Opportunities and motivations for cultivating Earth and sustainability literacy in future teachers

Monday 2:45pm Weeks Geo: AB20
Oral Presentation


Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Kim Kastens, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Valentina Mara, Columbia University in the City of New York
In an effort to infuse sustainability and Earth literacy across the undergraduate curriculum, InTeGrate has developed instructional materials for implementation in several types of courses. One of the target audiences is future K-12 teachers.

All students who took part in 2012-2015 testing of InTeGrate instructional materials participated in pre- and post- assessments of Earth literacy using the Geoscience Literacy Exam (GLE) and of sustainable behaviors and motivations using the InTeGrate Attitudinal Instrument (IAI). A total of 1125 students provided at least some matched responses to these two instruments. Of those, 245 students were determined to be "very interested in teaching," either by the nature of the course they were enrolled in or their responses to career and major questions on the IAI.

The majority of the "very interested" students are not enrolled in a designated teacher preparation course, but in general education science courses. In their responses to the IAI, they distinguish themselves from their peers by being more influenced by family and friends in their decisions to engage in sustainable behaviors and by a commitment to incorporating knowledge about Earth and the environment into their professional careers. It is possible that these differences are due to the demographics of this population, including that they are generally being surveyed at a later point in their undergraduate career, and/or that they are more female and less under-represented than the rest of the test population. However, these results may also represent an opportunity to tap in to future teachers' interests and motivations and integrate sustainability more deeply into the curriculum of a population with tendencies in that direction.