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Students’ Interest in Climate Change – Results of a Quantitative Questionnaire-Based Study in Germany

In addressing climate change as one of the key problems of humanity (IPCC 2014), the school subject of geography is of particular importance, as it is a leading subject for Education for Sustainable Development with a pronounced systemic character (DGfG 2020). In this highly relevant area, on the one hand, the interest of students is considered a decisive prerequisite for the success of learning processes. On the other hand, students’ interest is also regarded as an important goal of (geography) lessons (Krapp 1998) - yet there are hardly any differentiated findings on its characteristics regarding climate change.

Against this background, in a quantitative, questionnaire-based study N = 4627 students in the federal state of Bavaria were surveyed about their topic-specific interest in climate change, and the data were analyzed both descriptively and interference-statistically. Overall, the students show a high level of interest in climate change. However, there are remarkable differences regarding different aspects of climate change, as well as between genders and between students attending different types of schools. Aspects related to actions against climate change as well as to the global level are considered more interesting than aspects concerning spatial proximity and climate change measurement/methodology, and girls show an overall higher interest in climate change than boys do. Furthermore, students attending grammar school (“Gymnasium”) show a higher interest than students attending secondary school (“Realschule”), and these in turn than students attending lower-level secondary school (“Mittelschule”). These and the results of further analyses of the survey will be presented.


Steffen Höhnle1, Hanna Velling1, Jan Christoph Schubert1
1Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023