Secondary Science Teachers’ Views on Environmental Citizenship in The Netherlands
van Harskamp, M., Knippels, M. C. P., & van Joolingen, W. R. (2021). Secondary Science Teachers’ Views on Environmental Citizenship in The Netherlands. Sustainability, 13(14), 7963.
Environmental Citizenship (EC) is a promising aim for science education. EC enables people not only to responsibly make decisions on sustainability issues—such as use of renewable energy sources—but also to take action individually and collectively. However, studies show that education for EC is challenging. Because our understanding of EC practice remains limited, an in-depth, qualitative view would help us better understand how to support science teachers during EC education. This study aims to describe current EC education practices. What do secondary science teachers think sustainability and citizenship entail? What are their experiences (both positive and negative) with education for EC? A total of 41 Dutch science teachers were interviewed in an individual, face-to-face setting. Analysis of the coded transcripts shows that most teachers see the added value of EC but struggle to fully implement it in their teaching. They think the curriculum is unsuitable to reach EC, and they see activities such as guiding discussions and opinion forming as challenging. Furthermore, science teachers’ interpretation of citizenship education remains narrow, thus making it unlikely that their lessons are successful in fostering EC. Improving EC education therefore may be supported by explicit representation in the curriculum and teacher professional development directed at its implementation.