Sustainability Education, Whole School Approaches, and Communities of Action

  • Tony Shallcross
  • John Robinson

Despite differences in terminology, environmental education and educations that address sustainability share a common aspiration of changing lifestyles. In this chapter we argue that a situated, whole school action-focused learning rather than behaviourist or cognitive/constructivist approaches to learning offers a better, though not the only, prospect for education to contribute to the development of more sustainable lifestyles/actions. While environmental awareness and values education approaches can generate more sustainable actions, these approaches seem incapable of contributing to sustainable lifestyles at a societal scale. Whole school approaches are not the only approach to sustainability education, but they appear to have significant benefits in promoting sustainable actions congruent with, for example, the UK Government’s Every Child Matters Strategy in England, which promotes the principles: be safe, be healthy, achieve and enjoy, make a contribution, and be economically active. These approaches underpinned by the theoretical framework of communities of practice offer a vision for a sustainability education that has this contributory action focus.

Keywords sustainability education, whole school approaches, communities of practice, communities of action, participation


Head Teacher Formal Curriculum Participative Democracy School Ground School Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Shallcross
    • 1
  • John Robinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of EducationManchester Metropolitan UniversityUK
  2. 2.The Education and Social Research InstituteManchester Metropolitan UniversityDidsburyUK

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