The CJEE realizes the impact teacher educators have on future generations of teachers and their students, and as such the editors felt it was time to dedicate a volume to the topic.
– Editorial by Karrow, Inwood & Sims, p. 6
It’s finally here! The latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) recently published online is a special edition taking a closer look at Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) in Teacher Education (TE) in Canada. This brand new issue is guest edited by Doug Karrow (Brock University), Hilary Inwood (OISE/University of Toronto) and Laura Sims (Université de St. Boniface) and takes a look at what’s happening in Canadian Teacher Education from coast to coast. The seven articles comprising this edition represent a variety of topics, contexts, problems, methodological approaches and more.
This publication marks the very first time in the CJEE’s 23 year history that a volume has been devoted to exclusively to Teacher Education. Inspired by the last Research Symposium held by the ESE-TE National Network, this special issue is a testament to the ESE-TE Network’s strong belief in the importance of having a “vibrant and thriving ESE-TE research community” to drive the field forward.
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.
As one of the largest faculties of education in Canada – and one with a very active, multifaceted Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) Initiative – the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto has cultivated enormous potential to engage numerous stakeholders in taking Climate Action. But this opportunity is not without its own unique challenges – especially how to bring together the many faculty, staff and graduate students/teacher candidates to tackle Climate Action in a large-scale collaboration. Developing a whole-institution approach towards the overarching vision of establishing a Climate Action Plan for OISE – and actually putting that plan into action – requires a strong foundation. Read on to learn about the steps OISE’s community has taken in the last six months to bring about changes to begin turning this Climate Action vision into a reality.
January 2020 – Hosting the inaugural OISE Climate Action Summit Seeing the need to implement climate action beyond a departmental level, the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) Climate Action Working Group voted to expand their collaborative efforts by hosting the first ever OISE Climate Action Summit. Sponsored by the Dean’s Office, this half-day roundtable Summit, held on Friday, January 31, 2020, brought together over 100 participants comprised of faculty, staff, students and administrators from across the entire OISE community. Watch this short video to see what took place!
March 2020 – Reviewing and sharing high-priority ideas through the Climate Action Survey At the Summit, the community generated many ideas across five target areas. Following the event, these ideas were organized to form a basis for OISE’s unfolding Climate Action Plan, specifically in regards to prioritizing action items that can be carried out immediately. To solicit feedback, the Climate Action Survey was sent out to all members of the OISE community to invite participants to review and respond to these ideas.
April 2020 – Earth Day announcement & call for nominees for the new Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committee Following the Summit and survey, a set of recommendations to enact climate action at OISE were presented to OISE’s Dean. In honour of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Dean Jones announced implementation of the first recommendation – to establish a new Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committee at OISE. This Committee, chaired by the Dean and co-led by Dr. Hilary Inwood (Lead of OISE’s ESE Initiative) will assist in the development of a strategic Climate Action Plan for OISE, based on the community’s feedback from the Summit and survey. The Dean also announced embedding climate action as part of OISE’s Academic Plan and positioning OISE as a hub for ESE and climate action.
June 2020 – Formation and first meeting of the Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committeeat OISE After the Committee was selected (see Membership below), the first meeting was held via Zoom to get members acquainted with each other and their initial tasks and goals for developing the OISE Climate Action Plan. The Plan aims to reduce OISE’s carbon footprint by better embedding sustainability into five areas of OISE’s work: 1) Policy & Governance, 2) Facilities & Operations, 3) Curriculum & Teaching, 4) Research, and 5) Community Engagement & Outreach. A team of OISE faculty, staff and grad students have been working over the summer to research and build a strong foundation and the Plan is set to be shared with the community late in the fall.
Supporting Climate Action strategic planning across faculties of education These exciting steps signal a hopeful direction is ESE and Climate Action. OISE is the first faculty at the University of Toronto to work towards creating their own Climate Action Plan, as well as the first Faculty of Education in Canada to do so. It is hoped that sharing these steps will inspire and support others to implement a cohesive Climate Action approach in their own faculties of education. For more information and ideas on how to get started in your own faculty, check out the OISE ESE website here.
Membership of OISE Climate Action Advisory Group The advisory group, which has been asked to develop a draft plan by the end of this year, includes the following members: Megan Abley, Graduate Student, APHD Julie Blair, Indigenous Education Network Coordinator Yiola Cleovoulou, Faculty Member, APHD Helen Huang, Chief Administrative Officer, OISE Alysse Kennedy, Graduate Student, CTL David Montemurro, Faculty Member, CTL Fikile Nxumalo, Faculty Member, CTL Sadia Rahman, Graduate Student, LHAE John Robinson, Presidential Advisor on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability Jennifer Sumner, Faculty Member, LHAE Amanda Trigiana, Graduate Student, SJE Jenaya Webb, Librarian, OISE Library Terezia Zoric, Faculty Member, SJE The work of this committee will be supported by Hilary Inwood (CTL), Iman Fouad (Dean’s Office), and graduate students who will be conducting research for the committee, including Wahaj Alam & Sunnya Khan.
We hope you enjoyed this featured update about what is happening in ESE in a Canadian Faculty of Education. Is your faculty or department taking new strides in ESE or Climate Action? Let us know in the comments what’s happening and what you think so far about these Climate Action goals!
CALL FOR ARTICLES & BOOKS! The ESE in TE Canadian national network is seeking new recommendations for recent publications by Canadian scholars about Environmental and Sustainability Education in faculties of education.
If you have an article (journal or trade magazine), book chapter or book that has recently been published (2019 onwards) or will soon be published and you would like us to showcase your work as part of the growing body of literature in this area, please email a link to access your work (or a shareable pdf copy), along with an APA reference, to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to your reading about the important work you’ve been doing in Canadian ESE within teacher education!
We are thrilled to share a NEW book edited by Douglas Karrow and Maurice DiGiuseppethat leads readers on a richly detailed and highly engaging exploration of Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) in teacher education all over Canada. Environmental and sustainability education: Canadian perspectives (Springer, 2020) offers a wide variety of perspectives on what is happening in ESE in pre-service classrooms across the country. As the third volume in Springer’s International Explorations in Outdoor and Environmental Education this book showcases and honours the essential contributions Canadian teachers, researchers and teacher educators have made to the conversation about engaging future teachers within ESE.
As a current doctoral student studying teacher candidates’ experiences in ESE, this in depth text has been an asset to my own research. It serves as a guide to the most recent literature in Canadian ESE by introducing scholars doing critical work in the field. It also inspires my own dissertation by showcasing the myriad of ways we can approach contextualizing ESE and studying its impacts on pre-service teachers. This is a must-read for anyone looking for an excellent overview to the current landscape of ESE in Canadian teacher education.
– Review by Alysse Kennedy, OISE PhD Candidate in environmental education and preservice teaching
Get your copy online from one of the retailers below:
EECOM’s Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education (ESE-TE) Standing Committee will be hosting a bi-annual Research Symposium on April 28th, 2021 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), in Toronto, Ontario.
The focus of the upcoming research symposium is on research activities in the field of ESE in preservice and inservice teacher education. The research symposium is meant to be an opportunity to share research in a supportive community of like-minded individuals who are committed to furthering the field of ESE-TE. The symposium is academic in style, featuring 15-20 minute presentations. To date, presenters have been notified of acceptance. All people interested in this area of research are welcome to attend!