Learning to know, do, be and live together for climate change education. A reflection on practices that work in the context of geographical education


  • Chew-Hung Chang National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


Research literature on climate change education has been primarily focused on reporting how programmes are designed to help students learn the topic of climate change better. The aim of such education programmes invariably endeavours to educate a globally informed citizenry in response to the contemporary climate crisis through effective teaching and learning. While there have been literature to show how students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour have changed for the better with effective teaching and learning, this article seeks to curate some of these practices, especially those published by the author to exemplify how we can achieve the UN Delors report’s (1998) suggestion that education needs to help students to learn to know, learn to do, learn to be and learn to live together. These desired outcomes are also aligned with the aspirations of geographical education as set out in the International Charter on Geographic Education (CGE, 2016). The article will draw on published works by the author, review the relevance of these studies and compare them with other published works to provide an argument for using the Delors Report to help teachers in their curriculum planning and lesson designs. While education is inherently future-oriented, there needs to be some coherent and contiguous treatment of the way education practices can be used. To this end, the article’s approach to curating the published work will provide a critical discussion using a known framework to advance the discourse on best practices for climate change education. Ultimately the aim of climate change education should be to provide students with the capabilities and opportunities to flourish in society now and in the future, particularly in the face of the challenges brought about by global climate change.


Busch T. and Judick L., “Climate change – that is not real! A comparative analysis of climate-sceptic think tanks in the USA and Germany”, Climatic Change, 164, 18, 2021.

CGE, International charter on geographical education, International Geographical Union, Commission on Geographical Education, 2016.

Chang C.H., “Teaching climate change–a fad or a necessity?”, International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 24, 3, 2015, pp. 181-183.

Chang C.H., Climate change education: Knowing, doing and being, Routledge, 2023.

Chang C.H. and Aman M.F., The Inter-national Charter on Geographical Education – a reflection on published research articles on assessment, J-READING (Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography), 2, 6, 2017, pp. 5-16.

Chang C.H. and Pascua L., “Singapore students’ misconceptions of climate change”, International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 25, 1, 2016, pp. 84-96.

Chang C.H., Pascua L. and Ess F., “Closing the “hole in the sky”: The use of refutation-oriented instruction to correct students’ climate change misconceptions”, Journal of Geography, 117, 1, 2018, pp. 3-16.

Chawla L. and Cushing D.F., “Education for strategic environmental behavior”, Environ-mental Education Research, 13, 4, 2007, pp. 437-452.

Delors J., Learning: The treasure within. Unesco, 1998.

Dewey J., “Individual psychology and education”, The Philosopher, 12, 1934.

Diekmann A. and Preisendörfer P., “Green and greenback: The behavioural effects of environmental attitudes in low-cost and high-cost situations”, Rationality and Society, 15, 4, 2003, pp. 441-472.

He Y., Tani S. and Puustinen M., “GeoCapabilities Approach to Climate Change Education: Developing an Epistemic Model for Geographical Thinking”, Journal of Geography, 2024, pp. 1-9.

Hilander M., Romi C. and Tani S., “Climate education in early childhood education: Finnish early childhood educators’ views”, J-READING (Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography), 2, 12, 2023, pp. 5-20.

Kenis A. and Mathijs E., “Beyond individual behaviour change: The role of power, knowledge and strategy in tackling climate change”, Environmental Education Research, 18, 1, 2012, pp. 45-65.

Martusewicz R.A., Edmundson J. and Lupinacci J., EcoJustice Education: Toward Diverse, Democratic, and Sustainable Communities (2nd ed.), Routledge, 2015.

Mezirow J., “Transformative Learning The-ory to Practice”, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 74, 1997, pp. 5-12.

Monroe M.C., Plate R.R., Oxarart A., Bowers A. and Chaves W.A., “Identifying effective climate change education strategies: a systematic review of the research”, Environmental Education Research, 25, 6, 2019, pp. 791-812.

OECD., OECD future of education and skills 2030: conceptual learning framework. Core foundations for 2030, OECD, 2019.

Öhman J. and Östman L., “Different teaching traditions in environmental and sustainability education”, in Stevenson R.B., Brody M., Dillon J. and Wals A.E.J. (Eds.), International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education, Routledge, 2019, pp. 197-206.

Pascua L. and Chang C.H., “Using intervention-oriented evaluation to diagnose and correct students’ persistent climate change misconceptions: A Singapore case study”, Evaluation and Program Planning, 52, 2015, pp. 70-77.

Poortinga W., Steg L., Vlek C. and Wiersma G., “Household preferences for energy-saving measures: A conjoint analysis”, Journal of Economic Psychology, 24, 1, 2003, pp. 49-64.

Reimers F., Empowering students to improve the world in sixty lessons: Version 1.0, Creative Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2017.

Schick-Makaroff K., MacDonald M., Plummer M., Burgess J. and Neander W., “What synthesis methodology should I use? A review and analysis of approaches to research synthesis”, AIMS Public Health, 3, 1, 2016.

Steg L., Bolderdijk J.W., Keizer K. and Perlaviciute G., “An integrated framework for encouraging pro-environmental behaviour: The role of values, situational factors and goals”, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 38, 2014, pp. 104-115.

Steg L. and Vlek C., “Encouraging pro-environmental behaviour: An integrative review and research agenda”, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 3, 2009, pp. 309-317.

Treagust D.F., “Development and use of diagnostic tests to evaluate students’ misconceptions in science”, International Journal of Science Education, 10, 2, 1988, pp. 159-169.

Tsui C.Y. and Treagust D.F., “Evaluating secondary students’ scientific reasoning in genetics using a two-tier diagnostic instru-ment”, International Journal of Science Education, 32, 8, 2010, pp. 1073-1098.

UNESCO and UNEP, Climate change starter’s guidebook: an issues guide for educational planners and practitioners, 2011, https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223 /pf0000211136.

Von Aufschnaiter C. and Rogge C., “Misconceptions or missing conceptions”, Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 6, 1, 2010, pp. 3-18.

Vosniadou S. and Brewer W.F., “Mental models of the Earth: A study of conceptual change in childhood”, Cognitive Psychology, 24, 4, 1992, pp. 535-585.

Vygotsky L., Thought and language, Cambridge, The MIT Press, 1986.

Wi A. and Chang C.-H., “Promoting pro-environmental behaviour in a community in Singapore – From raising awareness to behavioural change”, Environmental Education Research, 25, 7, 2019, pp. 1019-1037.

Young M., Lambert D., Roberts C. and Roberts M., Knowledge and the future school: Curriculum and social justice, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014.

Zadrozny J., Crane M., Boehm R.G. and Solem M., “Teaching Climate Change through Powerful Geography”, The Geogra-phy Teacher, 20, 3, 2023, pp. 141-149.