We commend the ACDE for recognizing the urgency of the climate crisis, and commit to supporting this policy statement, helping to ensure that all faculties of education embed its concepts into preservice and inservice teacher education across the country. We recognize that many faculties of education need support to fully implement the Accord, and so have prepared a ‘primer’ on Environmental & Sustainability Education (ESE) in Teacher Education as a starting point.
Please feel free to share the ACDE’s Accord and this primer with your networks to raise awareness about the critical importance of ESE, as well as starting points for enacting it, in Canadian faculties of education.
If you are a faculty member in a teacher education program in Canada, we encourage you to take advantage of the launch of this Accord to meet with your colleagues, program administration, Dean and community partners to advocate for a stronger presence for ESE and climate change education in preservice and inservice teacher education across the country.
To support your advocacy, you will find many resources, videos, course syllabi, research studies, reference lists and case studies on the ESE-TE network website. We are also offering a new speaker’s service to share expertise in ESE as requested.
We will continue to create and share supports and resources in the coming months, but needyour help to bring these forward to your faculty of education to advocate for better embedding ESE in Teacher Education in our country, and around the world.
The Association of Canadian Deans of Education is launching its Accord for a Sustainable Future on March 29,2022 (5:30-8pm PT), along with a lecture by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis (hosted by UBC).
Please consider inviting your own Dean and colleagues to attend this event with you – this is an opportunity to advocate for a stronger presence for climate change education and ESE in teacher education across the country. The link with further information is below; register in advance for this free online event.
Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) is excited to follow up with their second climate change education survey to see how things have changed since their ground-breaking one in 2019. For the 2021 survey, LSF wants to hear from K-12 educators, parents of K-12 students, students 12-18 years of age, faculty of education instructors, and members of the general public. Access the survey here.
In September 2021 we launched a Canadian-wide E-course on ESE for preservice teachers. Over 260 students registered for the course, far exceeding expectations for filling the two cohorts (95 are currently enrolled.) Unique in its co-curricular, online approach and national reach, this E-course introduces teacher candidates to core ESE principles connected to Land & place, Indigenous Knowledge, sustainability, diversity, equity & inclusion, wellbeing, and action & agency. Each month, students participate in a synchronous online class, and undertake 2 readings and learning tasks on their own, as well as develop a culminating Inquiry Project. A research study is investigating students’ experiences in this course.
The initial promotion image from August 2021 for the Canadian-wide E-course on ESE for preservice teachers.
A warm welcome to the new ESE-TE Standing Committee Members!
We are happy to announce that there are four new members of the ESE-TE Standing Committee (SC) from across Canada: Dr. Thomas Falkenberg (MB), Shannon Harding (NS), Dr. Andrejs Kulnieks (SK), and Alisa Paul (BC); read more about them on the SC webpage. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to SC members who have recently completed their terms for all of their hard work and dedication to ESE-TE: Dr. Debra Harwood (ON), Dr. Patrick Howard (NS), Dr. Rick Kool (BC), & Dr. Janet McVittie (SK). Our sincere thanks also to Dr. Douglas Karrow, who has completed his term as founding Co-Chair and will remain on the SC. Dr. Paul Elliott will be our new Co-Chair, joining Dr. Hilary Inwood. Thanks to all for their involvement!
We are pleased to announce an exciting new report is now available! Environmental and Sustainability Education in Canadian Faculties of Education, 2017-2018: A research report for the EECOM Standing Committee on Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education completed by Drs. Richard Kool, Douglas D. Karrow, and Maurice DiGiuseppe can be downloaded by clicking the ‘download’ button above.
This study was conceived in June 2016 at the first National Roundtable on Canadian ESE-TE (ESE-TE stands for “Environmental Sustainability Education in Teacher Education”) held at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, where a “National Action Plan” was prepared, suggesting that a survey-based study be conducted to “assess the state of ESE-PTE in Canada” (Karrow & DiGiuseppe, 2019, p. 16).
From this event, a group of National Roundtable participants established the “EECOM Standing Committee on ESE-TE”, which, in the fall of 2017, formed a “Research Development Group” that planned and designed the current study. Three members of this Group formed a “Research and Author Team” that created the research materials, carried out the study, analyzed the data, and prepared this report.
The report presents the findings of this 2019 online survey assessing ESE in preservice teacher education (PTE) programs across Canada. Do you want to learn more about this report and the state of ESE in Canadian faculties of education?Register today for the upcoming online Research Symposium on April 21st as part of the EECOM conference!
Drs. Lindsay Galway, Canada Research Chair in Social and Ecological, and Helle Moller at Lakehead are working on a research project with two masters students about decisions parents go through when weighing up having children or not due to the climate crisis.
If you are interested in participating, please see the Call for Participants poster.
Registration is open for EECOM 2021, Canada’s largest annual national environmental education conference! For the first time ever, EECOM 2021 will be taking place exclusively online, running April 21-24, 2021 and welcomes educators, grades 11, 12, and post-secondary students, classrooms, community organizations, and parents.
The conference kicks off with a Research Symposium featuring some of the leading researchers and educators from Canada and around the world on April 21 and an opportunity to provide input on identifying and prioritizing a national ESE-TE research agenda, followed by three days of dynamic sessions and workshops focusing on four themes: City as Classroom, Indigenous Education, EcoJustice Education, and Water Education.
In addition to over 100 presenters across 70+ sessions, attendees will experience lively and unique opportunities to safely socialize with other passionate members of the EECOM community through a variety of “Nuit Verte” social events. From a vegan cooking class to a guided organic beer-tasting, this is one conference you won’t want to miss!
The best part? There’s no travel required, so you can learn and build your network while decreasing your environmental impact.
Special Guest Author post by Dr. Ellen Field Photos courtesy of LSF/LU
A recent national climate change education study led by Dr. Ellen Field from Lakehead University and Learning for a Sustainable Future establishes benchmarks of Canadians’ understanding of climate change, their perspectives on climate change impacts and risks, and views on the role of schools and climate change education.
The study surveyed 3,196 Canadians including 1,231 teachers, 571 parents, 486 students in grades 7 – 12, and 908 respondents from the general public. The study also provides the first comprehensive snapshot of climate change education practices across Canada.
Here are some key findings from the national data focused on Canadians’ perspectives and knowledge:
79% of Canadians are concerned about the impacts of climate change and 78% believe there are risks to people in Canada
85% of Canadians are certain that climate change is happening
43% of Canadians failed a basic climate science test
There is a gap between perceptions and awareness: 51% of Canadians feel they are well-informed about climate change, only 14% correctly answered 8-10 basic climate science questions
Only 30% of Canadians think that new technologies will solve the problem without individuals having to make big changes.
57% of Canadians believe their actions have an impact on climate change and 79% indicated that, while personal actions are important, systemic change is needed to address climate change.
Here are some key findings focused on climate change education and schools:
65% of Canadians and 79% of teachers think the education system should be doing more to educate young people about climate change.
Only ⅓ of closed-sample teachers reported teaching any climate change. Of teachers who do integrate climate change content, most teach 1-10 hours of instruction per year or semester.
Only 32% of closed-sample teachers feel they have the knowledge and skills to teach about climate change. Educators say they need professional development, classroom resources, current information on climate science, and curriculum policy.
While climate change is predominantly taught in science and social studies classes, when it is taught, 75% of closed-sample teachers and 81% of open-sample teachers believe it is the role of all teachers.
Youth as an imperative climate audience Within the report, we chose to apply a ladder of engagement (EcoAnalytics, 2016) to the different respondent groups (teachers, students, parents, members of the general public), to help policy makers, administrators, educators, and non-profit groups have a better understanding of how Canadians perceive and engage with climate change at a broad level. The groups are analyzed according to four audiences:
Empowered: agree climate change is happening and do think it’s caused by humans AND indicated that there are things we can do to change it.
Aware – agree climate change is happening and do think it’s caused by humans AND indicated that there is nothing that we can do to change it.
Sceptics – agree climate change is happening and do not think it’s caused by humans OR, neither agree nor disagree that climate change is happening
Dismissives – disagree that climate change is happening
National – Ladder of Engagement
n=3196 (Educator OS = 1120, Educator CS = 111, Parent CS = 571, Student CS= 486, General public = 908)
Looking at the data, 46% of students in grades 7 – 12 are categorized as Aware. These students understand that climate change is happening and that it is caused by humans but do not believe that human efforts in mitigation or adaptation will be effective. This is concerning when considering how this mindset may affect youth in terms of how they frame their future quality of life, opportunities, or possibilities.This survey provides the first benchmark of grade 7 – 12 students’ perspectives on climate change in Canada. Previously, EcoAnalytics (2016) identified youth age 18 – 34 as the largest Aware group and therefore an important group to target with education programs to shift into the Empowered segment of the ladder of engagement.
In this critical moment, we need to not only follow through on our policy commitments but work to enact systemic change to address the crisis at hand.
Thank you to Dr. Field, LSF and LU for sharing these exciting developments on Ecosphere.
Tell us your thoughts: should our education system be doing more to teach young people about climate change? What’s happening in your school, board, university or community to embed climate action? Share in the comments here or on Instagram by clicking on the post included below.