MGSU3000 Sustainability in Education – Place, Justice and Environmental Awareness Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Sustainability in Education – Place, Justice and Environmental Awareness
Bachelorstudium i barnehagelærerutdanning, heltid
Grunnskolelærerutdanning for trinn 1-7
Grunnskolelærerutdanning for trinn 5-10
30 stp.


This course provides core insights and competencies in the field of sustainability and place-based education from early childhood to lower secondary education. The content and teaching methods are interdisciplinary. The topics covered in the course provide insights into crucial didactic and pedagogical dilemmas related to ecological, social and economic sustainability. Through inquiry-based and student-centred approaches, the course addresses current sustainability challenges in kindergartens and schools.

Nordic perspectives on education for sustainability will be compared with international aspects. The course will also focus on social justice and diversity and promote the joy of being part of nature and coexisting with all life on earth. Realism and agency in sustainability issues are also emphasised. The students will work with transformative learning processes. Parts of the course will take place outdoors.


After completing the course, the student is expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes, defined as knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has knowledge of environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability
  • has knowledge of place-based learning as embodied and emplaced
  • has knowledge of philosophical, pedagogical and ethical dilemmas in environmental and sustainability education
  • has knowledge of central sustainability concepts from natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and aesthetics
  • has insight into the key concepts of climate, ecology, biodiversity and technology systems
  • has an understanding of how language, texts (in a broad perspective) and educational practices can increase children’s awareness of both nature and current environmental challenges
  • has knowledge of social sustainability, citizenship and children’s rights such as the right to education and play
  • has knowledge of cultural identity and indigenous and minority perspectives for pedagogical work with sustainability
  • has knowledge of international and national policy, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and teaching curricula


The student

  • can implement outdoor place-based play and learning in kindergartens and schools
  • can apply sustainability knowledge in diverse didactic practices such as inquiry-based and dialogue-based learning approaches
  • can facilitate active and experience-based learning in various extended classroom environments
  • is able to identify and discuss core themes and questions related to social justice and diversity, including indigenous and minority perspectives
  • has the ability to engage children in critical dialogue based on encounters with natural and urban environments and literary texts
  • can facilitate problem-based learning with the help of technology and digital/virtual spaces
  • is able to communicate with children about sustainability issues with the aim of generating hope, solidarity and agency

General competence

The student

  • is able to reflect on dilemmas, challenges and possibilities in work with sustainability and place-based education
  • can facilitate transformative learning and develop action competence in kindergartens and schools
  • can reflect on pedagogical experiences with place-based education and sustainability in early childhood to lower secondary education
  • can contribute to an awareness of how local actions have an impact on a global scale through learning activities

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

This is a full-time course that builds on principles from place-based education. In addition to exploring urban and natural environments, the course will involve lectures, seminars, student presentations and discussions. This requires active student participation. The students must be prepared to participate in various outdoor activities and be equipped for all weather conditions.

The course will provide opportunities to interact with students from different national backgrounds, and the possibility of exploring the Oslo region. The students are expected to share their understandings of didactic concepts and sustainability dilemmas from their own countries.

All classes are taught in English, and all course requirements and assessment tasks, including written texts and oral examinations, are to be completed in English. An integrated part of the course will be a 15 days’ placement in Norwegian kindergartens or schools. Students are to observe and participate in the educational institutions’ everyday work. In addition, they will plan and carry out sustainability-thematic interdisciplinary pedagogical work in collaboration with teachers at their practice institution. OsloMet’s internal and external partners may enter into this cooperation.

For OsloMet students of Early Childhood Education: The practice period is included in the 6th semester of the educational programme. It is supervised and assessed. Students complete a 15 days’ placement in the topic of study, in addition to 10 days organised by the institute. Practice is obligatory, with a focus on leadership, collaboration and development work. Students are required to carry out a practice assignment, which is published on the OsloMet’s digital learning platform. For more extensive information about the practice period, see the programme description for the full-time bachelor program in Early Childhood Education.

For OsloMet students of Primary and Secondary Teacher Education: Practice is included in the 6th semester of the education program. It is supervised and assessed. Students complete a 15 days’ placement in the topic of study. Practice is obligatory, with a focus on the role of teacher, class management and teaching. For more extensive information about the practice period, see the programme description of the Primary and Secondary Teacher Education.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

The course emphasises student participation, dialogue, and cooperative learning, which depends upon attendance and active participation in class. The course requirements are intended to help the students to acquire the skills specified in the learning outcomes for the course.

The following course requirements must be met before the student can sit the exam:

  • Active participation in outdoor and indoor classes and activities (minimum 80% attendance). During the placement period in schools/kindergartens a 100 % attendance is expected.
  • Group work: Designing a product which demonstrates an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability in education with aesthetic and/or technological components. Oral presentation in class (approx. 10–20 minutes depending on the size of the groups).
  • Group work: Practical didactic work outdoors related to place-based learning as specified in the course plan. The work process and disciplinary considerations will be documented on a digital platform. The group work including the students’ disciplinary considerations is presented for the rest of the class. Feedback will be given both from other students and the course leader. Time for presentation and feedback is 20 minutes.
  • Individual work: Written paper on a topic addressed in the course’s learning outcomes (1,500 words, +/- 10%). One supervision will be offered the students for this work. The written paper will be a point of departure for the exam paper.

Course requirements deadlines must be met and are assessed as approved/not approved. All aspects of the course requirements are assessed, both the practical components, the oral presentations, and the written assignments. Valid absence documented by a medical certificate or similar documentation does not exempt students from meeting the course requirements. Students who, due to illness or other valid and documented reasons, do not meet the course requirements by the deadline may be given an extended deadline. A new deadline for meeting the course requirements or submitting compensatory tasks is agreed with the relevant teacher in each case. All course requirements must be approved before the student can sit their exams.

Vurdering og eksamen

The final assessment consists of two parts:

  • Individual practical oral exam outdoors demonstrating competence in sustainability education and place-based learning (30 minutes). The students are allocated a place outdoors and a topic from the curriculum one week before the exam. The students present an educational project related to the place and topic. The presentation takes place at the actual site and needs to involve a map to provide an overview over the activities proposed and the sites involved. This exam counts for 33% of the final grade. Language: English
  • Individual written exam written during the semester and handed in digitally: an article on a chosen topic addressed in the course’s learning outcomes (3000 words, +/- 10%). This exam counts for 67% of the final grade. Language: English

The two grades are used to calculate the overall grade awarded for the course. The final certificate of 30 ECTS credits will be awarded on completion of the above-mentioned requirements and exams.

Resit exam

If a student fails an exam or is absent at the time of the exam for a valid reason, they are entitled to resubmit the written exam the following semester. The oral exam resit will be organised within the same semester, if possible. The resit exam will be organised in the same manner as the ordinary exam for the written part. For the oral exam there will be a digital exam. The students are responsible for registering for the resit exam by the given deadline.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

For the written semester article, all examination support materials are permitted. However, sources must be acknowledged in accordance with the applicable rules for source referencing. The articles will be checked for plagiarism.

Further specifications will be given for the outdoor exam.


Grades will be awarded in accordance with the ECTS grade scale, with A–E as pass grades. The grade F means that the student has failed the exam. The criteria for the different grades will be presented to the students at the beginning of the course.


Final assessments will be reviewed and approved by internal and external examiners.

  • The oral exam will be evaluated graded by internal examiners.
  • The written exam will be evaluated and graded by internal and external examiners.