Pre-service teachers knowledge of sustainability issues and their associated confidence in teaching about such issues

Year: 2013

Author: Ambrosetti, Angelina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Education for Sustainability (EfS) has been on the national education agenda in Australia for over a decade. Both the Adelaide and Melbourne declarations, which outline the national goals of schooling, place an emphasis on the inclusion of EfS in order to create young people who have an awareness of and become involved in the creation of a sustainable future. Thus the newly implemented national Australian curriculum requires that sustainability be embedded across each curriculum content area as a cross curricular priority in all year levels of schooling.  Sustainability is embedded within the curriculum by way of systems, world views and futures. The curriculum aims to develop each learner’s knowledge, skills, values and perspectives by way of engagement with and reflection of sustainability concepts and issues. Therefore teachers will be required to comprehend different concepts within sustainability, make links between the concepts and curriculum areas and employ the most effective techniques in which to embed them into learning experiences. For those working in teacher education programs within higher education institutions it becomes the responsibility of both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programs to educate our future teachers in education for sustainability.  This paper reports on an investigation into pre-service teachers knowledge of sustainability concepts along with their confidence levels in teaching such concepts. Pre-service teachers completed a survey outlining their knowledge of particular sustainability issues and rated their confidence levels of teaching about those sustainability issues.  Findings indicate that generally the pre-service teachers are not confident in their knowledge of sustainability issues or in their ability to teach them.   These findings have specific implications for the design and delivery of curriculum and pedagogy courses being taught to our future teachers.