30 SES 06 B, Assessing and monitoring outcomes of ESE
The 2030 Agenda set by the United Nations in 2015 emphasises the role of education in addressing the most urgent global issues, including climate change. Climate Change Education (CCE) is placed at the core of strategic targets of this agenda. It is expected by 2030, not only to improve education, awareness and capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation and reduction (target 13.3) but also that all learners within the education systems acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development (target 4.7). Despite the importance given to CCE, indicators to measure its effective implementation are limited to the number of countries that have integrated climate change in their primary and secondary curricula and that have developed any sort of capacity building activities. There are no guidelines on the 2030 Agenda on what counts as effective CCE or what significant learning in this area would encompass.
Previous research has already established the need for education stakeholders to develop a coherent framework for CCE (Mochizuki, Y., & Bryan, A., 2015). On one hand, the lack of guidelines and indicators to measure effective programmes or interventions in CCE makes it difficult to replicate, scale or adapt across contexts those initiatives that have been successful. On the other, it hinders the development of a global knowledge base from which schools and teachers can inform their practices. This paper presents a framework for assessing the impact and effectiveness of CCE interventions or programmes in formal education.
The framework has a threefold function. First, it defines the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours that should be assessed in CCE based upon the key areas proposed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): climate mitigation, climate adaptation, impact reduction and early warning. Second, it strengthens the relationship between knowledge (climate science) and practice (climate action) in CCE, both at a local and global level, as necessary conditions to achieve climate justice. Third, the framework establishes indicators to assess the effectiveness of interventions on programmes that are compatible with the SDGs global indicators facilitating the knowledge exchange and replication across contexts and countries.
Due to its compatibility with the SDGs global indicators, the assessment framework here proposed serves an important role in gathering and processing evidence for the 2030 Agenda. The interventions and programmes using the framework can provide relevant data on the effectiveness of CCE and its impact in reaching the correspondent SDGs goals (4 and 13). This is a contrasting advantage to what currently happens around the world, as most of the effectiveness assessment of interventions and programmes are conducted on an individual and ad-hoc basis (Monroe et al, 2017). As Anderson (2012) argues, effective CCE requires not only the collection of evidence but also monitoring and evaluation processes to guide both educational policy and practice.
The framework presented in this paper is the result of integrating empirical data with the content and indicators proposed by the 2030 Agenda in the SDGs relevant to CCE (A/RES/71/313). The initial proposal emerged from the findings of a pilot study in a primary school in Ireland aiming to assess the ‘Creating Futures’ lesson and materials on CCE (Oberman, 2016). Once this proposal was contrasted with the content and indicators of the SDGs, the resulting framework was tried and tested to assess the effectiveness of a CCE intervention in another primary school in Ireland using the same materials. Details of the research design of the pilot study and the second intervention that inform and shape the proposed framework are presented below.
The two studies from which evidence collected empirically to inform and test the proposed framework were conducted in primary schools in Ireland. Each study encompassed multiple research methods for data collection including observations of the interventions, interviews with teachers, as well as questionnaires, focus groups and tasks for students such as free writing and concept mapping. The multiplicity of methods provided various perspectives to assess the effectiveness of the intervention and allowed researchers to triangulate the data during the analytical process. Both interventions -the pilot and the main study- used the ‘Creating Futures’ lesson and materials (Oberman, 2016) which advance a holistic view of CCE (Anderson, 2012; Selby, D., & Kagawa, F., 2018; Mochizuki, Y., & Bryan, A.; 2015). From this view, changes in the participating children not only in relation to their knowledge about climate change but also in their attitudes towards it are expected. In addition, the interventions are directed to prompt concrete actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as to foster long-term behaviours that contribute to a sustainable development locally and globally. The topics covered in these lessons and materials are: 1) climate and weather; 2) carbon, fossil fuels and the greenhouse effect; 3) evidence for climate change; 4) causes of climate change; 5) dealing with climate change; 6) biodiversity and climate change; 7) transport; 8) climate change and the community; 9) climate change and leadership; 10) climate change learning.
The framework to assess the effectiveness of CCE interventions and programmes is a useful tool for monitoring and assessment that contextualises particular efforts in relation to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. It acknowledges the comprehensive aims of CCE and the multidisciplinary takes it can have within schools. The experience of using the proposed framework yielded promising results in three concrete aspects. First, it provided relevant data on the conceptual and practical relations between climate change knowledge and practice. From these relations, the framework advances a comprehensive notion of climate justice literacy that focuses on individual and social decision-making for sustainable development incorporating knowledge, skills and action. Second, it demonstrated the role teachers and schools can have in the generation and assessment of evidence for the SDGs, and as such, advocates for their active involvement in the development and evaluation of global policies. Third, as the framework and indicators are designed to foster its examination across contexts, school levels and even sectors, the obtained results serve as a benchmark for further assessment of CCE.
Adger, W. Neil, Jon Barnett, Katrina Brown, Nadine Marshall, and Karen O’Brien. 2013. “Cultural Dimensions of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.” Nature Climate Change 3 (2): 112–117. doi:10.1038/nclimate1666. Anderson, Allison. 2013. “Climate Change Education for Mitigation and Adaptation.” Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 6 (2): 191–206. Boxley, S. (2019). Learning nature in schools: Benjamin contra Dietzgen on nature’s ‘free gifts.’ Policy Futures in Education. Hestness, Emily, R. Christopher McDonald, Wayne Breslyn, J. Randy McGinnis, and Chrystalla Mouza. 2014. “Science Teacher Professional Development in Climate Change Education Informed by the Next Generation Science Standards.” Journal of Geoscience Education 62 (3): 319–329. Kagawa, F., & Selby, D. (2012). Ready for the Storm: Education for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 6(2), 207–217. Selby, D., & Kagawa, F. (2018). Teetering on the Brink: Subversive and Restorative Learning in Times of Climate Turmoil and Disaster. Journal of Transformative Education, 16(4), 302–322. Mochizuki, Y., & Bryan, A. (2015). Climate Change Education in the Context of Education for Sustainable Development: Rationale and Principles. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 9(1), 4–26. Monroe, M. C., Plate, R. R., Oxarart, A., Bowers, A., & Chaves, W. A. (2017). Identifying effective climate change education strategies: a systematic review of the research. Environmental Education Research, 1–22. Oberman, R. (2016). Creating Futures. 10 lessons inspiring inquiry, creativity and cooperation in response to climate change for senior primary classroom. Dubliln: Education for Just World: An Initiative of Trócaire and the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education, DCU Institute of Education. Retrieved from: https://www.trocaire.org/sites/default/files/resources/edu/creating-futures-full.pdf United Nations (2017) Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (A/RES/71/313). Retrieved from: https://undocs.org/A/RES/71/313
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