Chinese International School Students Discuss Sustainability: A Mixed Methods Study In Guangdong, China
As the number of international schools in China increases, along with the severity of environmental impacts worldwide, international school teachers need tools to effectively reach their Chinese students. This mixed-method study was conducted at an international school near Guangzhou, China and included a total of 40 Likert-scale questionnaires, a focus group (with eight participating students) and nine individual interviews with the 100% Han Chinese student population. Significant results demonstrated that many of the ideas about sustainability shared by students were interconnected and could not easily be separated, that students felt that awareness was an important first step to acting sustainably (but they need a secondary reason to act sustainably), that despite moving around students were connected to special places and that this student population was able to internalize seemingly contradictory ideas about sustainability. While this study focuses on a specific student population, several strategies for teachers are proposed, which may prove effective in any classroom around the world. The strategies are: the inclusion of people in food webs and other ecological models used in class, as well as two assignments designed to help students see hidden consequences of their choices and how a big impact can be made through many small impacts.