Teacher Professional Development and Geography Teachers’ Pedagogical Practices for Climate Change Education

  • Muofhe Thenga University of the Witwatersrand
  • Paul Goldschagg University of the Witwatersrand
  • Rene Ferguson University of the Witwatersrand
  • Caleb Mandikonza University of the Witwatersrand


Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was added to the South African Geography school curriculum when the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) was implemented from 2012. Many in-service teachers who qualified prior to 2014 did not cover this concept during their initial teacher education qualification because it was not part of the curriculum at that time. To address this deficiency, a teacher professional development (TPD) module was developed by the Fundisa for Change programme and offered to a selection of in-service high school Geography teachers. Transformative learning theory helped to understand the pedagogical practices used by teachers after attending the Fundisa for Change teacher professional development programme, in particular the use of a learner-centred approach. Using a small-scale, qualitative and interpretive case study method, the influence of this short TPD course on the teaching of climate change in the Geography CAPS curriculum on teachers’ pedagogical practices was investigated. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, document analysis and lesson observations. Data were analysed using both inductive thematic and deductive analysis. Findings from this small sample of five teachers and their practices suggest that despite attending the programme, most of the participating teachers did not sufficiently
integrate climate change education in their Geography classroom practices. The majority of the research participants did not implement the learner-centred teaching methods covered in the course. It is therefore recommended that a teacher professional development programme should be incorporated into longer-term and preferably ongoing professional development programmes so as to adequately foster climate change education in classroom practices.

Keywords: Geography, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), climate change education, teacher professional development, learner-centred pedagogies 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2411-5959
print ISSN: 1810-0333