Edited by Pierre Benckendorff and Anita Zehrer
Chapter 26: Integrating sustainability in the tourism curriculum: dilemmas and directions
The body of knowledge as to what constitutes ‘sustainability’ in education is garnering interest. However, progress towards embedding sustainability principles in the curriculum space appears eclipsed by operational sustainability measures currently taking place at most Australian universities. Advancement of education for sustainability (EfS) in teaching and learning practices appears thwarted in many fields of study. This chapter presents findings from a qualitative study which explored tourism teachers’ perspective of EfS. Thirty-one Australian university tourism academics with an interest or experience in teaching sustainability concepts were interviewed. In part, the study aimed to uncover the dilemmas tourism teachers face with EfS and to ascertain possible future directions for EfS in tourism higher education. Analysis of academic comments revealed challenges located within two broad categories: (1) personal dilemmas and (2) dilemmas arising from the institutional context in which academics were located. Implications arising from the identified challenges are examined and several future directions suggested to help foster EfS. The question posed is how the lessons learnt from EfS research can be translated in order to provide meaningful, holistic tourism curricula and critical pedagogy. It seems that to develop the knowledge and future thinking capabilities of EfS, business-focused tourism programs need to undertake a paradigm shift from ‘business-as-usual’ curricula content and pedagogy, towards an approach that incorporates critical perspectives.
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