Education for Environmental Sustainability and the Emotions: Implications for Educational Practice

Lynda Dunlop, Elizabeth Rushton

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Increasing attention is being paid to the emotions in education and in communication about the climate crisis and other sustainability challenges. This has tended to focus on the relationship between emotions and environmental perceptions and behaviours. In this study, we understand emotions as evaluative feelings which meaningfully connect people and their environment. We draw on data from teachers, teacher educators, and young people (n = 223) to describe educationally-relevant emotions and identify the implications for educational practice. We argue that emotionally-responsive pedagogies are needed to identify responsibilities, develop coping potential, and improve future expectations. These pedagogies must act on the causes and consequences of environmental damage and develop teachers’ and students’ capabilities to take action and ultimately transform emotional appraisals. A more enabling policy environment is needed for teachers to adopt these approaches and empower them to take action relating to climate and ecological crises.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 4441
Pages (from-to)17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022

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