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E. Sahin, H. Ertepinar, G. Teksoz

Middle East Technical University (TURKEY)
To overcome the problems emerging with unsustainability, education and educational cooperation has been viewed as an important factor. A worldwide action plan, namely Agenda 21 accepted at the Earth Summit in 1992 proposed that education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address sustainable development issues (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 1992). A later document, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg also points out the importance of education to meet the basic needs of all including the future generations (World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002). At this point it should be noted that education for sustainable development has been arriving into all levels of education including early childhood, elementary and high school education as well as higher education (Webster, 2004). In this context, education for sustainable development in the teacher education programs could not discard to prepare future teachers to effectively teach about sustainability related issues. Since young people are educated through the guidance of teachers, future teachers should be well equipped with the necessary skills and understanding in order to overcome the obstacles toward a sustainable world. Thus, the present study aimed to determine grade level and gender differences in pre-service teachers’ attitudes and behaviors pertaining to sustainability. The data were collected by administration of a survey covering two parts, namely attitudes toward sustainability (13 Likert-type items) and behaviors toward sustainable life styles (14 items in rating scale). The participants were pursuing a degree program under the departments of Computer Education and Instructional Technologies, Foreign Language Education, Elementary Education, and Secondary Science and Mathematics Education at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. Two-way multivariate analysis of variance was conducted for the specified purposes. The results indicated that there is no significant difference in pre-service teachers’ attitudes and behaviors pertaining to sustainability in terms of grade level. Similarly, no significant gender difference in pre-service teachers’ behaviors was reported in this study. However, it was shown that females had significantly more favorable attitudes toward sustainability than males did.