Learner-Centered Teaching for Environmental and Sustainability Studies



This volume merges two aspects of education that have rapidly changed in recent years: environmental and sustainability education, and knowledge about effective pedagogy. Its central purpose is to disseminate engaging teaching activities that instructors can use to help increase students’ environmental literacy. The included activities are that require minimal instructor preparation, do not require elaborate setups or specialized materials, and can be used in many course contexts but especially in traditional (i.e., non-laboratory, indoor) classroom spaces; most can be completed in one or two class sessions. The target audience is primarily higher-education instructors (including graduate level), but high school teachers may find the resources appropriate for and adaptable to their courses, especially advanced ones. This introductory chapter frames the collection of teaching activities by discussing pedagogical challenges of environmental and sustainability education and the nature and implications of adopting learner-centered pedagogy. To foster critical, honest reflection about the approach, some of its inherent challenges and trade-offs are reviewed to help readers more thoughtfully reflect about how to implement it. The concluding section includes comments about learner-centered lecturing, the chapters’ structure and content, peer review of teaching activities, and the joy and necessity of learner-centered teaching for environmental and sustainability studies.


Environmental education Sustainability education Learner-centered teaching Teaching challenges and trade-offs College pedagogy 

Supplementary material

328621_1_En_1_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
1_Byrne_ESM-A (DOCX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Marine Biology & Environmental ScienceRoger Williams UniversityBristolUSA

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