Essential Elements of Sustainability in Teacher Education

By Susan Santone, Shari Saunders and Chris Seguin

This article focuses on defining the proficiencies new teachers need in order to be able to lead in―educating for sustainability‖ (EfS). Educating for sustainability involves teaching and learning collective problem solving skills to address critical environmental, economic, and social issues. This article addresses the essential elements of EfS (content knowledge, skills, behaviors, and dispositions) that need to be taught in teacher education programs so that new teachers can lead implementation of EfS with K-12 students. A set of five EfS proficiency areas are identified. For each proficiency area a brief rationale and literature review are provided, followed by traits of teacher education courses that develop the proficiency area. Evidence of these traits tells us when EfS is happening in pre-service teacher education programs. Alignment of each EfS proficiency area to national teacher InTASC Standards concludes each section.

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