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Telling Reflections: Teaching Sustainably in a Complex Learning Environment

  • Debbie Prescott (a1)


This article examines learning design in a postgraduate preservice teacher setting. The overarching aim was to embed environmentally responsive approaches throughout two companion units for diverse student cohorts. This article reports on a teacher educator self-study in a regional university with extensive online delivery for large units (300–800 students) in a 1-year course. The author examines how assessment tasks in literacy- and numeracy-oriented units are designed to meaningfully integrate environmental sustainability using contextual cues, collaborative learning, complex tasks, and reflexivity. The author argues for the use of these four key guidelines of environmentally responsive pedagogies alongside environmental education programs to emphasise messages of sustainability even in units that are not traditionally environmentally oriented. Challenges include problematising the nature of effective teaching and dealing with the complexities of purposeful learning. Innovative unit learning design alone, however, is inadequate if the surrounding systems are fragmented and seen as separate to learning about sustainability.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Debbie Prescott, School of Education, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina Campus, Ellengowan Drive, Casuarina, NT 0909, Australia. Email:


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Australian Journal of Environmental Education
  • ISSN: 0814-0626
  • EISSN: 2049-775X
  • URL: /core/journals/australian-journal-of-environmental-education
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