Hey Teacher! We Need More Education: A Study of the Experiences of Irish Young People of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
Angarita Cala, Carolina
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CitationAngarita Cala, Carolina. 2018. Hey Teacher! We Need More Education: A Study of the Experiences of Irish Young People of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractEducation for Sustainable Development (ESD) is an emerging tool that governments around the world are increasingly implementing in their education systems to address the changes that are required for society to transition towards a more sustainable, equitable future. But how effective is the actual implementation of ESD strategies and policies in post-primary schools in leading to knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors supportive of Sustainable Development (SD)? Focusing on Ireland, this study analyzed SD awareness in 18 to 21-year-old young adults. Using a survey as the data collection tool, it categorized demographic variables such as gender, current activity, type of school, school ethos, and age group. Response variables collected measured participants’ level of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (KAB) towards SD. Scores in the three KAB areas were standardized to create three corresponding KAB indexes.
The findings in this study agreed with previous research in which self-identified females outperformed those self-identifying as male in all three KAB areas. A multiple regression of knowledge and attitudes on the behavior variable showed that knowledge explained up to 20% of variance of favorable behaviors of SD, with attitudes showing no influence as a predictor of behaviors of SD in the presence of knowledge.
Other findings in this study showed that (i) students who thought that the subject Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) and the Green Schools program taught them about SD in school displayed more sustainable behaviors, (ii) young people in university displayed more sustainable behaviors than those in school, and (iii) the behaviors of young people in the study were influenced by feelings of respect. The latter finding agreed with previous studies of the KAB of SD in students.
The ultimate goal of this research is to increase the understanding of young people’s attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors on SD in Ireland to assist government departments and agencies in the development of future ESD policy so that specific areas of weakness can be targeted and improved.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004027