Aiydh Aljeddani

Abstracts

4 Potentiality of a Community of Practice between Public Schools and the Private Sector for Integrating Sustainable Development into the School Curriculum

Authors: Aiydh Aljeddani, Fran Martin

Abstract:

The critical time in which we live requires rethinking of many potential ways in order to make the concept of sustainability and its principles an integral part of our daily life. One of these potential approaches is how to attract community institutions, such as the private sector, to participate effectively in the sustainability industry by supporting public schools to fulfill their duties. A collaborative community of practice can support this purpose and can provide a flexible framework, which allows the members of the community to participate effectively. This study, conducted in Saudi Arabia, aimed to understand the process of a collaborative community of practice of involving the private sector as a member of this community to integrate the sustainability concept in school activities and projects. This study employed a qualitative methodology to understand this authentic and complex phenomenon. A case study approach, ethnography and some elements of action research were followed in this study. The methods of unstructured interviews, artifacts, observation, and teachers’ field notes were used to collect the data. The participants were three secondary teachers, twelve chief executive officers, and one school administrative officer. Certain contextual conditions, as shown by the data, should be taken into consideration when policy makers and school administrations in Saudi Arabia desire to integrate sustainability into school activities. The first of these was the acknowledgement of the valuable role of the members’ personality, efforts, abilities, and experiences, which played vital roles in integrating sustainability. Second, institutional culture, which was not expected to emerge as an important factor in this study, has a significant role in the integration of sustainability. Credibility among the members of the community towards the integration of the sustainability concept and its principles through school activities is another important condition. Fourth, some chief executive officers’ understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) towards contribution to sustainability agenda was shallow and limited and this could impede the successful integration of sustainability. Fifth, a shared understanding between the members of the community about integrating sustainability was a vital condition in the integration process. The study also revealed that the integration of sustainability could not be an ongoing process if implemented in isolation of the other community institutions such as the private sector. The study finally offers a number of recommendations to improve on the current practices and suggests areas for further studies.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, private sector, public schools, community of practice

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3 Introducing the Concept of Sustainable Learning: Redesigning the Social Studies and Citizenship Education Curriculum in the Context of Saudi Arabia

Authors: Aiydh Aljeddani, Fran Martin

Abstract:

Sustainable human development is an essential component of a sustainable economic, social and environmental development. Addressing sustainable learning only through the addition of new teaching methods, or embedding certain approaches, is not sufficient on its own to support the goals of sustainable human development. This research project seeks to explore how the process of redesigning the current principles of curriculum based on the concept of sustainable learning could contribute to preparing a citizen who could later contribute towards sustainable human development. Multiple qualitative methodologies were employed in order to achieve the aim of this study. The main research methods were teachers’ field notes, artefacts, informal interviews (unstructured interview), a passive participant observation, a mini nominal group technique (NGT), a weekly diary, and weekly meeting. The study revealed that the integration of a curriculum for sustainable development, in addition to the use of innovative teaching approaches, highly valued by students and teachers in social studies’ sessions. This was due to the fact that it created a positive atmosphere for interaction and aroused both teachers and students’ interest. The content of the new curriculum also contributed to increasing students’ sense of shared responsibility through involving them in thinking about solutions for some global issues. This was carried out through addressing these issues through the concept of sustainable development and the theory of Thinking Activity in a Social Context (TASC). Students had interacted with sustainable development sessions intellectually and they also practically applied it through designing projects and cut-outs. Ongoing meetings and workshops to develop work between both the researcher and the teachers, and by the teachers themselves, played a vital role in implementing the new curriculum. The participation of teachers in the development of the project through working papers, exchanging experiences and introducing amendments to the students' environment was also critical in the process of implementing the new curriculum. Finally, the concept of sustainable learning can contribute to the learning outcomes much better than the current curriculum and it can better develop the learning objectives in educational institutions.

Keywords: Sustainable Learning, redesigning, social studies and citizenship education curriculum, thinking activity in a social context

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2 Exploring the Current Practice of Integrating Sustainability into the Social Studies and Citizenship Education Curriculum in the Saudi Educational Context

Authors: Aiydh Aljeddani, Fran Martin

Abstract:

The study mainly aims at exploring and understanding the current practice of social studies and citizenship education curriculum contribution to sustainability literacy and competency of the ninth and tenth grade students in the Saudi general education context. This study stems from a need for conducting research in general education contexts in order to prepare future graduate students who possess fundamental elements of education for sustainable development. To the best of our knowledge, the literature on education for sustainable development reveals that little research has been conducted so far on general education contexts and this study will add new knowledge in the literature. The study is interpretive in nature and employs a qualitative case study approach, and ethnography methodologies to understand deeply this complex educational phenomenon. 167 participants took part in this study, they were from six general education schools and made up of 25 teachers, and 142 students. Document analysis, semi-structured interviews, nominal group technique, and passive participant observation were used in order to gather the data for this study. The outcomes of the study showed the keenness of the Saudi government on promoting and raising awareness education for sustainable development among its younger generation via a sustainable development promoting curriculum. However, applying this vision in a real school setting, particularly via the social studies and citizenship education curriculum in grades nine and ten, has been challenging for different reasons as revealed by this study. First, incorporating sustainability in the social studies and citizenship education curriculum in the Saudi grade ninth and tenth grade, is based on the vision of the Saudi government but the ministry of education’s rules and regulations do not support it. Moreover, the circulars issued by the ministry are also not supportive of teachers and students efforts to implement a sustainable development education curriculum. Second, teachers, as members of this community who play a significant role in achieving the objectives of incorporating sustainability, are often seen as technicians and not as professional human beings. They are confined to the curriculum, the classroom and stripped of their will power by the school management and the educational administration. The subjects, who are students here, are also not prepared nor guided to achieve the objects. In addition, the tools mediated between subjects and objects are not convenient. There were some major challenges regarding the contradictions in incorporating sustainability processes such as demanding creativity from a teacher who is overloaded with tasks irrelevant to teaching and teachers’ training programs not meeting the teachers’ training needs.

Keywords: Practice, Curriculum, integrating sustainability, educational context

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1 An Exploratory Study: Mobile Learning as a Means of Promoting Sustainable Learning in the Saudi General Educational Schools via an Activity Theory Lens

Authors: Aiydh Aljeddani

Abstract:

Sustainable learning is an emerging concept that aims at enhancing sustainability literacy and competency in educational contexts. Mobile learning is one of the means increasingly used in sustainable development education nowadays. Studies which have explored this issue in the Saudi educational context so far are rare. Therefore, the current study attempted to explore the current situation of the usage of mobile learning in the Saudi elementary and secondary schools as a means of promoting sustainable learning. It also focused on how mobile learning has been implemented in those schools to promote sustainable learning and what factors have contributed to the success/failure of the implementation of mobile learning and possible ways to improve the current practice. An interpretive approach was followed in this study to gain a thorough understanding of the explored issue in the Saudi educational context using the activity theory as a lens to do so. A qualitative case study methodology in which semi-structured interviews, documents analysis and nominal group were used to gather the data for this study. Two hundred and twenty-nine participants representing several main stakeholders in the educational system took part in this study. Those included six general education schools, head teachers, teachers, students’ parents, educational supervisors, one curriculum designer and academic curriculum specialists. Through the lens of activity theory, the results of the study showed that there were contradictions in the current practice between the elements of the activity system and within each of its elements. Furthermore, several sociocultural factors have influenced both the division of labour and the community's members. These have acted as obstacles which have impeded the usage of mobile learning to promote sustainable learning in this context. It was found that shifting from the current practice to sustainable learning via the usage of mobile learning requires appropriate interrelationship between the different elements of the activity system. The study finally offers a number of recommendations to improve on the current practices and suggests areas for further studies.

Keywords: Mobile Learning, Activity theory, Sustainable Learning, sustainability competency, sustainability literacy

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