Middle School Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers’ Opinions related to Mathematics Education for Sustainability

1Ağrı İbrahim Çeçen University, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Ağrı, TURKEY
2Middle East Technical University, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Ankara, TURKEY
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2020.89.6


Purpose: Subject teachers can contribute to education for sustainability by integrating sustainability concept into their courses. By relating mathematics topics with today’s world problems, mathematics teachers can realize the significance of teaching sustainability. As a starting point, this study aimed to investigate the opinions of middle school pre-service mathematics teachers related to incorporating sustainability to their teaching.

Method: In this study, a basic qualitative research design was used. The data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 10 middle school pre-service mathematics teachers. A coding manual was developed considering the relevant literature.

Findings: The findings revealed that pre-service mathematics teachers, except one of them, were aware of the concept of sustainability. However, most of them could not describe multiple aspects of sustainability; particularly, they defined sustainability concerning its environmental dimension. They also defined the purpose of education for sustainability as increasing individuals’ environmental awareness.  Pre-service mathematics teachers stated that while teaching mathematics, sustainability can be both a goal and a context or sustainability can be used as a context.

Implications for Research and Practice: While teaching mathematics, sustainability topics can be used to design worthwhile problems using real-life examples. As a follow-up study, when these pre-service mathematics teachers start their profession, they can be asked to prepare sustainability integrated mathematics lessons and implement with their students. They can be observed and interviews can be conducted to understand their perceptions and experiences related to sustainability integrated mathematics teaching.

Keywords: Education for sustainability, sustainability, mathematics teaching, middle school pre-service mathematics teachers