Detailed Program of the Conference

Parallel sessions - A.9.1 Education for Sustainability [EFS] As A Ground for Innovation Both in Methodology and Knowledge. A Strategic Alliance for Transformative Education Between Schools and Community
Thursday, 03/June/2021:
9:30am - 11:45am

Session Chair: Giovanni Borgarello
Session Chair: Michela Mayer
Session Chair: Giovanna Del Gobbo
Location: Room 2

Session Panels:
A.9. Education for Sustainability [EFS] As A Ground for Innovation Both In Methodology And Knowledge. A Strategic Alliance for Transformative Education Between Schools and Community

External Resource:


Fabio Pizzutilo1, Elisabetta Venezia2

1University of Bari Aldo Moro, Dept. of Economics, Management and Business law, Italy; 2University of Bari Aldo Moro, Dept. of Economics and Finance, Italy

Introducing sustainable curricula, courses, or modules is of course a first contribution that Higher education institutions (HEIs) may do, and have already done, to develop a greater awareness in the future generation about actual societal and environmental challenges and try to expand their mindset. An holistic perspective that involves, in an inclusive approach, all the areas, activities, values, stakeholders, structures, etc. of the HEIs and considers inputs and knowledge from different field of studies must be followed if the challenges that come from educating for social responsibility (SR) and sustainability are meant to be addressed.

Despite the relevance of the theme, a systematic, comprehensive, and harmonised understanding of what actually drives the maturity of SR and sustainability integration in HEIs is still lacking. The final aim of this paper is to fill this gap. To this end, a meta model of analysis based on a multi-stage and multi-source procedure has been followed. Similarities in concept, nature, object, or subject guided the clustering of the original sources. According to the prevalent SR integration driving/resistance force discussed in the source papers, 9 criteria were identified (Governance, Strategy, Funding, Curricula, Research, Outreach, Stakeholders, Involvement, and Inclusive context). Through a systematic content analysis, the qualitative identification of their concept and relevant distinctiveness was derived and subsequently associated and synthetised in criteria definitions. Criteria were subsequently validated and cross-checked for consistency, comprehensiveness, and diversity, and classified into three dimensions (Culture, Missions, and People) according to their dominant analytical attribute.

The study depicts a conceptual framework enabling the analysis of the stages of SR integration and maturity in HEIs. It displays five main stages (laggard, aware, implementer, exploiter, pioneer), corresponding to different levels of maturity integration, making it possible to evaluate the phase the HEI has reached while seeking full SR integration. The framework is meant to follow the evolutionary process towards a mature SR integration any HEIs may pursue. It is developed to permit a clear-cut evaluation of the level and stage the HEI has reached on its way to mature SR integration and inspire actions for progress. The framework is also intended to be the theoretical basis for the development of evaluation tools for the assessment of the actual level of maturity integration, for benchmarking HEIs, and for guiding the development and implementation of strategies and actions to institutionalise SR and achieve a more mature integration. In addition, it may inspire future research on the effectiveness of SR integration in HEIs. This is the first attempt to model SR integration in HEIs by proposing criteria and an explanatory framework for maturity integration.

The article reveals practical utility, too. Indeed, the HEI’s management and educators may find areas where improvements in the effectiveness of their commitment towards social responsibility and sustainability are advisable and identify measures with the greatest viability and potential. Moreover, academia executives and policymakers may derive policy indications for the enhancement of the university system and the development of policies that would facilitate HEIs embracing ESD.


Orietta Vacchelli

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italia

The recent introduction in the school of the teaching of civic education - being transversal and object of evaluation - identifies among its three macro-areas the education for sustainable development, with a clear reference to the 2030 UN Agenda for sustainable development of 2015 (Law 92/2019).

This legislative device seems to represent a significant step, supporting training aimed at promoting cultural change, or rather at generating a culture of sustainability. In fact, from many sides there exists a convergence towards the idea that a shared political-pedagogical planning can trace valid guidelines and identify effective solutions to issues concerning the living together, in the direction of the common good and of human promotion (Malavasi, 2012).

But is it a feasible and transformative change in education or does it still appear as the inclusion of a 'new' subject, additional to the school curriculum?

The answer to such a question can be configured in the choices of governance and in the evaluation decisions concerning approaches and ways in which school managers and teachers intend to concretely achieve what is envisaged.

A first essential aspect consists in assuming the perspective of sustainability as an interpretative-regulatory assumption, at the basis of the entire educational offer, including widespread practices and, above all, of living the daily life of the school.

In this regard, it should be noted that the implementation of environmental education and of the interventions on sustainable development, in projects and learning units with an integrative character, of the school curriculum, albeit transversal between disciplinary knowledge, marks an important direction, but not so much effective in bringing about that change in education capable of modifying the way of conceiving and weaving human and environmental relationships (Malavasi, 2017; Mortari, 2020). In other words, similar educational-didactic paths would confirm that “the overall vision still seems to be that of a sustainability that adds to and does not transform existing educational systems” (Sterling, 2013).

Secondly, an idea of school is outlined as an active reality and strictly interconnected with the life of the community, which knows how to combine synergies and skills present in the territory, for an educational co-responsibility aimed, in particular, at removing obstacles and eliminating all forms of inequality, in order to guarantee quality education for all (goal 4 – 2030 UN Agenda).

In order to start the transformative process, heuristic paths are identified from the answers which are themselves provided by the teachers and collected through a questionnaire administered in March 2021 to teachers of all orders and levels in the context of Brescia schools, with reference to the Teacher Training Plan for civic education (MIUR, July 2020). Two substantial evidences emerge from the analysis of the recorded data: the need to deepen training on sustainability, the need to define organizational models that allow more inter-multidisciplinary shared planning.

Therefore, incisive skills belonging to the world of education and effective networks, of schools, together with the territory, constitute an essential combination to set in motion the desired change.


Sara Bornatici

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italia

Law 92/2019 has provided the inclusion, starting from the current school year, of 33 hours of civic education in the teaching programs of all levels.

The Ministry of Education has identified three axes in the Italian Constitution, within sustainable development and digital citizenship, on which teaching will be articulated.

These guidelines will have to be explored through a transformative and systemic approach, which accepts the challenge of designing interpretative paths capable of re-signifying and building new access keys to reality.

The transversality of civic education calls for a different reference paradigm to be assumed from the one adopted up to now in bringing together the individual disciplines: it is a question of generating more committed and participatory forms of citizenship that involve the whole integrated training system, creating synergies to generate networks and promote a common language on which to construct the entire pedagogical-educational planning.

From an in-depth reading of the Law, the need emerges in all its significance to carefully consider and communicate the issues proposed by the Italian Constitution and the UN’s Agenda 2030 with the aim of building sustainable and supportive communities: "doing" civic education means to promote responsibility in the younger generations and to agree on strategies, paths, actions based on help and respect for the other.

In this direction, the gradual but significant dissemination in school curricula of good practices focused on the pedagogical proposal of service learning (Tapia, 2006; Mortari, 2017) identifies inter and intragenerational solidarity as an interesting point of access for interpreting in an unprecedented way what is required by the regulatory provision. Service-learning is a choice of meaning to give life to responsible and welcoming learning environments, which offer the opportunity to work together on common causes and see the students as protagonists in offering a service to the community.

Promoting educational and cultural tools useful for acting in personal and collective responsibility means generating a new way of learning. As a space and time of signification, the school must accept the challenge of educating authentic, competent, supportive people in the logic of respect and acceptance.

This configures a constant pedagogical and didactic solicitation to design new educational paths, privileged and multi-experiential spaces that allow to interpret the concept of citizenship in an unprecedented way. The values ​​that are the foundation of a democratic community can find their full realization and interpretation in sustainable educational contexts that recognize the mutual respect for community and the responsibly shared construction of the future.

We are called upon to inhabit the earth with concern and fraternity (Malavasi, 2020): in this perspective, civic education is part of the issues related to human formation and represents a challenge linked to the educational system for the promotion of the rights of the person, envisaging a reference to its axiological dimension and educational ethics.


Alessia Scarinci1, Alberto Fornasari2, Stefania Massaro3, Loredana Perla4

1University of Bari, Italia; 2University of Bari, Italia; 3University of Bari, Italia; 4University of Bari, Italia

The social, environmental and economic challenges we are experiencing emphasize the need to invest in a project for the future that aims at a re-construction of man in his environment to re-inhabit the territory, as pointed out Magnaghi (2020), based on new forms of community self-government that see in the relationship with others and in connection with the territory the founding principle.

The systemic and complex nature of the environmental problem and sustainable development that sees political institutions, educational and training institutions, communities, individual citizens interconnected, brings out the need to invest in the transformative power of knowledge and knowledge to all life (Loiodice, 2018). As underlined in goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda, it is the task of education and training "to transmit to all students the knowledge and skills necessary to promote sustainable development" (Goal 4.7), to train the new generation that is more attentive to the causes that generate impacts rather than techniques aimed at reducing them, moving the problem from resolving the effects to eliminating or reducing the causes.

Educational and training institutions must promote eco-literacy and education for environmental sustainability by educating to critical and responsible consumption to improve lifestyles and increase the sustainability of human activities on ecosystems, spreading the complexity of the processes that underlie the choice or the refusal of a food; to understand the interdependencies that exist between food production, distribution, environmental sustainability and social equity; reflect on cultural, anthropological and social values, foster the development of a critical and conscious environmental awareness as an important expression of active citizenship and of one's own living in the world. These aspects can be favored by a place-based approach that puts the subjects in training in relation with their own territory, strengthening the identity and the sense of belonging to their local environment, knowing the history, the problems that afflict the territory and actively involves in solving real problems and improving places (Smith, 2013).

Attention to the territory, to the dialogic development of the person in his habitat, can become a good starting point which, if well managed, leads to forms of awareness of the human footprint and therefore, indirectly, puts under observation habits and lifestyles of the moment as they are configured in the social group to which they belong.

Our contribution aims to re-evaluate and renew the models of environmental education for the promotion of the culture of sustainability and glocal citizenship through the proposal of a place-based approach.


Loiodice, I., (2018), Investire pedagogicamente nel paradigma della sostenibilità, in Pedagogia Oggi - Rivista Siped, XVI, 1, Lecce-Brescia: Pensa MultiMedia

Magnaghi, A., (2020), Il principio territoriale, Torino: Bollati Boringhieri

Smith, G. A., (2013), Place-based Education. Practice and Impact. In: Stevenson, R.B., Brody, M., Dillon, J., Wals, A.E.J., (2013), International handbook of research on environmental education, AERA, Routledge Publishers.


Luigi Aruta1, Ferdinando Ivano Ambra1, Francesco V Ferraro2, Maria Luisa Iavarone1

1University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy; 2Bournemouth University, UK

Le linee guida operative della Strategia Nazionale e dell'Agenda 2030 per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile verso le attività educative sottolineano l'importanza di promuovere social-comunità creative, inclusive e non violente nei territori resilienti; per un'azione educativa orientata allo sviluppo della sostenibilità sociale (Varga et al. 2007) e del benessere (Iavarone, 2008). In questo nuovo scenario la gestione della cura e le responsabilità educative diventano asset strategici per il futuro della società civile (Iavarone, 2019), capaci di sostenere le sfide in contrasto con l'attuale povertà educativa (Nuzzaci, 2020). Questa azione “generativa” richiede un intervento olistico-transdisciplinare (Jeder, 2014) concepito nel deweyanprospettiva del learning by doing (Van Poeck et al., 2018). Secondo queste teorie, il seguente contributo presenta l'Associazione ARTUR e il suo ARTUR LAB. L'Associazione ARTUR (Adulti Responsabili per un Territorio Unito contro il Rischio) si propone di attuare interventi pedagogici per garantire tempistiche ed efficacia dell'educazione nei territori a rischio di comportamenti antisociali degli adolescenti (Iavarone, 2020). Gli ARTUR LAB (Laboratori per gli adolescenti ei loro bisogni) sono laboratori che guidano gli adolescenti a pensare e agire secondo i principi etici e morali della società. Le attività sono suddivise in moduli “indoor” e “outdoor” e si articolano attorno ad attività sportive, artistiche e di cittadinanza tutte legate ai modelli di prevenzione del rischio 4C (ovvero Contrastare, Curare, Corresponsabili, Condivisione) (Iavarone,

Parole chiave

pedagogia; associazione; intervento transdisciplinare; prevenzione dei rischi


Iavarone ML (2019). Il pianeta intelligente: la cura responsabile per la cittadinanza terrestre. In P. Orefice, MR Mancaniello, Z. Lapov & S. Vitali. (a cura di) Coltivare le intelligenze per la cura della casa comune. Scenari transdisciplinari e processi formativi di Cittadinanza terrestre. (pp. 232-237) Lecce: Pensa Multimedia.

Iavarone ML (2008). Educare al benessere . Milano: Bruno Mondadori

Iavarone ML (2020). Dalle colpe dei minori alle responsabilità degli adulti. Una storia tremenda che diventa straordinariamente generativa. DIDA Erikson n.3/gennaio

Jeder D. (2014). Transdisciplinarità: il vantaggio di un approccio olistico alla vita. Procedia-Scienze sociali e comportamentali 137 (2014 ) 127 – 131

Nuzzaci A., Minello R. Di Genova N. & Madia S. (2020). Povertà educativa in contesto italiano tra istruzione e disuguaglianze. Quali gli effetti della pandemia?. Apprendimento permanente per tutto l'arco della vita 2020, VOL. 17, N. 36, pp. 76 - 92.

Van Poeck K., Östman L. e Block T. (2020). Aprire la scatola nera dell'imparare facendo nelle transizioni di sostenibilità. Innovazione ambientale e transizioni sociali, Elselvier

Varga A., Koszo MF, Mayer M. & Sleurs W. Sviluppare le competenze degli insegnanti per l'educazione allo sviluppo sostenibile attraverso la riflessione: l'approccio Environment and School Initiatives. Journal of Education for Teaching Vol. 33, n. 2, maggio 2007, pp. 241–256


Gabriella Calvano

University of Bari, Italy

As for all the other institutions of the 197 signatory countries of the 2030 Agenda, also for the Universities the Sustainable Development Goals represent an action plan aimed to transform the world by acting for the benefit of people, planet, peace, future prosperity, and partnership. The more the values ​​underlying sustainability become a widespread culture among all components of the university community, the greater is the impact that universities can have on the sustainable development of the area. For this reason, education is central in the discourse of sustainability and for this reason a general rethinking of the pedagogical discourse is required.

The University, in fact, also responsible for training future citizens, politicians, decision-makers and professionals, is called to take a more challenging step towards sustainability, addressing an open reflection on its impact from the educational point of view. The reflection has to start from the knowledge that the training provided by universities must respond more closely to the demands of a rapidly changing society and a world of work that requires professionals not only with specific disciplinary skills, but framed in a systemic perspective, also based on knowledge of transversal and transdisciplinary aspects.

Considering a change of course not only considered necessary, but now advocated by many, there are still numerous evidences of initiatives/projects/activities which still move based on the wrong, but often implicit, assumption that high-quality training/information on the emergencies of the planet and/or sustainability is sufficient to guarantee new generations aware and ready for that much desired change.

Knowing that the information on sustainability issues alone is not sufficient to develop skills for the future, a 10-hour workshop has been activated at the University of Bari, within the Pedagogy Course (Degree in Literature). In this workshop, the students were engaged in designing sustainability solutions for their university. At the end of it, the 253 students of the course were asked to answer a questionnaire with the aim of understanding: The degree of knowledge of sustainability before and after the workshop activity; The degree of usefulness perceived following participation in the workshop for the personal life and future profession of students; the perception of a possible development of sustainability skills as defined by Unesco (2017); the main strengths of the workshop.

164 answers were collected. From these answers it mainly emerged that:

  1. Before the workshop, students have heard a few times about sustainability, sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda both within the university and in contexts outside it.
  2. Participation in a workshop based on problem-based learning on sustainability issues is perceived as very useful for both personal and professional life.
  3. Students report that they appreciated the experience because it allowed them to develop collaborative skills and creativity.

The results of the study highlight how the education to sustainability at university level, based on active learning, has an irreplaceable role to promote the direct application, the enhancement and the use of knowledge to contribute to sustainable, cultural, and economic development of society.