Perspectives on environmental education, citizenship, and assessment: A case study of elementary school teachers and principals in Israel


  • Dafna Gan Kibbutzim College of Education and the Arts



Environmental education, civic education, environmental citizenship, constructivist-positivist approach to knowledge construction, assessment and accountability, pro-environmental behavior


Environmental education (EE) is recognized as an important way to improve the environmental crisis. It seems that international and national educational assessment and accountability ideas are working against EE. By examining the perspectives of Israeli teachers, who are important change agents in society, this qualitative case study seeks to understand the potential of EE, when paired with citizenship, to foster a more equitable society in the context of the global educational reform movement. The study focuses on EE implementation in two Israeli schools, asking, “How do Israeli elementary school teachers understand EE’s role in fostering citizenship in the context of assessment and accountability?” The findings contribute to the literature by exploring the relationship between EE, assessment, and citizenship. They also suggest that a school’s ontological perspective on knowledge, namely the constructivist approach, enhances pro-environmental behavior, while the positivist approach matches the EE scientific approach that focuses more on assessment. A whole-school approach to EE deepened the active involvement of participants and enhanced their sense of citizenship more than an inquiry-based learning approach. This study recommends integrating the social component of EE and developing action skills for citizenship, taking into consideration the global assessment movement and accountability context.


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Author Biography

Dafna Gan, Kibbutzim College of Education and the Arts

Dr. Gan, Ed.D, an environmental and sustainability education researcher and lecturer at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology, and the Arts, Israel. She is the program director of the Environmental Education Master program at the science department. Her research focuses on environmental and sustainability education, multicultural education, transformative learning, leadership in higher education and non-governmental sustainability organizations. Her academic practices are devoted to sustainability implementation in both the college sector and in the educational system in Israel. She is the founder and director of The Center for Sustainability Education - Integrating Environmental Educational Research, and Practice.

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How to Cite

Gan, D. (2021). Perspectives on environmental education, citizenship, and assessment: A case study of elementary school teachers and principals in Israel. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(August - December), 127.



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