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Rhodes University (2019)

An investigation of how selected Namibian grade 9 geography textbooks are reorienting school geography to education for sustainable development

Uusiku, Naftal Amutenya

Titre : An investigation of how selected Namibian grade 9 geography textbooks are reorienting school geography to education for sustainable development

Auteur : Uusiku, Naftal Amutenya

Université de soutenance : Rhodes University

Grade : Master of Education 2019

Résumé
The World Social Science Report (UNESCO, 2013) describes environmental issues and challenges, many of which are driven by human activities. These include : changing consumption patterns, climate change, deforestation, desertification, water, population growth, poverty, food security, waste products and cultural diversity and globalization. Education for sustainable development [ESD], a vital tool for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, requires a rethinking and reorienting of education to address sustainability (UNESCO, 2016). The International Geographical Union Commission on Geographical Education (2007, 2016) acknowledges the importance of reorienting of school geography to ESD. In Namibia, ESD has been embedded in the national curriculum. However, teachers play a critical role in reorienting school geography to ESD at the level of the classroom. They need appropriate resources to do so, the most widely used of which is the textbook. This study addresses the need for empirical research on how Namibian textbooks are reorienting geography to ESD. Using a qualitative interpretive research design, the study had the goals of understanding how selected Grade 9 textbooks are reorienting geography to ESD in what is taught (content) and how it is taught and learned (pedagogy), and how textbook authors perceive the reorienting of geography to ESD. Data were gathered through an online questionnaire of authors’ perceptions of their educational goals, important ESD content, the teaching strategies they use and the challenges they face. Document analysis was done on two causes of environmental deterioration — deforestation and population explosion in the theme Ecology — in three approved Grade 9 textbooks. The study provides evidence of how the selected textbooks are helping to reorientate school geography to the ESD content prescribed by the Namibian geography syllabus in a way that emphasizes knowing about, as opposed to critically engaging with the environmental challenges and issues at hand. With the exception of one textbook, the textbooks generally do not help to reorientate pedagogy to the transformative, change-oriented, futures-focused pedagogy advocated by the literature. Furthermore, the authors’ responses do not contain evidence that suggests their thinking is informed by contemporary perspectives on ESD or geography education. The findings provide insights for understanding how textbooks are helping to reorient Namibian school geography that may be of value to textbook authors and curriculum developers. Furthermore, it illuminates the need for theoretically informed curriculum and textbook writing workshop

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