Preservice Science Teachers’ Experiences of Food Garden Projects: Implications for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Curriculum Transformation Nadaraj Govender
Summary: This paper examines preservice science teachers’ (PSTs) experiences of agricultural garden projects to address education for sustainable development (ESD), specifically sustainable food resources. The main research question asks what PSTs’ experiences of ESD are when taught through agricultural projects in science courses. Ninety-five PSTs, 3 PhD mentors and 2 academics were involved in this participatory action research project to engage PSTs in developing agricultural gardening skills. A second-year university physical science method course module was adapted to include the agricultural project. Firstly, data were collected through a questionnaire with a Likert-scale and followed-up with 10 interviews with PSTs using the questionnaire. Secondly, more interviews were conducted with 15 PSTs on the field using selected questions from the same questionnaire as a guideline. Thirdly, the data were also supplemented by field-notes and observations. Critical pedagogy (CP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) policy to implement ESD in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were used to analyse the data. The PSTs were positive about including ESD in their disciplines and acquired practical and integrated knowledge about agriculture. This study has implications for ESD in transforming PST education modules through sustainability projects to address UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a matter of urgency and for school and community involvement.