ERG SES D 05, Sustainability and Education
There are several problems encountered in developing countries such as rapid population growth, deforestation, urbanization and these problems lead to consumption of natural resources (UNESCO, 2006). The term sustainable development (SD) is highlighted in the last decades to deal with the problems of the globalized world. One of the earlier studies, Brundtland Report (WCET, 1987) defined SD as “development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. However, it is criticized that this definition is very comprehensive and people might not be aware of their individual responsibilities for a sustainable future based upon the broad definition (Sandell, Öhman, Östman, Billingham & Lindman, 2005). Moreover, another critique advocates that the definition gives more emphasis to human perspective of SD making it anthropocentric (Lee, 2000). Therefore, integrated nature of SD that includes environmental, economic and social aspects has become crucial lately. (Giddings, Hopwood, & O’Brien, 2002) and these aspects were described in the framework suggested by UNESCO (2006). Although the importance of integrating these three aspects is highlighted, the literature reveals that there is a tendency for concentrating more on the environmental aspects rather than taking SD as a whole (Olsson & Gericke, 2016) and economic and social aspects were generally ignored in the studies (Pappas, Pierrakos & Nagel, 2013). The need for comprehensive and inclusive approach towards SD is emphasized by Olsson, Gericke and Rundgren (2016) and they prefer to use the term “sustainability consciousness” to fulfill this need. Researchers define sustainability consciousness as “concept that integrates the environmental, social and economic dimensions of SD. Moreover, there are aspects that elucidate sustainability knowingness, attitudes and behavior in each of these three dimensions” (p. 183). This approach was utilized in the present study which was developed in accordance with the SD aspects defined by UNESCO (2006).
There are several instruments available in the environmental education literature that approaches the issue from different perspectives. Bogner and Wiseman (2006) developed an instrument that aims to examine environmental attitudes of individuals comprising of two dimensions: utilization and preservation. Other widely used instrument, New Environmental Paradigm Scale, is used to uncover individuals’ environmental attitudes (Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig & Jones, 2002). However, these instruments were concentrated on environmental dimension rather than having broader approach towards SD. Parallel with the international literature, instruments found in the Turkish literature generally focus on the one aspect of SD. To illustrate, Güven and Aydoğdu (2012) developed an instrument to measure pre-service science teachers’ consciousness about environmental problems. On the other hand, Doğru et al. (2015) designed an instrument to determine pre-service teachers’ attitude towards social dimension of SD. From this point of view, the purpose of the study is to adapt “Sustainability Conscious” questionnaire into Turkish and examine the validity and reliability evidences for assessing teacher candidates’ sustainability consciousness level. The study is considered as significant since the instrument takes more comprehensive and inclusive approach towards Sustainability Conscious in line with the UNESCO Framework (2006; 2009) which is rare in the literature. Moreover, Olsson and Gericke (2016) used the present questionnaire in Sweden context and suggested using it in different cultural contexts. The present study attempted to contribute to the literature by adapting it into Turkish context.
Survey design was utilized in the present study. 707 pre-service teachers from science education (57.4 %), early childhood education (16.3%), primary education (19.4%) and social sciences education (6.4%) departments of faculties of education were selected through convenient sampling method (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006). Sustainability Consciousness questionnaire developed by Olsson (2014) was used in the current study. It is a self-reported questionnaire with 3 aspects (i.e., knowingness, attitudes and behavior) and it has 50 items. Originally the aspect of knowingness (i.e., the knowingness about the fundamentals that SD is based on) consisted of 19 items. Attitude aspect included of 14 items and referring to teacher candidates’ positive or negative feeling towards an SD issue, while behavior, with 17 items targeted respondents’ self-reported actions in a particular area of SD. The knowingness, attitudes and behavior items were categorized into the environmental, economic and social dimensions of SD. Of 50 items, 17 belong to the environmental, 13 to the economic, and 20 to the social dimensions. Items were scored on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (SD) to 5 (SA). Although developed for middle and high school students, researchers have used the sustainability consciousness questionnaire successfully with adults (Michalos et al., 2011; 2012). The questionnaire was translated and adapted into Turkish by researchers by taking Turkish cultural context into consideration. A group of science educators examined the questionnaire and evaluated its content appropriateness for teacher candidates. Translated version was further examined by Turkish language and literature teacher in terms of grammar errors, syntax, and sentence structure issues. As a last step, the scale re-examined by 11 teacher candidates in terms of clarity and understandability and was pilot-tested. According to the results, some items were evaluated again and necessary revisions were made, such as rewording some of the items and final version of sustainability consciousness scale was administered to the whole sample.
Sustainability Consciousness scale was used in many studies in European context (Olsson, 2014; Olsson, Gericke, & Chang Rundgren, 2016; Pauw, Gericke, Olsson & Berglund, 2015) and adapted instrument yielded similar factor structure in the present study. Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted by using LISREL 9.30 program for knowingness, attitude and behavior aspects, separately. Goodness of fit index (GFI), comparative fit index (CFI), incremental fit index (IFI) and root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) was used in order to assess the model fit in the current study. For the knowingness aspect, the first results of CFA indicated poor model fit for the three-factor structure (environmental, economic and social); therefore, four modification indices were considered and analysis were run again. Analyses in the second phase yielded following fit indices: GFI = .90, CFI = .90, IFI = .89 and RMSEA = .081, indicating a satisfactory model fit. Moreover, findings from attitude aspect verified the three-factor structure as proposed (GFI = .93, CFI =.93, IFI = .93 and RMSEA = .079). Lastly, for the behavior aspect one item with low factor loading was removed and the second analysis provided evidences for good model fit for the proposed structure (GFI = .90, CFI =.90, IFI = .89 and RMSEA = .080). Cronbach alpha reliability coefficients were found to be .91, .87 and .83 for knowingness, attitude and behavior aspects, respectively. Moreover, item total correlations seemed as acceptable for each aspect. It could be stated that Turkish version of Sustainability Consciousness questionnaire is a valid and reliable scale to measure the teacher candidates’ sustainability consciousness level. This work was supported by ODTU BAP- 05-06-2017-001 project.
Bogner, F. X., & Wiseman, M. (1999). Toward measuring adolescent environmental perception. European Psychologist, 4(3), 139. Dogru, M., Güzeller, C. O., Gencosman, T., & Saka, D. (2015). Development of scale of attitude toward social sustainable development awareness. European Journal of Sustainable Development, 4(3), 23. Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2006). How to design and evaluate research in education (6th ed.). New York: Mc Graw-Hill Companies. Giddings, B., Hopwood, B., & O'brien, G. (2002). Environment, economy and society: Fitting them together into sustainable development. Sustainable Development, 10(4), 187-196. Güven, E., & Aydoğdu, M. (2012). Çevre sorunlarına yönelik farkındalık ölçeğinin geliştirilmesi ve öğretmen adaylarının farkındalık düzeylerinin belirlenmesi. Öğretmen Eğitimi ve Eğitimcileri Dergisi, 1(2), 185-202. Lee, K. (2000). Global sustainable development: Its intellectual and historical roots. In Global Sustainable Development in the 21st Century. Lee, K., Holland, A., McNeill, D., (eds). Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 31-47. Manni, A., Sporre, K., & Ottander, C. (2013). Mapping what young students understand and value regarding sustainable development. International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education, 3(1), 17-35. Olsson, D. (2014). Young People's" Sustainability Consciousness": Effects of ESD implementation in Swedish schools (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Karlstads Universitet, Sweden. Olsson, D. & Gericke, N. (2016). The adolescent dip in students’ sustainability consciousness-Implication for education for sustainable development. The Journal of Environmental Education, 47, 35-51. Olsson, D., Gericke, N., & Chang Rundgren, S. N. (2016). The effect of implementation of education for sustainable development in Swedish compulsory schools–assessing pupils’ sustainability consciousness. Environmental Education Research, 22(2), 176-202. Pappas, E.C., Pierrakos, O., Nagel, R. (2013). Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to teach sustainability in multiple contexts. Journal of Cleaner Production 48 54-64 Sandell, K., J., Öhman, L., Östman, R., Billingham & Lindman, M. (2005). Education for Sustainable Development: Nature, School and Democracy. Lund: Studentlitteratur. UNESCO (2006). United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005–2014, UNESCO: International Implementation Scheme. Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO (2009). United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005–2014: Review of Contexts and Structures for Education for Sustainable Development Learning for a Sustainable World. Paris: UNESCO. WCED (1987). Our Common Future: A Report from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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