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Research GION education/research Research Promolokaal

Toward climate change education: From between-school sharing to within- school acting. A study of bottom-up initiatives of implementation in primary Schools

Supervisors: Dr. Thibault Coppe and Prof. Hanke Korpershoek

You are interested in climate change issues? You are willing to contribute to changing today’s education for a more durable future? Here is something you might be interested in.


Toward climate change education: From between-school sharing to within-school acting. A study of bottom-up initiatives of implementation in primary schools.

Climate change is presented as one of the most pressing challenges faced by society (Drewes et al., 2018). It is a systemic and complex problem that is receiving increasing attention from different fields, including education (Jorgenson et al., 2019). Research has described school-based education as a critical element in addressing climate change (Drewes et al., 2018). However, while scholars consider climate change education (CCE) in primary schools one of the most effective means to address the climate crisis (Mochizuki & Bryan, 2015), studies show that CCE is mostly absent in school curriculum (Stevenson et al., 2017). Many researchers consider that CCE can no longer be ignored and that we are in need of intervention studies to understand how to effectively implement it (Eilam, 2022; Monroe et al., 2019).

However, previous intervention studies have shown little effect (Monroe et al., 2019), indicating that implementing CCE in a sustainable way is challenging (Ennes et al., 2021). Three shortcomings can explain this difficulty. (1) First, previous research interventions on CCE implementation often approach CCE as a traditional discrete curriculum content (Drewes et al., 2018). Nevertheless, recent studies emphasize that CCE demands a cross-curricular and school routine-based approach (Dolan, 2021). (2) Second, curriculum implementation research and interventions have been dominated by top-down implementation strategies so far. Increasingly, researchers are exploring the effectiveness of bottom-up initiatives for sustainable curriculum change (Jenkins, 2020). (3) Third, the majority of curriculum interventions operate at the individual teacher level (Jorgenson et al., 2019), ignoring that sustainable curriculum implementation is characterized by underlying social mechanisms (i.e., collective agency, collective learning, social influence, social diffusion: Coburn et al., 2012).

A network-based intervention is presented as a promising way to overcome these limitations by activating a collective learning process and increasing teacher agentic behavior toward CCE. Testing a network-based intervention for CCE implementation would provide new insights into what works to initiate bottom-up implementation initiatives toward CCE implementation in primary schools (Bangay & Blum, 2010).

As such, the proposed doctoral project pursues the objective to create and evaluate the impact of a network-based intervention on the implementation of CCE in schools at the teacher and student levels.

Key concepts:

Intervention study; climate change education; social capital; professional learning community; teacher agency for change.

For additional information or expression of interest, please contact t.coppe and h.korpershoek

Laatst gewijzigd:20 december 2022 15:14