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Achieving “Sustainability Education” in Primary Schools as a Result of the Victorian Science in Schools Research Project

  • Annette Gough (a1)


Science education in the Australian primary school curriculum is a relatively rare event. Several studies over the past twenty five years have all reported disappointingly low amounts of science being taught and the reluctance of primary school teachers to make science a priority in their teaching. Similar outcomes have been reported for environmental education. Even though primary aged children are very interested in science and the environment, primary school teachers often struggle to teach science/environmental education because they are not confident and competent in the content, lack curriculum resources and equipment, have inadequate time to prepare, and have difficulty finding a place for science/environmental education in what they perceive as an already overcrowded curriculum. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the experiences of primary schools involved in the Victorian Science in Schools Research Project which was concerned with improving science teaching and learning strategies but which also unexpectedly led to more environmental (“sustainability”) education occurring. The paper will also suggest a curriculum strategy for achieving more widespread acceptance and implementation of “sustainability education” through primary school science curricula.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: A/Professor Annette Gough, Director, Consultancy and Development Unit, Faculty of Education, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125. Email:


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Australian Journal of Environmental Education
  • ISSN: 0814-0626
  • EISSN: 2049-775X
  • URL: /core/journals/australian-journal-of-environmental-education
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