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Teacher capacities for working towards peace and sustainable development

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of values and beliefs rooted in "non-Western" cultures in implementing global education initiatives such as education for sustainable development (ESD) at the regional and local levels. This is because many of these initiatives are often derived from "Western" cultures and values. Also to reaffirm the importance for educators to respect and use local and indigenous ways of life and knowledge systems in order to make teaching and learning more relevant and meaningful for Pacific students; and to advocate for the development of teachers' capacities to better contextualize their teaching and create more culturally inclusive learning environments. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Informed by the findings of her research on cultural values, educational ideas and teachers' role perception in Tonga, plus her work as the UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education and Culture at the University of South Pacific, the author presents her reflections on the need to further enhance teachers and teacher educators in the Pacific region. Findings ‐ The findings suggests that teacher education programmes that are designed to cultivate teachers' cultural competence may better contribute to making Pacific education more relevant and effective. Originality/value ‐ The ESD discourse often attaches importance to traditional and indigenous knowledge, but there is limited literature discussing how and for what purposes indigenous ways of knowing should be integrated into teacher education. This paper challenges the neglect of teachers in the international education reform discourses; points out the vital role of teachers in facilitating educational reforms, and contributes understanding of the types of teacher capacities higher education needs to foster for peace and sustainability through the case of the Pacific region.
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Keywords: Culture; Education; Pacific region; Peace; Sustainable development; Teachers

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-09-21

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