An action research on ESD pedagogy: Enhancing TVET’s role in equipping students with generic green skills

Shimin CHEN

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


The study presented in this thesis addresses pedagogical issues regarding the implementation of Education of Sustainable Development (ESD) in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The study advances current knowledge and supports the practice of utilizing ESD pedagogy to improve students’ generic green skills to support the greening of TVET.

The overall design of this qualitative study utilizes a problem-oriented and project-based learning approach (POPBL) to bring real-world learning opportunities into ESD classrooms. Based on this, a POPBL+ pedagogical model was developed to frame the design of classroom teaching and learning activities to effectively implement a generic green module in TVET through resource development and pedagogical innovation. Drawing on action research, this study was structured into four phases: 1) pilot study; 2) resource development; 3) resource implementation; and 4) impact evaluation. Four TVET teachers and a total of 115 students from a TVET institution in Hong Kong took part in the study.

The proposed POPBL+ model was effective in facilitating pedagogical innovation for improving the implementation of generic green modules for the purposes of developing students’ generic green skills. The developed ESD resources, which introduced student-centered learning and real-world examples into the classrooms, enriched teachers’ and students’ teaching and learning. However, the impacts on some of the students (part-time students) and teachers (with less understanding of ESD) was less significant than on others. Thus, the POPBL+ model applied for this study was subsequently improved, and different approaches were suggested to address the identified challenges and constraints in future. Further research in areas such as validation of the tools that were used to assess generic green skills, the contribution of generic green skills to the development of specific green skills, and others, are also suggested.

This study contributes to both theoretical and practical developments related to the use of ESD pedagogy in TVET. It enriches current understanding about ESD pedagogy and its role in facilitating the effective development of generic green skills in TVET students and also teachers’ professional development. This study fills research gaps related to a lack of empirical studies that examine pedagogical practices for students’ generic green skills development in TVET. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • PAVLOVA, Margarita, Supervisor
  • TAM, Siu Ling Maureen, Supervisor
  • GAO, Fang 高放, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Generic green skills
  • TVET
  • ESD pedagogy
  • ESD resources
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2022.


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