronym: Educ. Sci.
Volume number: 7
Issue number: 3
eISSN: 2227-7102


Abstract


Sustainability
is a complex concept including ecological, economic and social dimensions, which in
turn involve several aspects that are interrelated in a complex way, such as
cultural, health and
political aspects. Systems thinking, which focuses on a system’s interrelated
parts, could therefore
help people understand the complexity of sustainability. The aim of this study
is to analyse student
teachers’ level of systems thinking regarding sustainability, especially the
ecological dimension,
and how they explain the relationship between species identification,
biodiversity and sustainability.
Nordic student teachers (N =
424) participated in a questionnaire and their open answers
were content-analysed and categorised. The results indicate the student
teachers’ low level of
systems thinking regarding ecological sustainability. About a quarter of them
(25.4%) had a basic level
including interconnections (13.7%), additional feedback (8.9%) and also
behavioural aspects (2.8%),
but none of them reached an intermediate or advanced level. The low level of
systems thinking
could be explained by two main factors: (1) Systems thinking has not been used
as an educational
method of developing understanding of sustainability in teacher education programmes;
and (2) systems thinking is also a result of life experiences; the older ones
showing more
systems thinking than the younger ones. Therefore, elementary forms of systems
thinking should be
an educational method already in primary education.


Keywords

biodiversity, species identification, sustainability, teacher education

Last updated on 2019-19-11 at 02:44