School culture promoting sustainability in student teachers’ views
Yli-Panula, Eija; Jeronen, Eila; Mäki, Sanna (2022-06-17)
Yli-Panula E, Jeronen E, Mäki S. School Culture Promoting Sustainability in Student Teachers’ Views. Sustainability. 2022; 14(12):7440. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127440
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
School culture includes values, principles, and criteria. It is an integral part of sustainability education, of which climate change education (CCE) is seen as a way to improve students’ ability to take action to mitigate climate change. This survey aimed to investigate Finnish student teachers’ views of factors important in implementing CCE in school culture and their abilities as teachers to promote CCE. Thirty-six student teachers wrote essays regarding the implementation of school culture and responded to a questionnaire concerning their ability to act as climate change (CC) educators and the challenges they identified in teaching and learning about it. Inductive content analysis was used to study the essays. In student teachers’ answers, six themes to implement in school culture were identified: elements, work community, teacher’s impact, students in the centre, actors outside the school, and challenges. The student teachers highlighted challenges, such as views that deny CC and challenge the transformation of school culture to support sustainable development. The suggested ways to support CCE in daily school life that were very concrete, such as recycling and food education. Student teachers found their own ability to act as climate educators to be relatively good. They identified challenges, especially in motivating students to learn about CC and to participate and take action towards a climate-friendly lifestyle. Students’ conflicting attitudes, values, and beliefs related to CC, reinforced by their inner circle, were seen as challenges in teaching and learning about CC. Despite these challenges, transforming a school culture to support CCE should be the goal of every school.
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