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This study investigated the relationships between knowledge and efficacy for teaching sustainability in a sample of 266 pre-service primary teachers at a large, metropolitan university in Australia. A survey gathered information about the participant’s attitudes and self-efficacy for education for sustainability, along with their perceived and actual knowledge of environmental sustainability issues. The participants typically believed they were confident in their abilities to engage with education for sustainability with self-efficacy increasing with increased levels of perceived knowledge. However no relationship was found between perceived knowledge and actual knowledge which suggests that the participants either do not feel constrained by their lack of knowledge, or are perhaps unaware of their actual knowledge of sustainability issues. This lack of relationship may have implications for the development of pedagogical content knowledge with pre-service teachers potentially developing shallow, tokenistic approaches to Education for Sustainability.


School of Education

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access