Open Access

Education for Sustainable Development: Experiences from Action Research with Science Teachers


This study reports on Egyptian science teachers’ experiences in collective action research projects with a focus on education for sustainable development (ESD). Science teachers were enrolled in a study course “Teaching Strategies” that had been revised with a focus on sustainability. The course was introduced in the spring semester of the academic year 2011/2012. Throughout the course, 29 teachers worked in groups to develop projects that promote sustainable development through classroom teaching practices that encourage involvement with local communities around school premises. The framework that guided the study was based on experiential, constructivist and transformative learning theories known collectively as ‘ExConTra’. A mixed methods methodology was used where teachers’ responses to three open-ended reflective questions produced qualitative data that were analysed by identifying themes and patterns. The author developed two quantitative instruments: a Concept Mapping Rubric and a Sustainable Development Questionnaire. The former was to probe the cognitive organisation participants had in relation to the concept of sustainable development before and after developing the action research projects. The latter instrument was used to identify participants’ attitudes towards teaching for ESD and their knowledge of classroom pedagogical practices. Statistical data analysis using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences indicates that teachers in their post-tests had developed: better cognitive organisation for the concept of sustainable development; positive attitudes towards teaching for sustainable development and ESD classroom teaching practices. Involvement in the action research projects where teachers were experiencing, reflecting, conceptualising, constructing, acting and transforming within the context of ESD may be responsible for these results where there are promises to help achieve successful implementation to include ESD in science education.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Education, other