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Results of the ‘Sustainable Development Education: educator practices and needs’ survey

With 2023 set to be the hottest year on record, we need to take urgent action to help the younger generation meet environmental challenges. Teachers play a crucial role in supporting youth. A new survey by the Ecolhuma Observatory, in partnership with the Mirova Foundation, indicates that 84% of teachers believe it is their role to help develop pro-environmental behaviour among their pupils, but they need practical help to do so effectively.

Mirova Foundation is supporting the Ecolhuma association over a three-year period in a project to help teachers become the leading educational players in the ecological transition. The publication of the barometer is the first step in this partnership.

Teachers are aware that they are part of the answer

The Ecolhuma Observatory surveyed nearly 1,000 teachers about their perceptions of environmental issues, their educative practices on sustainable development issues, and their needs in this area.

These are genuine contributors to the environmental transition with a high level of awareness of environmental risks (74%), and 96% believe that humans are seriously damaging the environment.

Confronted with this reality, teachers are aware of the role they must play. A full 77% heartily endorse teaching sustainable development education (SDE).

Daily actions to raise awareness among students

To meet this challenge, teachers are making their commitment felt on a daily basis. Some 64% are undertaking action outside the official curriculum to raise awareness. This is reflected in the use of a wide range of teaching practices. A total of 75% report using ‘eco-gestures’  and more than a third have organised field activities, debates and discussions, or manual activities.

Giving teachers the means to better support pupils in the face of climate change

Despite their commitment, French national education professionals say they need more training on these issues. Only half of teachers feel they have mastered the knowledge (52%) or skills (46%) relating to education for sustainable development, which diminishes their sense of being able to support students.

As well as mastering the basics, teachers are also confronted with new phenomena, such as eco-anxiety, which are increasingly affecting young people. Fewer than half of teaches feel able to support a student with eco-anxiety.

More than 60% of teachers consistently expressed four priority needs to better meet their needs and expectations: more preparation time, more time to complete the programme, more teaching expertise to put this programme into practice, and teaching support to integrate sustainable development education into their subjects.

Additional resources

Summary of survey findings

Worksheets for educators on the environmental transition