I have been involved with the consultation and initial implementation phases of the new Australian Curriculum over the past few years. Sustainability is one of 3 cross curricular priorities in the new curriculum. The cross curriculum priorities are embedded in the curriculum and will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to each of the learning areas.
Three main areas of relevance are:
Sustainable patterns of living
Education for sustainability
Ecosystems and biosphere sustainability
Teachers have been teaching sustainability in a number of guises over many years to varying levels. In a previous career I taught high school science, where anything remotely environmental seemed to lay with you, provided you had the time to fit it in an often overcrowded curriculum. Depending on the teacher and their background and expertise and their own opinions the matter could often go untouched.
I don’t believe the new curriculum documents are the answer to all of our problems (far from it). I do believe however that it’s a positive move including sustainability as a priority area that is the responsibility of teachers of all areas of the curriculum.
The curriculum is yet to be trialed, but starting next year we’ll begin to get an idea of how this area is incorporated in a more formal way. There are huge amounts of resources out there for educators which is fantastic as I believe this is exactly where we need to be putting our resources, into education.
How is sustainability incorporated into your education system?