Assessing environmental competencies of primary education pre-service teachers in Spain

Olaya Alvarez-García (Department of Applied Pedagogy and Educational Psychology, Balearic Islands University, Palma de Mallorca, Spain)
Jaume Sureda-Negre (Department of Applied Pedagogy and Educational Psychology, Balearic Islands University, Palma de Mallorca, Spain)
Rubén Comas-Forgas (Department of Applied Pedagogy and Educational Psychology, Balearic Islands University, Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 2 January 2018

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, the results of an investigation aimed at analysing and comparing the environmental competences of future teachers undergoing training in two universities are presented. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the difference in the acquisition of environmental competences amongst two groups of students enrolled in two universities with different levels of introduction of the environmental education (EE) and sustainability contents in their curriculums. This objective is inserted into a wider finality: to provide recommendations regarding the redesign of pre-service teacher training curricula and learning programmes.

Design/methodology/approach

A specifically designed questionnaire was used in this study to analyse the environmental competencies of students in the final year of their degree in primary education in two Spanish universities. One of them had a highly environmentally oriented programme, and the other had a scarcely environmentally oriented programme.

Findings

Results show that no significant differences were observed in the results related to the greening level of the training programmes. Pre-service teachers have insufficient environmental knowledge, but with quite positive, responsible attitudes towards environmental issues, and pro-environmental actions that could be categorised as moderate. Results point to the need for further and better pre-service teacher training in environmental issues.

Originality/value

One of the main factors in the appropriate treatment of EE in schools is teacher training. Despite this principle being widely recognised, not all pre-service teacher training programmes adequately address EE. The added value of this paper is the comparison established between the students that followed a degree with a high impact of the environmental competences in its curriculum and another one that has very few references to these competences in the curriculum.

Keywords

Citation

Alvarez-García, O., Sureda-Negre, J. and Comas-Forgas, R. (2018), "Assessing environmental competencies of primary education pre-service teachers in Spain", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 15-31. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-12-2016-0227

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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