Theoretical Considerations on Pedagogic Practice and Its Transformative Potential

  • Stephanie LederEmail author
Part of the Education for Sustainability book series (EDFSU)


This chapter develops a theoretical framework for transformative pedagogic practice to analyze the transformative potential of Education for Sustainable Development. The framework draws on insights of Basil Bernstein’s Sociological Theory of Education (Bernstein 1975a, 1975b, 1990), Paolo Freire’s Critical Pedagogy (Freire 1996), and the didactic approach of argumentation skill development. The combination of these approaches allows an integrative multi-level analysis of possibilities for a paradigm change toward transformative pedagogic practice. First, I review the tension in educational policy discourses between human capital and human rights approaches by discussing how several dominant traditions of social theory, Critical Pedagogy, and post-colonial perspectives view the role of education. Then, I conceptualize the tension between reproductive and transformative pedagogic practice by focusing on weakening power relations inherent in teaching. I offer a novel synthesis that allows us to understand the translation of standardized educational policies such as Education for Sustainable Development in local contexts by reflecting on the role of cultural values for the reinterpretation of dominant “Western” ideas in education. I use this framework as a basis to analyze the empirical findings on academic frameworks (Chap.  6), pedagogic practice (Chap.  7), and ESD teaching modules (Chap.  8).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CologneCologneGermany

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