30 ONLINE 21 A, Climate Change Education - Part 2
Paper Session continued from 30 ONLINE 20 A
MeetingID: 857 9192 6641 Code: DvcP8Y
Climate change represents a complex challenge of our times. Learning how to cohabitate with climate change represents new discipline of pedagogy, which confirms that climate change does not only represent “a condition which we should be ashamed of” or “a problem that has to be solved” (Hulme, 2009, pp. 364). The need for (student) teachers to show willingness to act towards the direction of sustainable development as well as willingness to implement education for sustainable development (e.g., Sleurs, 2008; UNECE, 2012; Rauch & Steiner, 2013; UNESCO, 2020) is particularly emphasized due to the fact that education for sustainable development represents one of the key areas within which it is possible to make progress in climate change mitigation context. Therefore, an important question is being raised regarding the factors that shape (student) teachers’ willingness to act in the climate change context as well as how to encourage it through teachers’ initial training.
In the context of climate change, actions one (intent to) exhibit usually falls into two broad categories: climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation (Chen et al., 2017). Climate change mitigation is aimed at minimizing the possible impacts of climate change, as well as tackling the causes of climate change. Climate change adaptation actions refer to altering our behavior and ways of life to protect the environment and overall wellbeing of planet and living beings. These actions are aimed at reducing the negative effects of climate change (Chen et al., 2017). In line with that, in this research focus is placed on student teachers’ willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context.
Willingness to act as well as the perception of action possibilities are the key components of action competence (Breiting & Mogensen, 1999; Mogensen & Schnack, 2010; Sass et al., 2020). Willingness to act refers both to intention and will to participate in significant and meaningful activities that bring desired changes in certain (in this example sustainability) context (Vukelić, 2021). Perception of action possibilities refers to individual's capacity to search for information and build network of knowledge based on the possibility to use personal list of activities in the direction of sustainable development, or in the context of this study, in the direction of climate change. However, in order for student teachers to express willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context, in addition to their awareness of the possibilities to act, multiple motivational factors have to be present. On the one hand, motivational factors include attitudes and interest in issues regarding climate change, while on the other hand, they involve perception of future in climate change context as well as concern for the future.
Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine predictors of student teachers’ willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context. More specifically, the objective of this study was to examine which of the following factors represent significant predictors of student teachers’ willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context: (I) attitudes towards climate change, (II) perception of action possibilities in climate change mitigation and adaptation context, (III) perception of future in climate change context, (IV) interest in climate change and (V) concern for ecological problems.
201 student teachers from the University of Rijeka (Croatia) participated in the study. This study used online questionnaires with the purpose of measuring: (I) Willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context scale (8 items), (II) Attitudes towards climate change scale (5 items) (III) Perception of action possibilities in climate change mitigation and adaptation context scale (4 items), (IV) Perception of future in climate change scale (7 items), (V) Interest in climate change scale (5 items) and (VI) Concern for ecological problems scale (10 items). The concern for ecological problems scale was adopted from Cifrić (2005). All the other used scales, i.e., its items, were adopted from Hadžiselimović (2015). The participants expressed their agreement with all items on a 5-point Likert scale (1 – I completely disagree, 5 – I completely agree). A two-stage hierarchical multiple regression was carried out in which willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context represented dependent variable. Gender and age were implemented at stage one of the regression in order to control for socio-demographic variables. Aforementioned potential predictors were implemented at stage two. The hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that at stage one, socio-demographic variables (gender and age) contributed significantly to the regression model (R2=0.03, F(2,198)=3.17; p<0.05) and accounted for 3% of the variance in willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context. Participants’ gender represents the sole statistically significant predictor. Women express higher level of willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context. During the stage two of hierarchical regression analysis, the remaining potential predictors of willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context were implemented. It was determined that predictors statistically significantly explain additional 56.8% of variance in willingness to act (ΔR2=0.568; F(5,193)=54.58; p<0.001) along with variance explained by participants’ gender and age. Additionally, (I) attitudes towards climate change, (II) perception of action possibilities in climate change mitigation and adaptation context as well as (III) interest in climate change represent significant predictors of willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context. After implementing other predictors into the model in the stage two of the analysis, gender no longer represented significant predictor of willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context.
Therefore, regardless of their gender, student teachers who have positive attitudes towards climate change, perceive action possibilities in climate change mitigation and adaptation context (they believe that is possible to influence climate change mitigation and adaptation) as well as those who show interest in climate change, express higher levels of willingness to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context. In line with the results of this study, the recommendation is to raise student teachers’ awareness regarding the action possibilities as well as influence they can have on climate change mitigation and adaptation during their initial teacher training programs. It is particularly important to show student teachers the ways and models which they can use in order to cope with challenges of today’s world, especially climate change. Apart from that, it is important to put emphasis on encouraging the development of student teachers’ positive attitudes and interest in climate change. Additionally, through educational interventions focused on abovementioned aspects, we can ensure that student teachers feel more prepared to act in climate change mitigation and adaptation context, which will, consequently, have positive effect on both their (future) students as well as general shift towards sustainable future by implementing education for sustainable development.
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