Motivation to teach a non-mandatory learning-unit on energy efficiency and renewable energy

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In this research, we investigate the implementation of a non-mandatory learning-unit on renewable energy in elementary schools in Israel. The research focuses on the effect of teachers’ attitudes toward energy conservation and the efficient use of energy, as well as on the effects of contextual factors on teaching the programme. Mixed methods were used for data collection and analysis. Questionnaires were responded to by 77 teachers, and 13 teachers were interviewed. Attitudes regarding energy consumption are positively associated with teaching the programme, whereas teacher-perceived overload is negatively associated with it. Time devoted to teaching the programme in class was limited due to both the non-mandatory status of the curriculum and to accountability stressors. The findings suggest that while teachers’ attitudes to the environment have some influence on their decision to teach the programme, most of their decisions are related to contextual factors such as work overload, and lack of training, and support. Education plays a significant role in general, as well as regarding energy conservation and renewable energy. The research findings suggest that developing teaching materials is not a sufficient condition for motivating teachers to use them, and that considering contextual factors is essential for a successful implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1249
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Ministry of Energy: [Grant Number 37/2016].

Funding Information:
Developing an appreciation of complex energy-related issues and motivating students to seek proper solutions are important responsibilities of energy education (Kandpal & Broman, ). Many energy education programmes developed worldwide, however, are promoted by energy and environmental organisations and provided to schools as elective, optional, non-mandatory curricula, rather than being part of the formal, mandatory curriculum. In Europe for example, the European Commission has funded 16 educational projects through its funding programme called Intelligent Energy (Intelligent Energy, ). In the USA, the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) is enhancing energy education nationwide by creating effective networks of teachers, students, businesses, energy companies, government, and community leaders. NEED provides teachers with a variety of educational resources, training opportunities, and work, as well, in afterschool programmes (NEED, ). One of the central objectives of NEED is to help teachers meet the requirements of state standards, Common Core, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), as this helps teachers teach more about energy (NEED, ). Another example, from Israel, is the ‘Turning the Wheel Again’ programme for high schools, which is offered as enrichment, mainly for geography classes, and developed by collaboration between the National Program for Alternative Fuels of the Prime Minister Office, the MoE, and the Green Network (an NGO).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Renewable energy education
  • contextual factors
  • teachers’ motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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