Pre-service language teachers’ perceptions of sustainability and its implementation in language teaching

Minna Maijala, Leena Maria Heikkola, Salla-Riikka Kuusalu*, Päivi Laine, Maarit Mutta, Katja Mäntylä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

In both the school environment and teacher education, sustainable development is usually linked to the natural and social sciences and is rarely incorporated into language education or encouraged as part of language teacher education. As more research is needed on the practical implementation of sustainable development in language teaching and language teacher education, this study elucidates Finnish pre-service language teachers’ perceptions of sustainability dimensions (i.e. ecological, economic, social, and cultural) and their role in language teaching. We used a questionnaire comprising open-ended and Likert-scale questions to examine pre-service language teachers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards themes under all sustainability dimensions, and their feeling about their ability to integrate them into their teaching. Pre-service teachers (n = 26) recognized the importance of the social and cultural dimensions in language teaching and felt more capable of addressing personal environmental actions than global problems in the language classroom. Some pre-service teachers produced concrete practices linking sustainability issues
with language teaching, but they were mostly teacher-centred. The pre-service teachers did not link equality as tightly to the cultural and social aspects of language teaching as they did in their personal lives. These findings help in developing language teaching and teacher education programmes toward the educational sustainable development goals. Moreover, the questionnaire can be used to analyse the consideration of sustainability themes in language teaching and language
teacher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–30
Number of pages31
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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