Baltic University Programme

Educating Professionals for Sustainable Futures

Authors: Hille Janhonen-Abruquah, Jenni Topp and Hanna Posti-Ahokas

Open accessType of Publication: Peer review

Abstract
The recent discourse on sustainability science calls for interdisciplinary research. The home economics science approach ranges from individual actions to the involvement of communities and societies at large, and thus it can provide important perspectives on cultural sustainability. The aim of the research is to study the linkage between cultural sustainability and service sector education to support the creation of sustainable professions. In the present small-scale empirical study, the food service degree curriculum of a Finnish vocational college and teachers’ group interview data were analyzed to find how cultural sustainability is presented in the curriculum and how it is understood by teachers and integrated into teaching practices. Previous cultural sustainability research identifies four perspectives of cultural sustainability: (1) vitality of cultural traditions; (2) economic starting point; (3) diversity together with maintenance of local culture; and (4) possible influence on the balance between human actions and environment. Findings indicate that sustainability, including cultural sustainability, is integrated in the curriculum and considered important by teachers. Translating these into practice remains a challenge. The balance between human and nature was mostly understood as recycling, use of public transport, sustainable consumption, and taking trips to the nature nearby. Cultural sustainability as a concept is not well known, although themes such as multicultural issues, equality, charity, and environmental responsibility were included in teachers’ practical lessons daily. Feasts and celebrations in learning were opportunities to view cultural sustainability widely. This paper provides a way forward for the teachers to develop further their pedagogical practices.

Reference to the article
Janhonen-Abruquah, H.; Topp, J.; Posti-Ahokas, H. Educating Professionals for Sustainable Futures. Sustainability 2018, 10, 592. doi:10.3390/su10030592

Link to the article
http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/3/592