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Drivers and Blockers: Embedding Education for Sustainability (EfS) in Primary Teacher Education

  • Sue Wilson (a1)


The growing emphasis on sustainability in school curricula in Australia reflects international trends in education. Teacher education is a vital strategy for the incorporation of Education for Sustainability (EfS) in school curricula. Research to identify drivers and barriers to embedding EfS across a primary teacher education program in an Australian university is the focus of this article. Using a mixed methods approach, data were gathered through document and unit outline audits, a self-efficacy pre-service teacher (PST) survey, and staff and PST focus group interviews. The audits identified a foundation of EfS principles and content across units. Lecturers identified societal and personal drivers and blockers to embedding EfS across the course, with lack of time considered the biggest blocker, which is also consistent with existing school-based research on the nature of teachers' work. PST responses described successful learning outcomes; however, confidence towards teaching sustainability varied. PST reported that the incorporation of community networks in their course provided enriching experiences. Embedding EfS involves values, sustainability concerns and appropriate knowledge and skills. Successful implementation will depend on the development of appropriate understandings of teacher educators.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Sue Wilson, Australian Catholic University, 223 Antill Street, Watson ACT 2602, Australia. Email:


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