Judging the effectiveness of asustainable school: A brief exploration of issues

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This essay explores a central question for all those involved in education and sustainability (ESD): What are you really most interested in: educational or social outcomes—what learners learn, or what they do? Although this is hardly a new question, the paper argues that it is one that needs to be emphasised at this time when we see a tightening focus on modifying behaviours, and the conscription of educational institutions and programmes to these ends. The essay takes the promotion of Fairtrade, a contemporary view on how ESD might be conceptualised, and a recent report from the English schools inspectorate, to explore where an appropriate balance might be struck between these. The essay argues that, although both educational and social outcomes are important, when it comes to making judgements about school effectiveness, this needs to be tightly focused on what young people are learning rather than on, say, the amount of energy they have saved or waste they have recycled.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Education for Sustainable Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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