Malandrakis Georgios, Papadopoulou Pinelope: Greek pre-service teachers understanding of global warming: realities and misconceptions

Global warming (GW) is the most pressing environmental issue of nowadays, threatening the modern way of life and changing ecosystems in a dramatic way. Education has a prominent role on increasing citizens’ environmental literacy, and particularly of young students. In this study, the views of 158 pre-service student teachers (STs) of primary and early childhood education were assessed on GW issues, through the use of an on-line questionnaire. Beyond descriptive, chi-square test was used to assess significant differences on STs answers based on independent variables.
Results indicate that STs have poor understanding of GW mechanism, while in their views about causes, consequences and possible cures strong and common misconceptions usually co-exist with scientifically accepted views. For instance, 84% of STs erroneously considered that ozone depletion reinforces GW by allowing more sunlight to reach the surface of the earth, and a significant number of STs incorrectly considered that artificial fertilizers (67%), pesticides (53%) and nuclear power plants (53%) increase GW. In addition, STs incorrectly considered that more rains (48%) and skin cancers (42%) will be caused, while the use of unleaded gasoline (48%) and reducing nuclear bombs (43%) ameliorates GW. Moreover, statistically significant differences were observed especially regarding STs gender, and their secondary education academic background.