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Learning the Nuclear: Educational Tourism in (Post)Industrial Sites

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Edited By Natalija Mazeikiene

This book illuminates the educational potential of nuclear tourism and learning about nuclear power in informal and non-formal learning settings. The authors present a case of elaboration of the educational virtual nuclear route in the Ignalina Power Plant Region, Lithuania. Nuclear tourism takes its shape at the junction of several types of tourism – energy, industrial, cultural, and heritage and it becomes a site of outdoor and place-based education, promotes STEM, energy literacy, critical thinking, and environmental skills, and creates a valuable source for virtual learning. The book reveals peculiarities of learning and experience at nuclear power plants and disaster tourism destinations such as the Chernobyl Museum and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

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Energy Literacy in Geography Curriculum: Redefining the Role of Nuclear Power in Changing Energy Landscapes (Odeta NorkutėandNatalija Mažeikienė)

Odeta NorkutėandNatalija Mažeikienė

Energy Literacy in Geography Curriculum: Redefining the Role of Nuclear Power in Changing Energy Landscapes

Abstract: The aim of this chapter is to reveal how different forms of both formal and non-formal education can be combined within the educational route of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) seeking to develop the energy literacy by employing the geography curriculum. A general question raised in the chapter is how geography curriculum and teaching/learning geography could be improved by developing energy literacy (including nuclear literacy), applying the context-based learning approach and using opportunities of the outdoor learning environment (in this case, nuclear educational tourism on the site of the INPP). Seeking to achieve the aim, the data of the content analysis of geography curriculum and geography textbooks is presented. The analysis of texts on nuclear energy in the textbooks aims to identify the connection of textbook materials on nuclear energy to geographical skills and competences pointed out in comprehensive programmes and how it combines with the taxonomy levels of competences.

The research demonstrated that the national curriculum did not include direct connections to energy literacy; however, preconditions for the development of cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions of energy literacy are created. In the textbooks, the theme of nuclear energy is mostly linked to the cognitive dimension, when basic knowledge of numbers and facts is obtained; comparisons of, e.g., volumes of nuclear fuel processing in different countries, changes in nuclear energy in different regions, and depiction of the process of recycling of nuclear waste are presented. The formation of other dimensions, i.e., behavioural and attitudinal (affective), is given little attention, and the development of these components is quite episodic.

Keywords: energy literacy geography curriculum energy geography nuclear power energy landscape geography textbooks The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant Visaginas.

Introduction

The authors of the chapter have been working on the development of the route of educational nuclear tourism in the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP), Lithuania. The methodology of creating the educational route implies establishing links with the formal school curriculum and attracting school ←314 | 315→students and other learners as potential visitors and tourists with educational needs and interests to the site of the INPP.

The INPP and a town of Visaginas, a satellite town of the INPP encompassing its historical and social context, have been chosen as a field for creation of educational nuclear tourism and scientific investigation. The construction of the INPP started in 1974; the exploitation of the first block commenced on 31 December 1983. Back then, it was planned to be the most powerful nuclear plant in the world, with mounted four RBMK type reactors. However, after the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986, construction of the third reactor was conserved, and the construction of the fourth block did not begin. After Lithuania restored its independence in 1990, the INPP became the most important part of the energy sector. In 1993, even 88.1 per cent of the electric energy required by the state was produced in it. At the time of Lithuania entering the NATO and the European Union, the condition in terms of safety assurance was emphasised; and, thus, the RBMK type reactors being exploited at the INPP were considered to be unsafe. Therefore, the power plant could not be exploited and, on 31 December 2009, its operation was completely terminated. The works of decommissioning of the power plant are projected until 2038.

The town was built near the INPP; staff and their family members inhabited it. At the beginning, the town was called Sniečkus (it was a surname of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania); later (since 1992), the town was given the name “Visaginas”. The nuclear plant was being exploited by specialists of nuclear energy who arrived from nuclear power plants operating all over Soviet Union. This formed an exceptional situation of the town in demographic, cultural and urbanistic terms. The town stands out by its multicultural aspect and specific linguistic milieu in Lithuania: residents representing 38 nationalities live here, majority of them speak Russian. This is a town attributed with Soviet architecture, historically formed as a mono-industrial site built for one purpose – to serve the nuclear industry, losing its major purpose after closure of the nuclear power plant and, therefore, undergoing the crisis of place identity.

The uniqueness and exceptionality of the INPP and Visaginas town provide preconditions for development of educational nuclear tourism, design an educational route combining means of formal education and educational tourism. The authors of this chapter raise questions: how to combine different forms of learning, i.e., the route of educational tourism and the process of formal education; how to make this route attractive and useful to students and teachers, as participants of formal curriculum; and how to combine cognition of nuclear energy and social, cultural, historical cognition.←315 | 316→

In search for answers to these questions, the chapter displays the analysis of the geography curriculum content and the content of geography textbooks for school. Geography curriculum has been chosen for analysis as a school subject which potentially covers a range of nuclear energy–related topics. A general question raised in the chapter is how geography curriculum and teaching/learning geography could be improved by developing energy literacy (including nuclear literacy), applying the context-based learning approach and using opportunities of the outdoor learning environment (in this case, nuclear educational tourism on the site of the INPP).

A New Role of Geography in Teaching and Learning Energy Literacy and Promoting Education for Sustainability

There is an ongoing intensive discussion in the scientific discourse on new areas of geography research and scholarship on how to translate these new areas into new domains of geography curriculum in school. Geography becomes a central school subject in building understanding and addressing current energy issues and dilemmas. At the same time, geography curriculum becomes “a curriculum of survival” and “a curriculum of the future” aiming at promoting education for sustainability and building environmental literacy (Lambert, 2013, Butt, 2011). Additionally, geography curriculum is considered by geography researchers as the most important school subject in learning about globalisation.

Researchers of education emphasise the need for teaching energy in geography classes (Thoyre & Harrison, 2016). Energy literacy enables learners to assess energy-related decisions throughout their lives: as citizens with a “citizenship understanding” in the context of local, national and global decisions, as well as at a personal level, in the context of their daily life decisions. It is believed that “energy literacy” would help equip people to make more responsible energy-related decisions and actions (for instance, to reduce energy consumption (Van der Horst et al., 2016). To implement new energy policy decisions at the national and global levels (e.g. the introduction of renewable energy technologies, climate change measures), energy literacy becomes an educational foundation that can create social support. DeWaters et al. (2013), referring to Fowler (1976), underline the importance of energy literacy to make energy-related decisions at the individual and societal levels. According to Fowler (1976, cit. DeWaters et al. (2013)), energy literacy deals with understanding the science and technology of energy and its pervasive role in the national and world society; enables to make informed political decisions on energy-related options; and to make personal life-style decisions that are consistent with energy realities. ←316 | 317→Thus, these different decisions that citizens have to make at different levels of the decision-making are intended to have scientific literacy (including technological and environmental literacy, scientific inquiry and problem-solving skills), but social competences and abilities, i.e., ethical aspects and citizenship understanding, are important, too.

The authors (DeWaters et al., 2013) who developed an energy literacy measurement instrument to assess energy literacy among secondary school students (forms 7 through 12) distinguished three dimensions of energy literacy: cognitive, affective (attitudes, values) and behavioural (including predispositions to behave). The cognitive element embraces contents knowledge on energy and cognitive skills. The affective element implies positive energy–related attitudes, which would allow reducing environmental impacts related to energy use, economic responsibility for using renewable resources. The behavioural component of energy literacy deals with energy-saving habits, energy-consumption patterns.

Energy Geography in the Curriculum of the Future and Survival

Many topics of energy geography are associated with environmental issues and could be transformed into education for sustainability in the geography curriculum. Authors analysing the new role of school geography call the geography “a world subject”, the “curriculum of survival” and the “curriculum of the future” (Lambert, 2013, Butt, 2011). Geography is a discipline that allows us understanding the nature of globalisation, how globalisation works and what challenges and problems it creates. Geography can become a kind of an educational response to the contemporary economic and environmental crises: the global financial turmoil, the global climate change.

In contemporary geography curriculum, matters of energy are discussed in relation to global climate change by teaching about the necessity of a larger societal transition away from fossil fuels and alternative energy resources, i.e., renewable energy technologies (Thoyre & Harrison, 2016). Concerns about the environmental and economic sustainability of fossil fuel and nuclear power, energy-related environmental impacts are raised. This kind of education for sustainability seeks to educate and socialise new citizens, consumers and policymakers who become advocates of alternative energy resources. “Energy is an excellent vehicle for thinking about sustainability issues since it is imbricated in so many current environmental problems at multiple scales: climate change, air and water pollution, overconsumption, geopolitics, among others” ←317 | 318→(Ibid., p. 33). A field of geography, “energy geography”, is the “the study of energy development, transportation, markets, or use of patterns and their determinants from a spatial, regional, or resource management perspective” (Calvert, 2016, p. 104). Energy geography conceptualises energy as a social relation, and the energy mediates the human–environment relationship.

At the research level, the energy geography includes the following tasks: monitoring energy supply-chain developments; identifying place-based factors which explained observed spatial patterns of energy-sector investment; assessing environmental and economic risk, especially in the context of large-scale nuclear energy development; understanding how energy technology diffuses within and between nations; and mapping regional variations in energy production, distribution and use (Calvert, 2016). “Core topics of energy geography have traditionally included resource development, power-plant siting, land use, environmental impact assessment, energy distribution, and transport, spatial patterns of consumption, and diffusion of conservation technologies” (Solomon et al., 2004, p. 302).

Authors analysing the role of geography with its focus on globalisation (Butt, 2011) note that geography no longer emphasises geopolitics; it refers to the geo-economy as a way of revealing how global capitalism crosses borders of national and local economies. Therefore, geography allows going deeper into globalisation and patterns of global interconnectedness and interdependence. “A balanced view of globalisation must be attempted by curriculum makers, one of which takes account of its costs (for some) – unemployment, pollution, cultural change, loss of environment, resources and habitats, and poverty; but also its benefits (for others) – increasing employment opportunities, economic growth, greater exchange of goods and services, raising incomes and facilitating better access to products, services and cultures. The significance of identifying globalisation’s ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, and their uneven spatial distribution, is of profound interest to geographers and geography educators.” (Ibid., p. 434).

Geography, with its new focus on an analysis of global interconnectedness, turns into a discipline of cognition and potential criticism of global capitalism. Geography searches for answers to questions of how global capitalism creates inequalities, who are winners and losers of global capitalism, and how uneven spatial distribution works (Butt, 2011). Criticism of global capitalism in geography reveals general features of critical geography aiming to delineate power relations and inequalities which are produced by an uneven distribution of political, economic and social power.

At the same time, it should be noted that geography as the main school subject dealing with the understanding of globalisation in the realm of energy ←318 | 319→geography at school and in university is interconnecting and intertwined with economic geography. Energy is an important resource of economic activities and, at the same time, the energy industry is an important branch of the world and national economies. In terms of this perspective of political economy and economy geography, long-term supply and demand, regulation and pricing of energy resources are analysed.

The Changing Energy Landscape as the Main Concept of Energy Geography

Energy geography as an area of scholarship analyses the shifting of global energy landscapes with socio-technical (energy) transitions, spatial differentiation and territorially networked power relations (Bouzarovski, 2009). Such a definition would make it possible to attribute this geography to critical economic geography which analyses how political and economic power works and how power is distributed among power centres. The post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are considered as a specific energy landscape with the emergent “geographies” of energy reforms (Bouzarovski, 2009). These countries have been reforming their energy industries away from the legacies of the planned economy inherited from Communism towards a market-based energy regulation.

The authors analysing energy landscapes and their transitions (Dahlmann et al., 2017) focus on European Union energy policy processes which are aimed at the establishment of a single market for energy and the integration of renewables. Dahlmann et al. (2017) distinguish the following processes in EU24 countries between 1996 and 2013: an increase of the capacity for generating capacity (except for the Baltic region where a decline in the installed capacity is observed). In Lithuania, the energy landscape changed with the closure of nuclear power as a branch of the economy. Analysing the energy landscape of CEE, Bouzarovski (2009) provides data on the share of hydropower and nuclear energy in the total generating capacity of CEE states in 2005 (based on the data compiled from the US Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency, and Austrian Energy Agency). At that time, a share of nuclear-generating capacity in Lithuania was more than 50 per cent. Since 2004, the first INPP reactor has been shut down; since 2009, the second reactor was closed.

Correspondingly, the energy sources in Lithuania are changing, and there is a decline in installed capacity. Other important changes in the energy landscapes in EU24 countries between 1996 and 2013: changes in patterns of fuel mixes ←319 | 320→and capacity ownership (decreasing ownership concentration and a general increase in a number of (new) owners – operators). At the same time, the Baltic region is recognised as an “energy island” in Europe with a high degree of concentration of ownership and clear path dependence due to the Soviet legacy (it is a former part of the Soviet Union’s energy system) and geographically peripheral location (Dahlmann et al., 2017). In 2017, the share of renewable energy in Lithuania was 25.83 per cent. This progress in the development of renewables is partly explained by the attempt to offset the overall decrease in generating capacity related to the closure of nuclear power.

The place of nuclear energy in geography curriculum. The topic of the use of nuclear energy in the context of geography is related to the topic of education for sustainability and the global impact of the earth as well as the health and life of all humanity. Looking at the use of nuclear energy as a global phenomenon with consequences and potential harm for the environment, it is important to raise questions about the environmental impact of using nuclear energy for energy which is one of the cleaner technologies (in terms of CO2), but the potential insecurity of the nuclear technologies and spent radioactive fuel are causing real and potentially severe damage to nature and humanity (catastrophes and disasters). As demonstrated by the Chernobyl accident, damage for nature and people has been done in both local and global contexts. These accidents and disasters as well as their negative effects create global interconnectedness. Potential harm and damage are enormous; their negative impact is hardly assessable now and in the future.

When interpreting nuclear energy as a domain of energy geography, it is important to recognise the use of nuclear energy in the global geo-economy and geopolitics. It is important to recognise how the entire global infrastructure of nuclear power is built, what countries and energy networks participate in and develop the nuclear power industry, what is an economic model of their operation and what are their geo-economic and geo-political interests. It is also important to recognise how the use of nuclear energy is incorporated into a general picture of the common energy infrastructure of countries and regions.

Energy-related topics are analysed and taught from the perspectives of critical geography. Scholars analysing energy from the point of view of critical theory highlight issues of inequality, social and environmental injustice, implications of different energy regimes for communities who have differing amounts of power in larger political economic and social systems, energy vulnerability and resilience, and the energetic political economies of power and control (Thoyre & Harrison, 2016). A critical approach to the analysis of the energy reveals the regional spatial inequalities associated with a social “energy ←320 | 321→divide” (Bouzarovski & Herrero, 2017). Energy poverty is related to deprivation and vulnerability which is experienced by citizens being unable to meet their basic domestic and household energy needs. While analysing regional inequalities in EU member countries, Lithuania together with other post-Communist states of the CEE are described as countries with the highest energy poverty levels and vulnerability of citizens in the European Union.

A New Pedagogy and Active Methods in Addressing Pedagogical Challenges and Overcoming Difficulties in Teaching Energy Geographies

Teaching energy geography is mentioned in the literature as a topic that poses a number of pedagogical challenges and difficulties (Huber, 2016). On the one hand, the subject itself is difficult due to the complexity of energy systems. Students experience a wide range of negative feelings: emotional distress, frustration, apathy, confusion, hostile defensiveness. Therefore, there is a need for effective pedagogical approaches when teaching energy geography. The search for new pedagogical approaches in energy geography is relevant to the whole subject of geography.

When discussing new trends, the need to include a new pedagogy, i.e., to build on the constructivist approach, when students construct knowledge in contexts that are meaningful to them, integrate active learning strategies, apply problem-based and inquiry-based learning, fieldwork and, at the same time, integrate new technologies in geography: digital data and imagery, new media, is emphasised (Day, 2012). On the one hand, referring to a cognitive constructivism approach, it is important to take into account the processes of constructing knowledge through accommodation and assimilation of new knowledge. Other forms of constructivism: social and pragmatic constructivism, where knowledge is constructed in interaction with other social actors (teachers, other students, community members) and in solving practical problems that are relevant to the learner, the community and society (a pragmatic approach), are also important. Although these new changes are discussed in the undergraduate teaching of physical geography, they are also important in school geography.

The constructivist approach emphasises the responsibility of learners for their learning, adjustment of learning to learners’ backgrounds, skills and aspirations, collaboration among learners. Unlike passive learning, when students learn theory and learn from textbooks and examples, active learning, “learning by doing” as an inductive approach provides students with field ←321 | 322→examples, case studies or problems and it embraces classroom assignments, fieldwork and laboratory measurements, group work and student self-assessment and peer teaching. While traditional learning methods (learning in the classroom, from textbooks) are important, the following learning strategies are very useful for applying active learning in geography: problem-based (PBL), inquiry-based (IBL), experiential and service-learning (SL) through community engagement, fieldwork when the “real world” environment outside the classroom becomes a learning resource (Day, 2012).

One more important strategy of the constructivist approach to facilitate learning energy geography is a context-based approach. This concept is applied broadly in science education when one can apply scientific knowledge to the personal, social and global problems they encounter as citizens, when students can confront socio-scientific issues and when learning is based on real-world problems with an emphasis on interdisciplinary connections, where applications of science provide starting points for developing scientific ideas (Dori et al., 2018). Thus, the content of learning should be related directly to some personal or social aspect of the students’ lives and represent authentic relevant issues. Students learn about certain phenomena in a specific context which covers societal, industrial and ethical aspects, people’s activities and life within a community or society (ibid). According to Gilbert (2006), a context is considered as reciprocity between concepts and applications and as the social circumstances. The author distinguished four attributes of an educational context: (a) a setting, a social, spatial and temporal framework within which mental encounters with focal events are situated; (b) a behavioural environment of the encounters, the way that the task(s), related to the focal event, have been addressed is used to frame the talk that then takes place; (c) the use of a specific language, as the talk associated with the focal event that takes place; (d) a relationship to extra-situational background knowledge. The context-based approach includes “situated learning” which creates a suitable physical, social and psychological environment (Gilbert et al., 2011).

Fieldwork acquires new significance when studying the environment and when learning activities are set up outside the classroom and held in the real world. The fieldwork creates an opportunity to put theory into context. This learning strategy allows combining constructivist learning (where knowledge is constructed in real-life settings) with elements of cognitive, affective and behaviour-based learning, and experiential learning by acting and reflecting on everyday experience. Van der Horst et al. (2016) describe the experience of building energy literacy by applying fieldwork through a combination of active learning, smart meter technologies and reflection. Students asses their ←322 | 323→domestic energy use and consumption in “the field” – they monitor how electricity is used in their own homes. The fieldwork is mediated through the use of technology monitoring the consumption of electricity.

Day (2012) states that all these strategies of active learning lead to the development of various competencies: general skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and subject-specific skills, such as spatial thinking, use of GIS (Geographic Information System), cartography and field methods. New approaches in teaching geography are related to IT (Information Technologies) integration: besides textbooks, electronic media and online materials, digital data, analysis software GIS and remote sensing data are increasingly used. At the same time, the role of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) is growing.

To overcome the learning difficulties of this subject, teachers seek to connect the everyday-ness of energy to both key concepts in geography and political questions outside the classroom (Huber, 2016). Additionally, the teaching of topics in energy geography involves the use of active methods and new pedagogy approaches applied in geography didactics.

Many energy geographers underline the general principles of constructivist and social justice perspectives in class on energy geography and highlight the use of active learning approaches in teaching, emphasising critical thinking, reflection and transformation as a pedagogical goal (Thoyre & Harrison, 2016). As noted above, energy geography belongs to a critical area of geography where development of critical thinking skills is essential. At the same time, active learning is important. Learning by doing in energy geography courses – where students complete a course-length project in active learning environments – increases student’s motivation, opens the door for multiple learning styles, and enables linking theory with everyday life contexts. Through active experiential learning, students often link their experiences to the theory through reflection.

Thoyre and Harrison (2016) analyse the pedagogical experience of other authors in teaching energy geography and describe successful approaches and methods. Project-based learning activities seem to be a very promising pedagogical approach. The authors mention the work of Graybill (2016), which describes how university students are engaged in a semester-long video project on the topic of the Arctic and Urban Space. This pedagogical approach as a combination of energy geography and videography demonstrates good practice on how to employ digital technologies and digital storytelling in combination with time-intensive teamwork and work with new technologies and computer programs. According to Graybill (2016), this pedagogical practice has a dual purpose of encouraging students to become more critical consumers of knowledge production as well as providing them with a new way to create and ←323 | 324→disseminate knowledge in their futures beyond the classroom. It is achieved by engaging with multimedia knowledge on energy geographies using videography (p. 56). This videographic teaching module is an example of how to engage students and build their energy geography knowledge and skills in multimedia with the purpose of expanding the geographic knowledge for academic and non-academic audiences.

Bodzin et al. (2013) described the effectiveness of a geospatial curriculum approach to promote energy literacy at the middle level in the science education curriculum. The use of geospatial technologies (GT) as a learning technology with the focus on the concept of spatial nature of energy resources contributes to the development of knowledge on the acquisition of renewable and non-renewable resources, energy generation, storage and transport, and energy consumption and conservation. Energy, scientific and environmental literacy could be promoted by carrying out geospatial analysis and employing reasoning skills with integrating GT. The authors (Bodzin et al., 2013) delineate how GT tools (geographic information systems (GIS), virtual globes, such as Google Earth, Global Positioning System, and other related technologies) allow processing geospatial data into visualisations to facilitate problem-solving in energy learning activities. The GT could be effectively used while analysing the map view geo-referenced data locations of sustainable and non-renewable energy resource materials, proposed new power plant locations, the existing transportation infrastructure and environmental characteristics of an area. The use the GT enables students to learn about making informed decisions concerning energy resources to choose and decisions to make for a country on the supply of electricity.

Teaching About Nuclear Energy: Enhancing Energy Literacy and Scientific Literacy

Energy literacy is enhanced by energy education which is implemented in several school subjects: geography, physics, technologies and chemistry. Bartley et al. (2013) describe how energy is related to the building of multidimensional science literacy in the subject of physics. The development of these scientific and social competences is implemented through the integration of school subjects (including geography). The authors (Bartley et al., 2013) present a pedagogical scenario of lessons of physics on energy and discuss how learning about energy could be combined with building an understanding of how science and technologies influence society as well as with fostering citizenship skills. This case is an example of the development of multidimensional science literacy through ←324 | 325→library research, classroom debates and reading, synthesising, and reflecting on articles in class. Students were encouraged to work collaboratively, formulate, analyse and interpret ideas and data, to perform logical reasoning, to gather evidence. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher gives an introduction on basic understanding of energy concepts and initiates the discussion with students on different forms of energy, renewable and non-renewable energy, transformation and conservation of energy. The students are given texts for reading in class on different types of energy; they are invited to discuss the energy use in their country (the USA), the alternative, benefits and drawbacks to using other energy sources than the main source of energy (the oil). The students are invited to make library research on alternative energy resources and discuss the findings with other students. During the library research, the students learn about solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear energy. The students learn about the generating capacity of nuclear energy, the process of releasing nuclear energy from uranium, the nuclear fission, and the work of reactors and nuclear power plants.

Additionally, threats of nuclear energy to people and the environment are also exposed in the literature analysis. After the students carried out their research in the library, the teacher invites students to discuss the benefits and drawbacks to using each type of energy. The teacher gives students several resources on pro and con to the use of nuclear energy, the costs and benefits of nuclear energy.

Students read articles, discuss in groups the future of nuclear energy (majority of resources suggested by the teacher are devoted to the Fukushima disaster) and produce a poster. Later, students demonstrate their poster presentation in a poster gallery walk, discuss the future of nuclear energy and write a letter to a US Senator inviting to discourage the proliferation of nuclear energy. It is noteworthy that while developing scientific literacy the students improve their citizenship competences, literacy (writing skills) and general analytic skills, when students improve their ability to “examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content” (ibid).

Energy Literacy and Energy Issues in the National Curriculum of Geography in Lithuania

In the present section, the authors, grounding on the conducted scientific overview of literature on energy and energy literacy, analyse whether the competences and content formulated in the national geography curriculum ←325 | 326→represent topics on energy (also including nuclear energy issues) and are directed to develop energy literacy. Major documents regulating the national curriculum in Lithuania, specifically Lithuanian General Programmes of Primary and Basic Education. Social Education (2008) and General Programmes of Secondary Education: Social Education (2010), were chosen for the analysis. The competences sought to be developed throughout the subject of geography were analysed as well as their relation to the topic of energy and energy literacy were dealt with.

The concept of specific areas of activity in the formal national curriculum would mean that these areas of activity can be treated as parts of the geography competency (Tab. 1):

Tab. 1: Areas of activity forming parts of the geography competency in different stages of education

Basic education level (forms 6–10)

Secondary education level (forms 11–12)

Orientation in the area and map

Reading of geographical information

Cognition of a region

Cognition and investigation of environment

Orientation in the area and map

Analysis of natural and social processes

Geographical investigation

Besides identification of the areas of activity, the national curriculum on geography presents recommendations for the content, i.e., related topics. It is worth noting that quite common and broad topics are listed (e.g. “Energy Industry” and “Global Economy”); therefore, later (in the stage of development of the curriculum) other developers of the curriculum (authors of textbooks, teachers preparing and selecting materials, designing education plans in schools) may put a more specific content into the frameworks of these broadly formulated topics (in our case of analysis, topics on energy). Such a broad naming and definition of the topics at the stage of implementation of the curriculum basically allow and create preconditions for the analysis of energy and energy industry as the most important branch of global and national economy, in-depth explore political economy, economic and energy geography where energy is a mediator in the human–environment relationship. Grounding on the concept of energy geography proposed by Calvert (2016, p. 104), the context of energy can be incorporated into many thematic areas, for instance, energy development, transport systems, market economy, consumption models and their impact on environment, consumption of natural resources, etc.←326 | 327→

Seeking to reveal the theme of energy in the curriculum and to link it to the specific skills to be developed through it, the researchers revealed that the content of the competence and its levels were quite differently defined at different levels of the curriculum. The areas of activities are indicated in Lithuanian General Programmes (which later are divided into knowledge, skills and attitudes), what should be gained by school students learning geography; whereas topics linked to the mentioned parts of the geography competency are very broad and general. On the one hand, this allows teachers construct a particular content of their lessons which at that time seems relevant to them, by choosing materials from various sources (including media). Moreover, other means of implementation of the curriculum, school textbooks, provide materials which enable gaining skill set in the programmes. In this case, an assumption is drawn that quite extensive presentation of the energy-related topic in the national curriculum creates preconditions for development of energy literacy. Van der Horst et al. (2016) define energy literacy as abilities to make responsible decisions and take actions decreasing energy consumption at the personal (local) level; and, later on, this allows making energy-related decisions at the public (global) level, too. Grounding on the concept of energy literacy provided by DeWaters et al. (2013), geography curriculum allows perceiving the role of energy science and technologies at the national and global levels. It is underlined that the characteristics of energy literacy in the national curriculum are not specifically described and addressed.

To conduct the analysis of the evolution in the gaining of skills, the taxonomy by Bloom et al. ( 1956) and Anderson & Krathwohl (2001) defining the hierarchy of foreseen levels of learning skills has been employed This taxonomy was helpful in identifying how energy-related competencies of various complexity levels are introduced in different stages of education.

It is worth noting that DeWaters et al. (2013) pointed out the levels of energy literacy: cognitive, affective (attitudes, values) and behavioural (including predispositions to behave). The cognitive element embraces contents knowledge on energy and cognitive skills; the affective element implies positive energy-related attitudes, which would allow reducing environmental impacts related to energy consumption, economic responsibility for using renewable resources; and the behavioural element deals with energy-saving habits, energy consumption patterns.

When analysing the content of Lithuanian national geography education, the following questions were raised: is energy literacy sought to be developed? Are preconditions for application context-based approach in teaching about energy created and what contexts of energy consumption are defined by the ←327 | 328→national geography curriculum? How do these contexts of energy consumption lead to development of energy literacy in school students?

In terms of the area of activity “cognition of the regions” defining the geographical competency to be developed, there is an emphasis on the abilities to gain knowledge on geographical conditions of Lithuanian and world’s regions, specific characteristics of the spatial structure, phenomena and regularities of natural and social environment. In the case of programmes for forms 11–12, this competency is developed, which is completely natural, in comparison to lower forms; the content of it is broadened and it becomes more complex because the knowledge of social processes, besides knowledge on natural processes, is included in these higher stages of education. In such a way, the title of this area of activity for forms 11–12 is broadened and named “Analysis of Natural and Social Processes”; moreover, it indicates that these are the abilities to gain knowledge, analyse and assess geographical conditions of Lithuanian, European and world’s regions, specific characteristics of their spatial structure, phenomena and regularities of natural and societal environment.

The analysis of energy-related topics reveals a tendency of the move from a broad, more common definition of the content towards more specific forming of the content of a topic in the programmes, for instance, titles of topics in programmes for forms 5–6 underline that students must characterise continents only in general terms; whereas in senior forms more specific topics, such as characterisation of natural, economic features of specific regions and countries, characterisation of the reclaiming of natural resources (7–8 kl.), are introduced, which means that students will be acquainted with natural resources, including energy, of particular regions and countries, characteristics of the economy of countries will be analysed, and significance of energy for the economy and economics is mentioned.

When dealing with the topics for forms 11–12 in relation to the gaining of knowledge on regions as the area of activity, the situation is different because the topics are not linked to the abilities singed out in lower forms; they are rather linked to the areas of geography as a subject (natural geography, geographical cognition, social geography, regional geography); nevertheless, specific titles are found as well: “Impact of Economic Activity on Natural Environment”, “Major Indicators of Country’s Economy”, “Energy Industry”, “Industry”. On the one hand, these topics are quite common; however, they refer to specific contexts. In this case, it is likely that, for instance, when analysing the “Impact of Economic Activity on Natural Environment” in relation to the context of the energy investigated by us, students should learn what impact on present-day landscape is made by fossil fuel and electricity produced from it. Then, a ←328 | 329→currently criticised and highly relevant context in the world, the CO2 emission context, as a factor of global warming and climate change could emerge. Such approaches lead to the strategies of the decision-making mentioned by Van der Horst et al. (2016), such as renewable energy sources, other means of energy output (wind, sun, etc.), seeking to protect environment.

When analysing the area of activity “cognition of regions”, the authors of the research found out that the abilities listed in the general programmes, according to development of skills in various stages of learning, from form to form (from form 5 through 12), are characteristic of a specific consistency in compliance with the levels of cognitive cognition (from knowledge to evaluation) formulated in the taxonomy designed by Bloom et al. (1956), Anderson & Krathwohl (2001).

It should be noted that within this area of activity the national geography curriculum does not reflect the level of application at all, which is underlined in scientific literature on energy literacy (Van der Horst et al., 2016); no statements linking to the level of application were found neither in formulated skills nor in titles of topics (Tab. 2).

Statements of the level of synthesis dominate (there are 8 of them), and slightly less are connected to the level of analysis (6). Relating to the theme of energy under investigation and development of energy literacy, an assumption that in the context of cognition of regions students should recognise and compare characteristics of regions in relation to energy resources, energy production, structure of economy, etc. can be drawn. However, the level of application of energy-related decisions is not reflected; therefore, a certain mismatch with the consistency in competence development is observed in this case, and there doubts on whether students are provided with opportunities to gain practical energy-related skills occur.

The analysis of the consistency in gaining the skills according to separate stages of education reveals that forms 5–6 emphasise the level of understanding because it is sufficient for students to define only several characteristic features of the continents. The description of students’ skills in the framework of the national geography curriculum graduating from form 8 could be attributed to the levels of analysis and synthesis in compliance with the Bloom’s taxonomy, since it is projected that students will be able to single out, compare characteristic features of separate regions. In this case, it is worth noting that the described skills were attributed to the higher level of synthesis because students learn about continents, separate regions, countries and diversity of their characteristic features exactly in this stage.←329 | 330→

At graduation from form 10, similarly to form 9, the level of synthesis prevails (Tab. 2), since students must be able to substantiate similarities and differences of separate regions. Moreover, description of the assessment stage can be found in formulation of the topics “Find out and assess the most important political and economic alliances”. In the case of forms 11–12, formulations attributed to higher levels, i.e., synthesis, analysis and assessment, dominate (Tab. 2); students achieve the highest level of cognitive skills formulated by Bloom et al. (1956) because they must be able to point out and assess characteristics and features of different regions; and, in relation to the theme of energy, the equivalents reflecting the said in the statements found in formulations of skills and topics were sought for.

Tab. 2: Consistency in the gaining of skills and interaction of topics characterising the activity of “Cognition of Regions” in general programmes

Levels of

Forms 5–6

Forms 7–8

Forms 9–10

Forms 11–12

cognitive skills

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Evaluation

1

1

1

Synthesis

2

1

2

1

1

1

Analysis

1

1

1

2

1

Application

Comprehension

1

1

2

Knowledge

1

1

1

To sum up, the gaining of the skills defining the activity of cognition of regions is characteristic of consistency because formulation of skills and topics become more complex in compliance with the stages of learning. However, the level of application is not fulfilled throughout the entire period of learning.

The theme of energy and energy literacy is not mentioned in the wording of the skills; nevertheless, the formulations of skills, such as cognition of geographical conditions in Lithuania and the world, phenomena and regularities of natural and social environment, geographical conditions, etc., allow integrating topics on energy resources, energy economy and economy, as well as developing energy literacy at the stage of implementation of the curriculum.

When analysing the area of activity “reading of geographical information”, the researchers found out that it was defined by the following skills: reading, analysis, perception, critical assessment and interpretation of sources of geographical information, rendering of geographical information in written, visual and audial forms. It should be noted that this area is named only at the level of ←330 | 331→basic education (forms 5–10). Consistency in the gaining of skills in this area is quite interesting because major “load” is allocated to the topics formulated in the programmes for forms 9–10 (Tab. 3), where 15 topics relate to the context of energy. Formulation of topics reflecting the theme of energy covers almost all taxonomy levels, except for knowledge.

However, when comparing the interactions of topics and skills named in the programmes, it is observed that there are less skills formulated in this stage of learning, 4; and all these are linked to higher levels – synthesis and assessment (Tab. 3). When reading the programme for forms 9–10 and relating it not only to the theme of energy, it was observed that there were many topics; therefore, questions on whether such structure of the curriculum allowed achieving the anticipated levels of skills arose.

In general, when dealing with the common consistency in the gaining of skills related to the activity “reading of geographical information”, it was observed that the levels of knowledge and application were reflected the least (Tab. 3), the levels of understanding (9 statements) and synthesis (11 statements) were reflected the most, which shows insufficiency of the development of application skills.

When analysing how the skills of reading geographical information are defined in the national curriculum, referring to the taxonomy levels formulated by Bloom et al. (1956) in separate stages of learning according to forms, the authors of the research point out that in this case the beginning is the level of knowledge which is recognised in the phrasing of topics; and, in relation to the development of the skill, there is a transition to the levels of comprehension and application because students graduating from form 6 must be able to recognise, use sources and information available in them. When relating to the context of energy, it could be foreseen that students will properly comprehend information on energy which is presented in various contexts or will be able to choose required texts and information available in them. Referring to the definition of energy literacy introduced by DeWaters et al. (2013), it should be understood as perception of the energy science and technologies as well as the role of their distribution at the national and global levels, how students gain knowledge on the content of energy.

The national curriculum of geography foresees that students at graduation from form 8 achieve the levels of analysis and synthesis. However, it was observed that at this stage of learning any topic related to energy (Tab. 3) could not be pointed out. It foresees that students must be able to select sources, to properly use and compare them, to analyse phenomena and processes while grounding on them and to properly generalise and render information. It is ←331 | 332→likely that when realising these objectives at the level of implementation of the curriculum (which would be a decision of the authors of textbooks or a teacher himself/herself), students could compare information on energy presented in different sources. In such case, this would be an element of energy literacy, as pointed out by DeWaters et al. (2013), the definition of dimensions which is again only information on energy selected and systematised by students.

The level of basic education ends with achieving the highest level of cognitive knowledge, assessment and evaluation, because here it defines that students should be able to select trustworthy sources and analyse, assess and render a situation of natural, social, economic and political phenomena in various regions grounding on them. It is likely that during the processes of learning students will be able to assess the influence of various energy-related contexts on different regions and their economy or development of economy. Assessment of reliability of information is treated by various authors as a feature to be developed.

When analysing topics which are formed in general programmes, the authors of the research reveal that the skills of reading geographical information are gained when following certain consistency: from a specific context, e.g. “Natural Resources and Consumption of Them”, to a quite broad and complex one, such as “Dependence of People’s Economic Activities on Historical (Formation of Civilisations) and Natural (Water, Climate, Minerals, Soil, Relief) Conditions of Environment”, which also complies with the development of skills according to Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive skills, even though, as mentioned earlier, there is lack of consistency (Tab. 3).

Tab. 3: Consistency in the gaining of skills and interaction of topics characterising the activity of “reading of geographical information” in general programmes

Levels of cognitive

Forms 5–6

Forms 7–8

Forms 9–10

Skills

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Evaluation

1

2

Synthesis

3

3

5

Analysis

2

2

2

Application

1

2

Comprehension

1

1

2

4

Knowledge

1

Relating to the context of energy under analysis, the description of the national curriculum includes specific statements or groups of statements to be ←332 | 333→related to energy, sources of energy, and influence of energy on environment or people’s lives. In this case, it can be anticipated that the above mentioned levels of energy literacy pointed out by DeWaters et al. (2013), cognitive, affective and behavioural, will be recognised, since diversity of topics and the skills listed in the programmes are related to all taxonomy levels.

In lower forms (forms 5–6), topics “People’s Activities” and “Natural Resources and Consumption of Them” are suggested; they would meet the theme of energy. As observed, they do not name the theme of energy; nevertheless, it is likely that, within the topic “People’s Activities”, a more specific topic could be projected: introduction of economy activities of residents, which would cover the concept of energy economy, too. The second topic is more concrete: “Natural Resources and Consumption of Them”; its formulation clearly supposes that it projects introduction of natural resources, including energy.

In this context, it can be related to the cognitive level of energy literacy, as pointed out by DeWaters et al. (2013), because students gain specific knowledge on energy resources, reclaiming of them, production and consumption of energy.

There are five topics related to the context of energy found in forms 7–8, including two topics related to natural resources (“Urbanisation of Territories Depending on Natural (Relief, Climate, Soils), Economic (Natural Resources, Location of Industry), Social Conditions” and “Opportunities for Using Natural Resources (Renewable and Non-renewable Resources)”; three topics are related to economic activities of people (“Geography of Economy”, “Dependence of People’s Economic Activities on Historical (Formation of Civilisations) and Natural (Water, Climate, Minerals, Soil, Relief) Conditions of Environment”, “Major Parts of the Global Economy Structure (Bioproduction Economy, Industry and Services)”. From the point of view of definition of the dimensions of energy literacy (DeWaters et al., 2013), such phrasing of topics would cover the cognitive and affective levels because students gain and deepen knowledge on energy, energy economy and find out the dependence of people’s economic activities on conditions of natural environment. In its turn, this supposes particular formation of attitudes and values because elements protecting environment should be identified and analysed.

In the scope of programmes for forms 9–10, even 15 topics which could be related to the context of energy were singled out. It is interesting to note that at this stage of education only one topic, as indicated in forms 7–8, should deal with natural resources and sustainable consumption of them (“Rational Consumption of Natural Resources and Importance of Protection of Biological Diversity”), whereas all other topics are related to the concept of economy and economics, ←333 | 334→and only one of them clearly indicates the topic of energy (“The Most Important Branches of Economy (Fuel and Energy, Metallurgy, Production of Machinery, Chemistry, etc.) and the Regions of Their Distribution in the World”); in cases of all others, the theme of energy is seemingly “hidden”. Nevertheless, it can be considered that the theme of energy may be integrated, for instance, in the topic “Influence of People’s Economic Activities (and What) on [Natural] Change”, could project a theme on how the industry of economy changes nature; within the topic “Global Economy” and “Scheme of Production Links of Economy Branches”, “The Most Important Provided Services – Production and Non-production (Social)” may project the theme of what place is taken by energy in the global economy structure and what are its relations to other branches of economy; in the topic “Situation of Lithuania in the Common System of Global Economy” one may recognise a likely projected theme of how this situation is determined by the economy sector; the topic “Economy Resources in Lithuania and the World (Natural: Flora, Fauna, Water, Earth – Its Surface and Depth; Man-Made: Work, Finances, Information, Capital)” implies a smaller topic of what energy resources created by man are; the topic “Influence of Industry on Environment (Pollution, Changing of Landscape)” has a smaller topic on what kind of effect is made on environment by mining of natural energy resources and production of energy.

When relating topics for forms 9–10 to manifestation of the dimensions of energy literacy (DeWaters et al., 2013), it can be stated that the abundance and diversity of topics presented in the general programmes completely reflect all three levels of energy literacy: cognitive, affective and behavioural. For instance, students already get acquainted with energy as a branch of industry – the concept is introduced (cognitive level); a topic on the influence of people’s economic activities on environment (influence of energy industry on environment can be analysed in this case) – would meet the affective level because it leads to the formation of positive attitudes; and a topic “Influence of Industry on Environment (Pollution, Changing of Landscape)” should already clearly allow forming habits, models of energy consumption, which is related to the behavioural level (according to DeWaters et al., 2013).

To sum up the situation of gaining the skills related to the activity of reading of geographical information and linking it to the development of energy literacy in general programmes, it can be stated that the systematic approach is applied in the national formal curriculum, since, first of all, it recognised that students must obtain sufficiently consistent information on energy, its sources. Formulation of the skills-to-be-gained is quite consistent, encompasses higher levels of thinking, and the thematic development of the energy theme proceeds ←334 | 335→from specific topics to factual material moving towards a broader and deeper context. Linking to the concept of energy literacy, as defined by DeWaters et al. (2013), it is observed that the formal curriculum foresees development of competences in consistency because when starting from lower forms (forms 5–6) the cognitive dimension prevails; later, the cognitive dimension intertwines with the affective one; and in forms 9–10 all three dimensions (cognitive–affective–behavioural) are recognised. It can be stated that in the national educational content the characteristics of the activity of reading geographical information reveals preconditions to form skills of energy literacy.

The activity area “orientation in the area and map” at the stage of basic education (forms 5–10) is defined as skills to orient oneself in a geographical area, plans and maps of a location, to understand the objects existing in them; whereas the skills for secondary education (forms 11–12) are orientation in a diverse geographical area (local, regional and global) and cartographic drawings, to understand the objects situated there.

Having analysed the skills and consistency in gaining them in the activity of orientation in the area and map, a particular controversy is observed in this case, since basically throughout the entire period of learning, from forms 5 through 12, formulations of the skills in the area encompass a prevailing level of application; the transition from this level to one higher level, that of analysis is found (Tab. 4).

The topic “Maps and Plan” and learning how to use them dominate throughout the entire period of learning. This situation is illustrated by the statements underlining that students, after graduating from form 6, must be able to distinguish a plan from a map, to be able to orient in a specific location; when graduating from form 8, students must be able to use plans and maps to orient in a local or global area. Perhaps, the context slightly broadens by introducing a global and a local area; however, the emphasis on the use of plans and map remains. After graduation from form 10, the emphasis on the use of plans and maps remains, only with added one more contextual element, i.e. characterisation of natural, economic and political geographical position of objects, which in the terms of activity can be attributed to the level of comprehension because, in the aspect of complexity, students do not do anything new, only the content is supplemented. In form 12, the definition of the competency of orientation in the area and map is supplemented with the necessity for students to be able to find relations among objects in various geographical sites (local, regional, global).

The researchers draw an assumption that such approaches for formulation of the skills of “orientation in the area and map” may partly comply with the ←335 | 336→concept of energy geography introduced by Calvert (2016, p. 104) who has it that this is teaching on energy development, transmission, markets, consumption models and their impact on area, region or prospects of resource management. And, as Calvert (2016) adds to it, energy geography encompasses the following tasks: development of energy supply chains, identification of sites and models where investment proceeds; assessment of equipment risks on economy and environment, especially in the context of nuclear energy development; perception of how energy technologies develop among countries; and comprehension of a map, how energy is consumed in different regions and countries (production, trade etc.) (Calvert, 2016). Thus, in this case, activity of orientation in area and map grounding on the concept of energy geography can be perceived in a way so that the use of a map in processes of learning can and must lead to perception of a complex concept of energy, when not only recognition of objects depicted on a map takes place but, on the contrary, construction of maps according to various parameters (e.g. prediction of possibilities for various models in different locations and regions) which would allow students perceive energy as a complex phenomenon takes place.

Tab. 4: Consistency in the gaining of skills and interaction of topics characterising the activity of “orientation in the area and map” in general programmes

Levels of

Forms 5–6

Forms 7–8

Forms 9–10

Forms 11–12

cognitive skills

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Evaluation

Synthesis

Analysis

1

1

1

1

Application

2

2

2

1

2

2

1

Comprehension

Knowledge

1

Summing up, from the point of view of the definition of the competence of orientation in the area and map, it is obvious that the dominating emphasis is laid on the reading of maps and plans, finding of objects in them and revealing of their interrelations. It should be noted that, in relation to the context of energy throughout the entire period of delivery of the geography as a subject from form 5 through 12, the taxonomy levels of synthesis and assessment are not covered at all.

Then, it becomes interesting which topics lead to achieving this and how this can be linked to a chosen theme of energy. In general, in form 12, at graduation ←336 | 337→from school, students achieve the analytical level of orienting in the area and map at least.

Thus, to sum up, consistency of the gaining of skills characterising the area of activity orientation in the area and map in Lithuanian general education programmes is not at its strongest, since the relation of these skills to higher levels of thinking raise doubts. Nevertheless, the authors had some doubts about whether the analytical level is really achieved at least or it remains at the level of application only. If we compare with a tendency that there were not many topics related to energy and activities of orientation in the area and maps (in comparison to topics covering other competences), there are only 15 topics in total in forms from 5 through 10. As it was mentioned, a major theme from form 5 through 12 focuses on maps and their diversity, explanation of the structure of a map. The authors did not find any direct relation to energy in the programmes; nevertheless, there is a topic in the programme for forms 9–10 which could be named as “identification of natural, economic and political geographical position of objects”, and it is likely that, when analysing the content and structure of maps, energy objects will also be recognised: distribution of energy resources, energy enterprises, etc. In programmes for forms 11–12, this theme is slightly extended by emphasising that specific areas of cognition will be explained while orienting in map: environment, territory, region and world, which basically “brings down” to the level of comprehension and raises doubts whether this is true.

Having revealed the topics at the energy literacy levels defined by DeWaters et al. (2013), it becomes clear that in this case the focus is only on the cognitive level because these topics pointed out, e.g., energy resources and their distribution (forms 11–12), very clearly allow understanding that students will gain the content of specific knowledge on energy resources. If assessed as a stage of secondary education, it would be too low to achieve this cognitive level only. However, when relating it to the definition of energy geography, as introduced by Calvert (2016), perhaps an assumption could be drawn that such format of presentation of skills and topics exactly allows forming a specific perception of energy; therefore, in this case, the analysis of teaching materials proves it is necessary.

The skills defining the area of activity “cognition and investigation of environment” at the stage of the forms 6–10 are presented as skills to carry out geographical observation and investigation of environment, to formulate hypotheses, collect data, conduct various measurements and calculations, search for solution ways, draw conclusions and assess obtained results. In forms 11–12, the name of the area of activity is made slightly more specific, ←337 | 338→geographical investigations”, and the skills named at the lower stage are extended by adding application of methods for cognition of geographical area and theoretical-practical modelling of situations.

Assessment of consistency of the stages of competences in terms of the Bloom’s taxonomy reveals specific regression of skills (Tab. 5). If in basic education proceeding from form 5 through 10 the gaining of skills is characteristic of specific consistency, starting with skills of comprehension in form 5 and ending with evaluation in form 10, then at the stage of forms 11–12, it seems, there is regression because formulation of the skills reveal the levels of application and analysis (Tab. 5); and comparison of the topics revealed that the disclosing of the energy-related content would proceed at the levels of comprehension and analysis (skipping application).

The research reveals that formulation of the research competence is the most poorly expressed in the formal curriculum. What is the proof of it? First, skills of investigation should relate to higher levels of thinking – analysis, synthesis, assessment; however, while observing the formulation of skills or topics helping gain them within the programmes it was observed that, for instance, skills corresponding to the level of synthesis and assessment are named only in the programme for forms 9–10 (synthesis: “to render obtained results to others in various forms”, evaluation: “to explain advantages and disadvantages of the conducted investigation, to feel responsibility for the results of the work carried out”). The formulation of these skills is not related to the subject of geography or a particular context under analysis; these are more statements naming general processes of investigation: rendering of results, explanation of the research results; or definition of value attitudes: demonstration of the sense of responsibility. These general skills do not reflect any specific (related to the subject of geography) content of investigation.

Perhaps, there could be a logical explanation to it: the gaining of the competence of cognition and investigation of the environment is defined at the taxonomy level of application because research is basically a practical work; however, there is lack of skills forming higher-level thinking.

Tab. 5: Consistency in the gaining of skills and interaction of topics characterising the activity of “cognition and investigation of environment” in general programmes

Levels of

Forms 5–6

Forms 7–8

Forms 9–10

Forms 11–12

cognitive skills

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Skill

Topics

Evaluation

1

Synthesis

1

Analysis

1

1

1

1

1

Application

1

1

2

1

2

3

1

Comprehension

1

1

1

2

Knowledge

Searching for connections between formulated skills to be gained and energy, it is observed that the theme of investigation is defined quite broadly, and it encompasses and could basically cover the theme of energy, too. Major topics which may relate to energy are the dominant economic aspects, e.g., “students are taught how to carry out investigation (e.g. maps; climatic zone and type; inland waters; states according to social economic indicators) and to write a result of it” (forms 7–8), “using sources of geographical information, students learn to carry out natural, social and economic investigations, to solve ←338 | 339→problems, draw conclusions” (forms 9–10); “to characterise world’s regional and specific principles (historical, natural, social, economic, political)” (forms 11–12). These examples demonstrate how investigation linked to energy could or should be oriented to quite a broad context: revealing of natural, social, economic aspects. The emphasis on the economic aspect within the energy literacy would enable, for instance, carrying out research on energy consumption in various countries and on its impact on economy etc.; however, on the other hand, if the economic aspect was dealt with only, this would narrow down the revealing of the concept of energy, since the context of energy, if assessed from the point of view of energy literacy, focuses on a much broader scope: includes energy production, environmental protection, spheres of social relations, geopolitics, geoeconomics, etc. If such specificity of revealing topics was followed, this would allow substantiating the revealing geography through its role for the future and survival, as proposed by Butt (2011) and Lambert (2013) investigating it as the geography like “a world subject”, “curriculum of survival” and the “curriculum of the future”. In this case, analysing the topics singled out in the formal national curriculum, the authors draw assumptions that, within the process of learning (at the stage of implementation of the curriculum), the concept of the nature of globalisation, how globalisation proceeds and what challenges and problems it creates should be emphasised. The context of energy could be analysed as the most important resource of economy, and, at the same time, reveal and investigate the industry of energy as the most important branch of global and national economy. In such a way, a necessity to analyse political economy and economy geography arises.

It should be noted that the wording of themes in the national formal curriculum is quite broad, and this creates some flexibility and an opportunity to ←339 | 340→integrate various topics, since a teacher has got sufficient freedom to put specific content into broader topics, e.g., the programme for the forms 7–8 includes the formulated topic where “students are taught to search for connections among constituent parts of the natural and social environment, to identify regional differences of them, to explain what causes determine these differences, to draw conclusions”; allows a teacher choose any context for the research work, for instance, branches of industry, and, referring to them, project the process of teaching and learning. Then, in relation to the dimensions of energy literacy (DeWaters et al., 2013), the processes of learning could link to the behavioural level, when habits of specific energy consumption and saving, models of energy consumption, etc. are being developed; implementation of the opportunities is plausible in compliance with formulation of the topics.

To sum up all skills and topics named in the national curriculum that could be related to the theme of energy and to that of how the formulation of competencies comply with the taxonomy levels pointed out by Bloom et al. (1956) and Anderson & Krathwohl (2001) it was found that in a chosen theme and areas of activities (reading of geographical information, cognition of regions, orientation in the area and map, cognition and investigation of environment) the taxonomy level of application prevailed. Nevertheless, the striving to single out and formulate higher levels, i.e., those of analysis and synthesis, is observed. Therefore, assumptions can be drawn that, in terms of description of the national curriculum, the theme of energy has potential and opportunity to be introduced and revealed within the stage of implementation of the curriculum.

If analysed in terms of separate stages of learning (from form 5 through 12), the theme of energy would be rendered the most consistently and appropriately in terms of topics in forms 7–8 and 9–10. When exploring how basic skills-to-be-developed in the educational content are formulated, a tendency that even though energy literacy is not named, still preconditions for the development of the dimensions of energy literacy (cognitive, affective and behavioural (DeWaters et al., 2013)) are created, is revealed. A systematic approach is observed in the description of the national curriculum, which enables forming skills in a chosen area because consistent transition from concrete gaining of the content of knowledge to formation of attitudes and behaviour is observed. However, seeking to completely reveal how energy literacy is developed through the school curriculum, not only national formal curriculum but also the stage of implementation of that curriculum, i.e., teaching materials, textbooks, survey of teachers and deeper investigation of the process of learning, should be analysed.←340 | 341→

Even though the development of energy literacy in the content of Lithuanian education is not presented or specifically defined, still the description of the national curriculum renders a broad general characterisation of the theme and competencies which allow teachers choose and formulate specific topics which can be related to relevant issues, including energy.

The Concept of Nuclear Energy in Lithuanian Textbooks on Geography

The analysis of texts on nuclear energy in the textbooks seeks to identify the connection of textbook materials on nuclear energy to geographical skills and competences pointed out in comprehensive programmes and how it combines with the taxonomy levels of competences. Moreover, analysis of textbooks grounds on the concept of energy literacy and aims at finding out how the theme of nuclear energy reveals the aims of energy literacy, which, according to Flower (1976, cit. DeWaters et al. (2013)), encompasses the ability to make decisions at an individual and societal levels. In this case, it evaluates how the presentation of the nuclear energy concept in textbooks forms students’ knowledge and attitudes about significance, role and impact of this type of energy at global, local and personal levels.

Referring to the energy literacy concept, school students should be able to assess significance of nuclear energy and its impact on their personal lives, living in immediate environment and global world. In such a case, grounding on statements of Van der Horst et al. (2016), characterising an energy-literate citizen, the concept of nuclear energy in geography curriculum and textbooks must be related to the goal to develop skills of decision-making at personal, regional, nationa and, global levels, which would mean that school students should gain knowledge on the impact of nuclear energy and could assess it as well as search for various decisions connected to consumption/non-consumption at various levels and in various contexts of social life. The conducted analysis of texts on nuclear energy in geography textbooks refers to the concept underlying energy development, transportation, markets or use patterns and their determinants from a spatial, regional or resource management perspective (Calvert, 2016, p. 104). Energy geography conceptualises energy as a social relation, and the energy mediates human–environment relationship. Authors investigating energy geography (Solomon et al., 2004; Calvert, 2016) single out the themes which are important to this branch of geography: monitoring energy supply-chain developments; identifying place-based factors which explained observed spatial patterns of energy-sector investment; assessing environmental and ←341 | 342→economic risk, especially in the context of large scale nuclear energy development; understanding how energy technology diffuses within and between nations; and mapping regional variations in energy production, distribution and use.

Grounding on the levels of the competence development taxonomy singled out by Bloom et al. ( 1956) and Anderson & Krathwohl (2001), the researchers raise a question how nuclear energy is introduced in textbooks: is this phenomenon presented as complicated and complex?

The following questions are formulated to investigate textbooks on geography:

1)What is the structure of materials within the textbooks: content, volume of texts on nuclear energy and how this content relates to the geographical skills formulated in comprehensive programmes?

2)How does the presentation of nuclear energy in geography textbooks provide preconditions for development of energy literacy?

3)How do complication and complexity of the materials rendered in textbook texts combine with the taxonomy levels of geography competences pointed out in the national curriculum?

After carrying out analysis of 32 Lithuanian geography textbooks for forms 6–12 (Bačkienė, Pundienė, Januškis, 2009a; Bačkienė, Pundienė, Januškis, 2009b; Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2008/2007; Česnavičius et al., 2010/2008; Česnavičius, &Valančienė, 2008; Dijokienė, 2016; Gerulaitis, et al., 2010a; Gerulaitis et al. 2010b; Kynė et al., 2008a; Kynė et al. 2008b; Kynė et al., 2016; Kynė et al., 2015; Šalna et al., 2012a; Šalna et al., 2012b; Šalna et al., 2006; Šalna et al., 2009/2005a; Šalna et al., 2009/2005b; Šalna et al., 2014; Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006a; Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b; Šalna et al., 2005a; Šalna et al., 2005b; Šalna et al., 2010a; Šalna, et al. 2010b; Šalna et al., 2010c; Šalna et al., 2012; Šalna &Tuskenienė, 2009a; Šalna & Tuskenienė, 2009b; Valančienė & Česnavičius, 2008; Valančienė & Dijokienė, 2007; Varanavičienė et al., 2017) the energy-related concepts and their illustration with examples have been found: energy resources, renewable and non-renewable resources, energy economy, and social and environmental aspects of the use of energy sources and energy production.

The concept of nuclear energy in forms 79. The analysis of the concept of nuclear energy was being consistently conducted starting from textbooks for form 7. The materials on the aspect under the interest of the researchers were not found in the texts of textbooks for form 6. Two textbooks by Šalna et al. (2009/2005a; 2009/2005b) for form 7 and two textbooks by Šalna and Sapožnikovas (2010/2006a, 2010/2006b) for form 8 have been analysed.←342 | 343→

In the first instance, it was discovered that textbooks for forms 7 and 8 present materials related to nuclear energy in a way that there are dominant two areas in development of geography-related skills mentioned in the national curriculum: cognition of regions and reading of geographical information. The competence of map reading is slightly developed. Areas of different competences (acquaintance with regions, reading of geographic information, understanding of maps) intertwine because texts giving information on nuclear energy describe regions and countries of the world. Geography textbooks for form 7 introduce the following regions: Africa, Australia, Oceania, the Antarctic, South America and North America (Šalna et al., 2009/2005a.); whereas these are for form 8: Europe (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006a), East Europe and Russia, Asia (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b), and single countries. Textbooks for form 7 include maps demonstrating sites of uranium mining in the Republic of South Africa (Šalna et al., 2009/2005a, p. 161) and Canada (Šalna et al., 2009/2005a, p. 241). Tables indicate and compare the volumes of uranium mining in various countries. For instance, Australia whose uranium mining constitutes 14 per cent, is mentioned as a country taking the second place in uranium mining in the world (Šalna et al., 2009/2005b, p. 180). However, there are no texts providing details about uranium as fossil fuel used in nuclear power plants; accordingly, such material does not substantiate introduction of these regions for students as sites where uranium is being mined (Republic of South Africa, Australia and Canada), no connections with nuclear energy. In discussion of regions and countries, the textbooks render numerical information, diagrams, indexes on the amounts of uranium mining and compares them in terms of different regions of the world. Nevertheless, our research reveals that texts of textbooks for form 7 introduce nuclear energy quite fragmentarily, which prevents from forming a generalised and whole concept for the students.

Thus, materials of textbooks for form 7 are not characteristic of a highly complex level in presenting energy; nuclear energy is presented indirectly (when talking about uranium). When comparing to the object of energy geography described by scholars (Solomon et al., 2004; Calvert, 2016), it can be stated that textbooks for this form lack a broader and consistent image of the energy sector y in relation to social, economic and political aspects of nuclear fuel mining in the discussed countries and regions. After the assessment of introduction of nuclear energy in textbooks for form 7, grounding on the concept of energy literacy, it was observed that the level of neither regional nor local energy consumption was presented: information on other regions of the world without any relation to the context of Lithuania is presented to students.←343 | 344→

Texts for form 8 display more materials related to nuclear energy; and specific efforts to reveal characteristics of regions are observed. An explanation of pitchblende (uranic ore) as fossil which is “the most important fuel for nuclear power plants” (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006a) is already presented for form 8, which allows the students, differently from those of form 7, understand that “uranium” is linked to nuclear energy.

Another aspect to be related to nuclear energy in form 8 deals with the varieties of electricity production: water, thermal, renewable resources and nuclear. This information allows school students understand the diversity of energy sources and energy production industry. Specific aspects of nuclear energy discussed in textbooks for form 8 are linked to getting cognition of regions or countries, e.g., France is characterised as “having no large pools of oil or gas, though being famous for pitchblende (uranic ore) mining for many years. <…>. Currently, the country runs more than 20 such (nuclear, authors’ note) power plants. They produce approximately three quarters of the entire electric power.” (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006a, p. 84). The progress of Indian industry is connected to the development of nuclear energy: “Presently, India is rapidly developing high technologies. Nuclear power plants are being constructed all across the country.” (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b, p. 208). Comparing significance of natural resources in North Europe, the diagrams demonstrate different amounts of electric power produced in nuclear power plants in different countries: “In Sweden the amount is 43 per cent, in Finland it is 30.4 per cent, in Lithuania it is 77.7 per cent.” (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006a, p. 66).

The information on nuclear power allows students start forming their understanding of energy-related regions, start understanding the spatial patterns of the energy sector, when the sector of energy comprises several different sources of energy, and nuclear energy constitutes an important part of national economies. Textbooks for the 8th form point out the countries that develop nuclear energy. These include Lithuania, too. Texts of the textbook comply with the strategic concepts of nuclear energy of the period they were written (in 2006). However, in relation to present-day global and Lithuanian strategies for energy development, these materials of the textbooks are already outdated and should be treated as historical, i.e., as a description of what was happening in the country many years ago. Seeking to fill in geography lessons with relevant content, a teacher should be assisted with materials that discuss contemporary priorities in the energy sector, for instance, the Lithuanian National Energy Independence Strategy (Lietuvos Nacionalinė energetinės nepriklausomybės strategija, 2018), which reflects the situation of state’s energy sector 10 years ←344 | 345→after the closure of the nuclear power plant and underlines the development of renewable energy sources, green energy.

Over the latter 10 years, the Lithuanian energy map and strategic perception of the development of energy industry have significantly changed. Energy is no longer being produced from nuclear energy since 2009; production of biofuel, biomass and biogas as well as wind, solar and geothermal energy is being actively developed. The development of the energy sector is being carried out through the decentralisation and demonopolisation of energy production, involving residents in the sector of energy economy, installing solar panel batteries and producing geothermal energy for house heating. Emphasis on these new energy-focused priorities could contribute to the development of the energy literacy, as named by Van der Horst et al. (2016), through civic participation and entrepreneurship, when connections to both local (national, Lithuanian) and individual (electricity production in household) contexts are clear.

The most pronounced instance of acquaintance with the region and connection to the nuclear energy is presented in form 8, when Ukraine is characterised and presented through the narration about the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The textbook includes a separate chapter “Disaster of the Chernobyl Power Plant” (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b, p. 148). This chapter comprises 4 short texts about the catastrophe, its causes and consequences: “In April 1986, the world was struck by the disaster of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Caused by severe mistakes made while conducting experiments, several explosions took place in one of the reactors; the explosions damaged the roof made of steel and concrete mass weighing 1,000 tons and breached it. Few times more radioactive substances spread in the atmosphere than in 1945, when nuclear bombs had been thrown on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b, p. 148). The extent of the disaster is discussed: the increase of radiation in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Nordic countries as well as concern about safety; the consequences of the disaster: and pollution of large areas with radioactive substances, impact on nature and diseases caused by radiation (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b).

Moreover, the text includes 3 maps depicting the spread of radioactive clouds 2, 5 and 10 days after the disaster (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b, p. 148) and a map demonstrating the spread of radioactivity on the territories of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Lithuania (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b, p. 149). The text is illustrated with photos: the view of the nuclear power plant after the accident, desolated and neglected houses and other buildings on the site of the catastrophe, a photo of a child with disability who was born ←345 | 346→in the zone of radiation. Even though not extensive, such presentation makes quite an impact: various materials, i.e., texts, photos, maps, were used to create this narrative. The topic develops energy literacy in connection to important competences within the geography curriculum: cognition of a particular region and map reading.

The presentation of the Chernobyl-related topic extends the concept of energy in general and nuclear energy in particular, while energy is described not only as an economy part of particular regions, but also an important source of economy operation and development. The analysis of disasters in nuclear industry is a separate topic which reveals potential insecurity of nuclear energy, its harm and threat to people, nature and environment. Here, not economic but rather environmental aspects of energy use and production are disclosed. It should be noted that scientific literature and political discourse discuss the Chernobyl disaster as a turn in the entire history of the nuclear energy industry. The accident demonstrated a gigantic danger of the use of nuclear energy, changed the entire history and direction of this branch of economy. This has become the largest trigger of the anti-nuclear movement throughout the world. Since the start of the nuclear energy industry (since the 1950s of the twentieth century), it had a bright future predicted to it, and many expectations were linked to this type of energy industry (it was considered one of nature-friendly types of energy, not consuming many natural resources, not polluting atmosphere with CO2 emission, and differently from fossil fuel-based energy).

The Chernobyl disaster has altered the perception of the nuclear energy industry and impacted its entire development. It is important that the Chernobyl disaster is characterised in terms of making effect to the country, Ukraine; also, it reveals how the radioactive fallout impacted the neighbouring countries to Ukraine and a large territory of Europe. Thus, it demonstrates how insecurity of the nuclear energy and accidents taking place expand the national limits of regions when radioactive contamination spread in a different way than energy regions do, landscapes reflected in geography maps form in a different way.

On the other hand, presentation of the region of Ukraine by mentioning the Chernobyl disaster creates a single-sided image putting it that being a region of the nuclear catastrophe is one of the most important (and the only?) features of Ukraine.

In terms of relevance and novelty of the data and information displayed in textbooks for forms 7 and 8, it can be noted that one part of the materials reflects basic information which does not change fast, renders specific knowledge on nuclear energy. For instance, the map of resources of minerals is present in the Republic of South Africa, which indicates coal, uranium, diamonds, copper, ←346 | 347→platinum, gold, iron, manganese, phosphorites (Šalna et al., 2005, p. 161). Also, a map of resources of minerals is present in Canada, demonstrating oil, gas, coal and uranium (Šalna et al., 2005a, p. 241), emphasising that uranium is a nuclear fuel. Information on the Chernobyl disaster (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b, p. 148–149), nuclear power plants being constructed in India (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006b, p. 208) and the like, would be attributed to this group of information. Another type of materials deals with statistics and facts which become outdated fast. In this regard, the textbooks used in Lithuanian schools introduced in the current chapter are old; information of the discussed type is outdated and no longer relevant. Chapters of the textbook introducing the Lithuanian INPP where production of electricity was ceased as far back as in 2009 can be an example of such information; however, in this instance, the textbook published in 2006 informs that the power plant produces 77.7 per cent of the electric power for Lithuania (Šalna & Sapožnikovas, 2010/2006a, p. 66). Nevertheless, bearing in mind present-day topicalities, a teacher should treat the given data from a historical perspective, emphasising the specific situation prevailing at that time. Other instances reflecting outdated information could be related to presentation of particular statistical data, e.g., uranium mining in various countries (Republic of South Africa, Canada, Russia) by per cent, production of electric power in various power plants by per cent, etc.

On the one hand, a teacher delivering lessons on energy and who has to use outdated textbooks presenting the INPP as an operating power plant can emphasise the closure of it during lessons. Nevertheless, a teacher must meet the challenges concerning absence of relevant information in available textbooks: one will have either to find relevant and contemporary statistical information on the volume of energy industry (which no longer includes part of nuclear energy) or to give tasks to students to find information on what power plants and how much of energy they produce in Lithuania, countries of North Europe. This would require allocating additional time and information resources.

Discussing complexity in rendering the topic on nuclear energy one may observe that lower levels of knowledge and understanding singled out by Bloom et al. ( 1956) and Anderson & Krathwohl (2001) dominate in textbooks for forms 7–8. The basic information on uranium and nuclear fuel is presented in the textbooks (for form 7); however, the textbooks do not call uranium a nuclear fuel. This explanation is developed in textbooks for form 8, which could be attributed to the level of understanding. The level of complexity in presenting information increases: in the case of form 7, the nature of nuclear power plants is revealed, and in the case of form 8, knowledge is expanded by ←347 | 348→introducing statistical data – explaining what part of electricity is produced in nuclear power plants, the volumes are compared with power plants of other types. Thus, the initial formation of the image of an energy-focused region proceeds when different sources of energy in a particular country and region are described, and their connectedness is revealed.

The Concept of Nuclear Energy in Forms 9–10

It should be noted that geography textbooks for form 9 pay more attention to the problems of the general concept of energy, such as geopolitical decisions, discussion of various types of energy, and energy-related environmental issues; however, the aspects of nuclear energy industry are almost left without any direct consideration. Nuclear energy is mentioned only once, when dealing with environmental topic and discussing the process of power plant operation including the usage of water from water bodies to cool reactors down. The utilised warm water is released back to the water body, and this, in turn, causes the silting up.

Nuclear energy is presented in the greatest detail in textbooks for form 10 (Šalna et al., 2006; Valančienė & Česnavičius, 2008). From the current perspective in 2020, both textbooks include quite much outdated, irrelevant material. Nevertheless, like in the textbooks for lower forms, specific basic information allowing understanding major aspects of nuclear energy is presented.

Both textbooks for form 10 present the topic on nuclear energy by pointing out the historical development of the energy industry. The textbook by Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008, p. 24) puts it that until the 19th century firewood was a major source of energy; later on, after the 19th century, as industry underwent development, coal became a major kind of fuel; and “in ca. 1960, oil became the most important source of energy, gas started being used and, later on, nuclear energy (uranium is required to obtain it)”. Further goes explanation on where electricity was being produced: “first power plants were thermal steam power plants and hydroelectric power plants. Later, they perfected, wind and nuclear power plants appeared” (Valančienė & Česnavičius, 2008, p. 44). A summary for a chapter “Resources and Energy” in Šalna et al. (2006, p. 23) reveals problems of the nuclear energy industry causing threat, such as recycling and storing of nuclear waste: “The nuclear energy industry is being developed throughout the world since the middle of the 20th century. Over the time, countries accumulated vast amounts of nuclear fuel waste. It is very expensive to recycle and store it. These substances are hazardous to human health; therefore, the humankind are facing a new problem – what to do with the nuclear ←348 | 349→fuel.” (p. 23). Such approach allows drawing assumptions that students of the 10th form should find out about the development of the energy industry and economy, nuclear energy, production and recycling of nuclear fuel emerged in a specific period within that development. It is important to note that the development of nuclear energy, grounding on the text of the textbook issued in 2008, is presented not as a valuable source of energy, but also as a type of energy that causes problems (storing of nuclear fuel) to the humankind.

Historical information on the changes in consumption of energy sources and energy industry presented in both textbooks is illustrated by figures, diagrams and maps. The figure “Changes in consumption of energy resources” (Valančienė & Česnavičius, 2008, p. 23) demonstrates a historical fact stating that sources of nuclear energy appear in ca. 1965, and intensity of their consumption in 2000 comprises ca. 10 per cent of the entire energy production. The textbook by Šalna et al. (2006, p. 24) displays a figure demonstrating a curve of consumption of different types of energy over the period from 1950 to 2000. The data of the figure suggests that consumption of resources to produce nuclear energy increased twice over 50 years. A task dedicated to the analysis of this figure (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 24) suggests students investigate and comment on how consumption of fuel and energy sources changed from ancient times to the present day and to indicate the causes that resulted in that change. This topic and adjacent tasks on the historical change and dynamics of energy consumption included in the textbook reflect one of the major topics of energy geography in relation to historical changes in energy landscapes, technological and energy-related social transitions dealt with by authors analysing energy geography (Bouzarovski, 2009; Lambert, 2013, Butt, 2011). Such way of introduction of nuclear energy in textbooks reflects characteristics of geography as the “global thing” discussed by Lambert (2013) and Butt (2011) because the historical development of the nuclear energy industry throughout the world is dealt with.

In order to assess the novelty and rendering of basic knowledge of the textbook’s materials, the historical approach to the development of the nuclear energy sector can be treated as important basic knowledge on the understanding of energy geography. However, it should be admitted that examples illustrating the situation of nuclear energy industry and economy (in tables, maps, diagrams) as well presented data, numbers no longer reflect the topicalities or problems of the current period. The textbooks render a concept of the change of an energy landscape; however, the “present” dealt with in the textbooks written in 2006 and 2008 does not meet the reality and present-time of 2020. Working in class, a teacher must regard the changes that took place in ←349 | 350→the area of nuclear energy sector since that time demonstrated by facts in the available textbook and must seek to present new, relevant data.

The entire materials on nuclear energy of textbooks for form 10 can be divided into several thematic areas.

Identification of the Significance of Nuclear Industry

Like in the case of form 8, the textbook by Šalna et al. (2006, p. 24) for form 10 has it that “uranium is a very important type of resources, required for producing nuclear energy”; and the textbook by Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008, p. 23) includes more information: points out that the fuel of nuclear energy is not only uranium, but also includes another element, thorium. Moreover, a table “Branches of economics” in the textbook (p. 43) presents nuclear energy industry as a constituent part of the energy economy, together with thermal, water and alternative energy.

The textbook by Šalna et al. (2006) describes advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy quite in detail and consistently. The advantages of the use of nuclear energy pointed out in this textbook are the following: long-lasting, clean, because there is no impact of CO2 on nature; cheap, because little fuel is required, and transportation of it is easier and cheaper; resources of fossil fuel are saved. Specific advantages are not pointed out in the textbook by Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008); however, similar emphases are made when talking about the operation of the INPP, for instance, the text explains efficiency of the nuclear energy industry, little nuclear fuel is required, there is no environmental pollution.

Drawbacks are emphasised, too: “These power plants may be dangerous and cause threat to environment” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 32). “It is difficult and expensive to recycle radioactive substances. The sites for storing the waste are insufficient all around the world; it is dangerous to human health to transport nuclear fuel; the risks of harming people and environment is higher than the benefit. The safety systems of the power plants cannot completely prevent from severe earthquakes and terrorist acts.” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 33). Materials on the INPP provided in Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008) putting it that the problem lies in old-type reactors (even though it does not mention that the type is the RMBK, like in Chernobyl) could be an illustration to the statements of this textbook; the latter has it that, after the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the trust in the nuclear energy system has decreased; nevertheless, it also notes that “this is the only known area of future energy industry which will be able to accommodate the energy demand” (Valančienė & ←350 | 351→Česnavičius, 2008, p. 47). Interesting to note that, in such a way, a provision focusing on students’ critical thinking in assessing nuclear energy from different perspectives, seeing both positive and negative aspects is being developed. Both textbooks for form 10 have questions intended for generalisation of the concept of nuclear energy: “What advantages and disadvantages exist in terms of nuclear energy? What is the perspective of nuclear energy industry?” (Valančienė & Česnavičius, 2008, p. 46).

However, it can be observed that the textbook provides a conclusion on the nuclear energy sector as the only known type of future energy industry, which could be treated as a clear pro-nuclear attitude and narrative supporting nuclear energy. It is important to underline that back in 2008 Lithuania still maintained a vision of a state developing the nuclear energy industry. The second block of the INPP would be closed in 2009; Lithuania maintained a hope to build a new nuclear power plant up until the referendum held in 2012, which prevented from construction of the new nuclear power plant.

Such introduction of significance of nuclear energy raises both a question and a doubt whether the topic of globality is sufficiently developed, which, according to scientists (Lambert, 2013; Butt, 2011), is important to geography as “a subject of survival” and “curriculum for the future”, treated as an important purpose of geography as a subject – to raise questions about global challenges, global interconnectedness issues. As Thoyre and Harrison (2016) put it, globality is connected to problems of sustainability, questions of geopolitics, environmental crises and catastrophes. The analysis of the content of textbooks for form 10 reveals that the aspect of globality of nuclear energy industry is more emphasised not through the prism of the environmental protection topic (which would manifest as concern about insecurity of nuclear energy and effect of radiation on environment all around the world), but by underlining the global geoeconomics aspect, when nuclear energy is seen as the only type of energy than can meet the demands for energy in the future economy worldwide.

Analysing how the development of energy literacy proceeds, it is supposed that the naming of the significance of nuclear energy in textbooks, though, allows students form critical civic stance or attitudes (grounding on Van der Horst et al., 2016; Fowler, 1976, cit. DeWaters et al., 2013) because the context is presented by providing both positive (nuclear energy as cheap, making no harm to environment, effective) and negative (Chernobyl disaster, insecure equipment) aspects of the use of nuclear energy.

Moreover, grounding on the elements of energy literacy proposed by DeWaters et al. (2013), the affective element stands out, too, because students form the view (concern), stance (understanding that something should be ←351 | 352→changed) and responsibility. No doubt, the cognitive element is being developed as well, because basic knowledge on the significance of nuclear energy is obtained. From the point of view of complexity of the competence (Bloom et al., 1956; Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001), texts in textbooks for form 10 are oriented to higher levels: analysis, synthesis and evaluation because advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy are presented; problem questions about complexity of recycling and storing of nuclear waste are raised; and tasks requiring considerations on perspectives of nuclear energy are included.

Revealing the Role of Nuclear Energy in the World

Both textbooks for form 10 include materials on nuclear energy and its significance in the world. The textbook by Šalna et al, (2006, p. 32) identifies the geopolitical aspect, i.e., “the decision to use nuclear energy greatly depends on the governmental views and public opinion” (p. 32). The reasons for nuclear industry development and countries developing it are indicated mentioning that “nuclear energy is used by the countries that lack fossil fuel” (p. 32). The textbook by Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008, p. 45) also has it that nuclear power plants are constructed on sites which lack other sources of energy.

Here, the development of energy literacy stands out when the geopolitical aspect of the energy system is emphasised (Fowler, 1976, cit. DeWaters et al., 2013; Van der Horst et al., 2016). Nuclear energy is characterised as an effective type of energy which may accommodate the needs for energy in specific regions; decisions on closure of the INPP are discussed in relation to national or global decisions.

Both textbooks introduce the countries and scope of the development of nuclear energy industry. These two point out that there are 30 countries worldwide which run nuclear power plants. Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008, p. 45) also note that the largest numbers of power plants are in the USA, France and Japan. Moreover, it states that the largest nuclear power plant in the world is the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (in Japan), comprising 10 operating reactors, and in total Japan “runs 16 nuclear power plants, electric energy is being produced by 52 reactors”; illustrations are provided on how nuclear energy constituted 8 per cent in 1990 and 12 per cent in 2007 (Valančienė & Česnavičius, 2008, p. 157). Here it is important to note that the textbook under analysis was written earlier than the disaster in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant that took place in 2011; therefore, it is obvious that this accident is not introduced in the textbooks.←352 | 353→

The volume of production of nuclear energy is described in both textbooks. Šalna et al. (2006, p. 32) present a table “Ratio of electrical energy produced in nuclear power plants in 2004” which lists the countries running nuclear power plants in the world, percentage ratio of produced electrical energy and numbers of reactors per country. There is a discussion on the countries that run most of nuclear power plants and produce the largest parts of electrical energy there (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 46); whereas the textbook by Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008, p. 45) includes a table “Spread of nuclear power plants across countries, 2006” which indicates the numbers of reactors and their power in MW in various countries. The data is supplemented with the tasks presented in the teaching materials by Dijokienė (2016) for form 10; the said tasks ask to point out the states where electricity is produced at nuclear power plants, by choosing correct options from the list: Brazil, India, China, the Netherlands, Norway, the USA, Poland, Russia, France and the Republic of South Africa. Another task that allows consolidating the information presented in the textbooks deals with the exploration of a cartographic scheme to complete the tasks: to list the European states which currently run largest numbers of reactors; to indicate 3–5 states that produce nuclear energy; and to find the European countries which have no nuclear power plants; all insights must be substantiated.

The textbook by Šalna et al. (2006) lists the technological and economic aspects in ensuring safety, which is linked to high financial expenses. Another aspect to be noted in relation to this textbook is that the text emphasises the decrease in the development of nuclear energy industry impacted by the Chernobyl disaster.

The presentation of the significance of the nuclear energy sector at the global level in the textbooks complies with the concept of energy geography defined by Solomon et al. (2004) and Calvert (2016) because the texts partly reveal the aspects pointed out by the authors: identification of local factors explaining observed spatial patterns of investments in the energy sector and the distribution of energy technologies in the world (networks of the spread of nuclear power plants, capacities of nuclear power plants are presented); identification of environmental and economic risks by pointing out that expensive technological solutions in relation to the nuclear energy sector limit the development of this type of industry. Connecting this to the energy geography approach, the authors of the present research emphasise the significance of formation of the civil position aspect, too, since students get an opportunity to evaluate the actions linked to nuclear energy industry with regard to national (Lithuanian) and global (nuclear power plants worldwide, their capacity, expenses on technological solutions) decisions (according to Van der Horst et al., 2016).←353 | 354→

When dealing with nuclear energy in the world, it is highly important to note the significance of novelty and relevance of the materials in the textbooks. In this case, information presented in Lithuanian textbooks is outdated in many instances because basically the distribution and capacities of nuclear power plants are changing, e.g., after the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011, the Japanese system of nuclear energy industry has significantly changed; or the change in the development of nuclear power plants in some other countries (France, Finland, etc.); therefore, a teacher working with materials of the textbook must critically evaluate such changes, select materials and data illustrating the changes.

It can be noted that, when linking to the energy literacy elements pointed out by DeWaters et al. (2013), materials on the significance of nuclear energy in the world as presented in the textbooks is oriented towards the cognitive element, and, from the point of complexity of the competence, it would meet the level of knowledge and understanding because essential information is rendered.

Revealing the Threats of Nuclear Energy

The textbook issued in 2006 (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 32) for form 10 describes the threats related to nuclear energy quite in detail, pointing out that they occur from radioactive pollution, storing of radioactive substances and that society assess this area negatively.

However, it was observed that textbooks for form 10 do not elaborate narration on the largest disaster of the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, the most highlighted and strongest anti-nuclear narratives. Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008, p. 48) provide a photograph “Reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine)”; however, for a reader, it may be not clear from a provided image that it depicts the situation after the disaster happened. There is no text on the disaster supplementing this photograph. Moreover, this textbook only mentions the aspects of accidents in nuclear power plants at the end of the chapter dedicated to the energy industry (p. 46), presenting the volume of the Chernobyl disaster in short: “The level of radiation on the territory of the nuclear power plant reached 20–25 micro-r-units per second. This exceeded the permissible norm more than a thousand times,” without providing more details. Even though these textbooks only quite fragmentarily develop the element of nuclear power plant catastrophes, still, the tasks of the teaching materials by Dijokienė (2016) include a creative project assignment on the topic dealing with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant catastrophe that took place on 11 March 2011, following the earthquake. The task has it that, after the bombing ←354 | 355→of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan has chosen the forms of nuclear power production, planned to have produced over 50 per cent of the energy consumed in the country at nuclear power plants by 2030. A question why did Japan make such a choice is posed to school students. To answer the question, students have to use various information sources and prepare for a discussion on why Japan needs so many nuclear power plants; moreover, they have to prepare a presentation “The Future of Energy in Japan”. Such approach to the presentation of the materials reflects a connection between two largest catastrophes of nuclear power plants; a teacher using both teaching means can develop a relevant up-to-date discussion on assurance of safety of nuclear power plants, causes and consequences of catastrophes and the future prospects of nuclear energy.

One of the threats pointed out by Šalna et al. (2006) as a separate issue focuses on safety of nuclear fuel waste. It emphasises that “this is a potentially hazardous product resulting from nuclear energy activity: its concentration encompasses 98 per cent of all radioactive materials”, and “it is difficult to solve issues of storing accumulated nuclear fuel waste and conserving old reactors. Currently, the nuclear fuel waste is usually stored in isolation from environment in reliably controlled reservoirs. Quite many of them are kept dug in the soil.” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 32). The text has it that the recycling of nuclear fuel is a complex and expensive technological process; therefore, only nuclear states, the UK, France, Russia and Japan, can afford it. Also, it points out that states that do not have such complex technology would prefer to pay for acceptance and recycling of the waste. The text is illustrated by a figure (p. 33) “Nuclear fuel from mining to storing waste”. The text is supplemented with a task evoking a discussion by providing arguments in favour of or against the development of the nuclear energy sector (p. 32); and a task-question at the end of the chapter is dedicated to repetition of knowledge on nuclear waste requiring answer yes or no: “The storing of radioactive waste does not cause any big problems.” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 46).

The identification of threats allows forming environmental literacy, problem-solving skills highlighted by Van der Horst et al. (2016) related to the development of energy literacy because the textbooks present texts on danger posed by nuclear waste, conservation of old reactors. Relating to the elements of energy literacy proposed by DeWaters et al. (2013), materials of the textbook on threats and difficulties are to be linked to the affective element because statements on radioactive pollution, dangers and further situation of old reactors allow students understand and form, on the one hand, concern, anxiety about the future of the humankind; on the other hand, it may form their responsible ←355 | 356→attitude towards consumption, critical thinking and decide on their choices (e.g. which type of energy is more suitable for use: renewable or nuclear?).

From the point of view of the complexity of the competence (Bloom et al., 1956; Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001), materials of the text, in opinion of the authors of the present paper, comply with the levels of analysis or synthesis because quite complex problems on technological solutions which can be made to recycle and store nuclear waste are presented; problems revealing distrust of society in the nuclear energy system are mentioned. Such approach in presenting the materials allows a teacher arrange various discussions, debates which would help students gain skills of critical thinking.

Review of the Situation of Nuclear Energy in Lithuania

Both discussed textbooks quite consistently present the situation of nuclear industry in Lithuania. Texts emphasise the situation of the time when the textbooks were being prepared (in 2006). However, the textbooks include specific links or considerations on likely perspectives, even though they are not very clear or firm. In such a way, an actual political, economic situation of that time when Lithuania was preparing for the closure of the second block in 2009 and there were no clear visions concerning the future of nuclear energy is reflected. At that time, opportunities of construction of a new nuclear power plant jointly with Latvia and Estonia were being discussed. When delivering nuclear energy topics during geography lessons nowadays, it is clear that the projected prospects did not come true when the referendum of 2012 determined the refusal of constructing a new nuclear power plant.

Nuclear energy in Lithuania is discussed in the following aspects: by introducing the concept of sources of energy, indicating the consumed amount of nuclear fuel to produce electrical power, “in the energy balance for 1980–2005 it constituted 34–37 per cent” [comparing to other sources of energy] (Šalna et al. 2006, p. 38); the type of energy is discussed by pointing out that nuclear the energy system also operates complementing other types sources: “In Lithuania, the largest part of electrical energy is produced by power plants of three types: hydroelectric, thermal and nuclear” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 45). The volume of this type of energy industry is illustrated by a diagram (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 39) “Production of electrical energy in Lithuania” which demonstrates the types of power plants and changes in production of electricity in 2003 and 2005; whereas the textbook by Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008) presents corresponding numbers demonstrating that the INPP is one of the most powerful power plants in the world. The textbook by Šalna et al. (2006, p. 38) comprises ←356 | 357→a map “Lithuanian system of energy” which depicts all types of power plants in Lithuania related to production of energy that were operating at the time of writing the textbook under discussion: the nuclear power plant, thermal power plants, hydroelectric power plants, oil pipelines, gas pipes, oil refinery and oil processing plants. Such rendering of the material shows that the rendering of nuclear energy industry in line with other types of energy facilitates students’ better understanding of the map depicting the energy system and the structure of the energy economy.

Moreover, both analysed geography textbooks for form 10 also present the prospects of the INPP linked to geopolitical and economic aspects. First, the textbook by Šalna et al. (2006) points out that reactors of the INPP are analogous to those in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant; their “time of exploitation has already expired; therefore, there is a grounded consideration that the power plant poses threat” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 39), which would be linked to technological and environmental aspects. However, both textbooks provide details supporting the view that obligations undertaken before entering the European Union are one of the major causes to close the INPP. In such a way, the geopolitical factor is underlined as one of significant aspects in terms of the closure of the INPP. Moreover, perspectives of the development of nuclear energy industry are highlighted by stating that Lithuania, jointly with Estonia and Latvia, “have come to an agreement to jointly build a new, modern nuclear power plant in Lithuania” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 39).

The economic aspect of the closure of the INPP is emphasised by the textbook by Valančienė and Česnavičius (2008), putting it that this might disturb the structure and prices of energy sources because too “little of local renewable resources are used” (Valančienė & Česnavičius, 2008, p. 49), the funding of the closure of the INPP from the EU funds allocated for mitigating negative financial, technical and social effects is pointed out. In this case, it would be appropriate to discuss on the closure of the INPP as a complex process in technological and geo-economic as well as geo-political and social aspects; therefore, evaluations of this process cannot be unilateral.

Materials provided by Šalna et al. (2006) on nuclear energy in Lithuania and the INPP are illustrated with a photograph “The first block of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant” (p. 39) and a text of the news agency ELTA “An Electrical Bridge from Lithuania to the West” published in 2005 on the foreseen solution of the problems of electricity supply after the closure of the INPP: “Lithuania and Poland will put efforts to implement the project of the electrical bridge to the West by 2009, when the closure of the second block of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is anticipated” (Šalna et al., 2006, p. 40).←357 | 358→

To consolidate knowledge on the situation of the nuclear energy sector in Lithuania, 4 questions are given in the textbook by Šalna et al. (2006, p. 46): “How has the production of electrical power changed in Lithuania after the closure of the first block of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant? Predict how the system of energy industry in Lithuania will change after the closure of the INPP. What positive aspects and negative effects will the closure of this giant of economy have? Which electric power plants produce most of the energy in Lithuania? And a statement requiring an answer whether “yes” or “no”: Very much of electric energy is produced at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.” The prognostic elements on the situation of the nuclear energy sector are substantiated in tasks of more recent teaching materials by Dijokienė (2016): school students are asked to characterise the currently existing energy sector in Lithuania and, by using the cartographic scheme, to present a prediction on the changes of the energy sector by 2020. The scheme includes the operating (in 2016) energy systems, and the role of a nuclear power plant is linked to the withdrawal from the common system. However, the materials (by Dijokienė) published in 2016 point out the aspect of further plans of nuclear energy sector developments to be discussed, as it presents a task to prepare a presentation for peers on strategic projects of Lithuania, including a plan to construct a new nuclear power plant in 2018–2020. Basically, these materials are still being used in schools; therefore, teacher’s critical point of view as well as knowing and informing of students about the decisions made back in 2012 to not build the new nuclear power plant are highly important.

As observed, texts included in the textbooks for form 10 lack references to quite a unique social aspect of the nuclear energy industry in Lithuania, such as consequences of the closure of the INPP and construction of a new INPP for the nuclear town Visaginas, a satellite of the INPP, and its community.

To sum up the connections of the texts in geography textbooks for form 10 to the skills of the geographical competence being developed, it is clearly seen that the development of the skills of reading geographical information dominates because the texts render various, quite consistent information, data and concepts. Moderate orientation to the skills of cognition and investigation of environment is found, when informative materials of the texts are illustrated with tables and diagrams. Skills of orientation in area and map are slightly developed when materials of the texts are illustrated with maps and photographs. Cognition of other regions (except Lithuania) is developed very episodically, when information on nuclear energy industry in some countries of the world is presented; nevertheless, this is more of an informative kind of materials. Lithuania is a major region receiving most of the attention while discussing ←358 | 359→the situation of the nuclear energy sector in Lithuania. Tasks presented in the texts are more dedicated to reproduction of knowledge, even though particular elements of the development of analytical skills can be recognised, too. Texts on the situation of the nuclear energy sector in Lithuania correspond to the theme of energy geography according to Bouzarovski (2009), when the change of energy landscape is identified in connection to social-technical solutions, spatial differentiation and territorial network where specific relations of power manifest.

In terms of assessment of introductory materials in the textbooks for form 10 in the aspect of energy literacy dimensions (DeWaters et al., 2013), it can be stated that cognitive and behavioural elements prevail because presentation of the historical development of the nuclear energy industry renders basic knowledge, and the aspect of knowledge on the technological development forms attitudes towards future behaviour in the aspect of consumption of this type of energy.

In relation to the development of energy literacy skills characterised by Van der Horst et al. (2016) and Fowler (1976, cit. DeWaters et al. (2013)), it can be observed that materials on nuclear energy in the textbooks for form 10 allow developing civic attitudes and gain analytical skills, when students are given tasks inviting to predict the situation after the closure of the INPP, change of the energy economy, and perceive this type of energy as manifestation of science and technology as well as of its role in both national and global area. In such a way, students discover the historical development of the nuclear energy industry, which allows understanding the effect of this area of energy on societal processes: increase of energy production, booming of industry, and, however, an issue of the danger of nuclear waste is raised.

Regarding the complexity of energy literacy (according to Bloom et al., 1956; Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001), it is observed that the materials on nuclear energy of Lithuania are characteristic of complexity and complication; therefore, these would be attributed to the levels of synthesis and evaluation. Such conclusions are drawn by the researchers of this case because even though presentation of informative materials (tables, numbers) is more focused on the development of analytical skills in relation to why particular processes happened (closure of the nuclear power plant, threat of the reactor etc.), the following questions project expression of profound insights on likely changes in energy industry, predicting the situation after the closure of the INPP.

Obviously, the aspect of outdated information cannot be left unnoticed because the materials presented in the textbooks deal with topicalities that were relevant in 2006, e.g., agreements to build a new nuclear power plant, ←359 | 360→which at the present moment are no longer significant because they will not be implemented, though. Thus, teachers must very carefully analyse the materials themselves and present what may be relevant in the contemporary time, e.g., point of view towards presently being built Astravets Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus and issues of electricity supply from this power plant.

The Concept of Nuclear Energy in Forms 11–12

When revealing the concept of nuclear energy, the analysis of two geography textbooks: Česnavičius and Gerulaitis (2008/2007) “Bendroji geografija” (Lith. General Geography) and Česnavičius et al. (2010/2008) “Regioninė geografija” (Lith. Regional Geography), has been carried out. The analysis of the content of these textbooks pointed out that several new aspects, such as urban and military, were added to the context of nuclear energy and a topic of technological progress was moderately developed.

Quite a large part of materials on nuclear energy displayed in the textbooks repeats what was presented for lower forms, especially form 10, including small additions. Statements about production of electric power given in the textbooks could be identified as repeated materials: “Majority of electricity is produced in thermal, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants” (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 188); nuclear energy started being used half a century ago, and power plants are built on sites which are poor in other energy resources; uranium, more rarely thorium, is used for production of fuel (p. 188); electrical energy comprises: thermal, nuclear, hydroelectric and alternative energy (p. 184); nuclear power plants, having little effect on environment in terms of pollution, are efficient; the utilisation of nuclear fuel waste and danger of nuclear fuel in terms of likely explosions are mentioned.

The repeated materials in the textbook by Česnavičius and Gerulaitis (2008/2007) can be those dealing with the information on the INPP because, like for form 10, it indicates that these reactors are among the most powerful ones in the world; but, differently from form 10, their type, RBMK-1500, is mentioned (p. 191). It is stated that they are considered to be unreliable. It is mentioned that the INPP was closed; however, no causes are revealed (like in form 10, due to the obligations undertaken when entering the EU, old model (insecurity of the Chernobyl type reactor). The tasks included in the exercise book by Šalna et al. (2012) moderately expand the materials presented in the textbook texts because there is a set of tasks on nuclear energy worldwide and particularly in Europe, displaying 6 texts from information publications on the nuclear energy sector situations in Germany, Japan and the EU; the safety issues in relation to nuclear ←360 | 361→power plants in various countries of the world; the development of the nuclear energy industry in China; and the technological use of a nucleus in space industry. Students are asked questions requiring submission of arguments: for instance, why are nuclear power plants being massively closed in Japan and other countries since 2011; how will this impact national economies; what was the impulse for the change in the nuclear energy sector since 1989; and why do some countries, despite emerging threats, continue developing the nuclear energy industry.

When analysing both textbooks for forms 11–12, it is observed that they both could supplement each other due to differences in their contents. The textbook “Regioninė geografija” (Lith. Regional Geography) by Česnavičius et al. (2010/2008) focuses on specific characteristics of regions and countries; therefore, one can find materials on nuclear energy industry of separate countries or regions, Great Britain, China, USA, Brazil and Republic of South Africa, in it; nevertheless, the information is not highly detailed, is presented in different volumes, e.g. nuclear energy industry of Great Britain is introduced following the principle of historical consistency: when the first nuclear power plant was built, how volumes of energy produced in nuclear power plants changed, what are the sources of the fuel, how many reactors operate. The nuclear energy in Japan is presented by relating it to the aspect of militaristic use of nuclear energy, telling that the first experience of the state in terms of nuclear energy was undergone as one of the largest tragedies, the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nuclear industry of other states or regions, Asia, USA, China, Brazil, also Japan, is presented in this textbook by displaying numbers or even less: presented maps demonstrate references to the sites of uranium mines or locations of power plants. Materials on nuclear power plants in Japan, the largest nuclear plant in Japan, Fukushima, containing 10 operating reactors (p. 188) presented in the textbook by Česnavičius and Gerulaitis (2008/2007) could supplement the materials of the earlier-mentioned textbook resulting in a more comprehensive view of nuclear industry in Japan.

Such character of materials on nuclear energy presented in the textbooks allows the authors of the research draw connections to the characteristics of global understanding of energy and energy literacy defined by Solomon et al. (2004) and Calvert (2016): this information allows students understand the changes in the energy supply-chain, how energy technology diffuses within and between nations; and mapping regional variations in energy production, distribution and use. Also the textbooks include the aspects which were not introduced in earlier forms or only presented in brief, not further developing: aspects of urbanistic, militaristic, and scientific and technological progress.←361 | 362→

Social and Urban Aspects of Nuclear Energy

One of the aspects introduced in the textbook by Česnavičius and Gerulaitis (2008/2007) deals with the connection between nuclear energy industry and foundation of settlements. One of the social aspects linked to the effect of the nuclear energy industry is included in the exercise book (Gerulaitis & Bačkienė, 2009) in the form of a task asking students to classify the causes of forced and voluntary migration of residents, while indicating the example of an environmental disaster, the explosion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The foundation of settlements was only mentioned in lower forms; the town of Visaginas was identified; however, more details were not provided. The first more comprehensive discussion on Visaginas as a satellite town constructed to serve the nuclear power plant is presented in the textbook for forms 11–12 (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007). Since the textbook by Česnavičius and Gerulaitis (2008/2007) designed for form 11–12 pays much attention to geo-political and geo-economic aspects, it also manifests when talking about problems of Visaginas, the town of the INPP: “4 reactors could be constructed in the power plant (2 were built). After the changes in the political and economic conditions, a part of the planned town construction remained unfinished.” (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 57). In this textbook, the topicalities of the closure of the INPP are related to economic-financial aspects, as it puts it: “Early closure of the Ignalina NPP without having required funding from the EU and other Western states and international financial institutions would be an unbearable burden for the national economy to carry” (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 191). The financial means for the closure of the INPP are not directly allocated to the power plant only, but also they are dedicated to the restructuring of the economy sector of energy while developing renewable energy resources. The exercise book by Šalna et al. (2012, p. 26) includes a task to express one’s own opinion concerning the necessity of the project of a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas.

Also, the text mentions the funding for the solutions of social problems occurring in Visaginas after the closure of the INPP. The text of the textbook (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 191) has it that, after the closure of the INPP, the nuclear energy industry system in Lithuania is planned to be developed in cooperation with companies of other countries – France, Russia, USA and Canada. Also, a laconic emphasis is put on the prospects of town development, when assessing the INPP as a larger employer in the town, and after the loss of it, occurring social problems; moreover, it underlines that specific changes in performance are foreseen: “Now different activities, not related to ←362 | 363→the nuclear power plant, are being developed, small businesses and trade prevail in Visaginas. Several “scenarios” for the future of Visaginas town have been designed.” (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 57).

The presented social and urban aspects of nuclear energy are linked by the authors of the research to the formation of civic attitudes pointed out by Van der Horst et al. (2016), Fowler (1976, cit. DeWaters et al. (2013), when it aims at evaluation of the decisions made in relation to energy at national and global levels. Nevertheless, the introduction of the social situation in Visaginas lacks comprehensiveness. Texts on the volume of construction of the INPP, expansion of the town, political decisions concerning the closure of the INPP and further prospects allow students form quite a comprehensive view and understanding of nuclear industry as a strategic factor supporting national economy, that construction of the nuclear power plant is also related to infrastructural, social decisions (town, maintenance scheme); however, this technology becomes outdated and, therefore, political decisions concerning the closure or construction of a new power plant are being made. The case of Lithuania demonstrates that there can be a closure scenario which essentially changes both national energy system and social structure of a single town.

In terms of the level of complexity of the competence (following Bloom et al., 1956, Anderson & Krathwohl (2001)), the authors attribute this arrangement of the contents in the textbooks to the striving to develop the competences of the synthesis level because quite complex questions encompassing different aspects of nuclear industry are raised, e.g., construction of the nuclear power plant, closure of it and solution of social problems; closure of the nuclear power plant and collaboration with other states; and closure of the nuclear power plant and economic issues of the funding. Of course, assessment of the presented outdated facts or data should not be forgotten. Facts on the capacity of the INPP can be treated as basic information, for instance, when talking about types of nuclear power plants, capacity of reactors. However, when analysing the social problems of Visaginas town at the present moment (more than 10 years after the publishing of the textbook), one may face difficulties, since there is no available sufficient information on what is taking place in the town now.

Militaristic Aspects of the Use of Nuclear Energy

Basically, a militaristic aspect is a completely new one linked to the nuclear context, occurring in the textbooks for forms 11–12. The text by Česnavičius and Gerulaitis (2008/2007) points out that “nuclear technologies created nuclear weapons, a huge threat to the humankind, too” (p. 165). Nevertheless, this aspect ←363 | 364→is not developed in detail and comprehensively because the presented facts are quite fragmentary and do not help to create a sophisticated and complex concept of nuclear weapons, their effect and geopolitical aspects. First, the aspect of nuclear armament is introduced through a narration about the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during the US war with Japan in 1945 (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 135). Explanations elaborate that nuclear armament causes tension in society, even though after the Cold War the situation became more moderate because the Treaty of the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed, and some countries (Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, the Republic of South Africa) introduced nuclear disarmament. Seeking to illustrate information on nuclear weapons, a table demonstrating which 8 states dispose nuclear weapon is given (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 137).

One of the topics deals with the strengthening of geo-economic and geo-political influence of China through the military power: “The Chinese possess weapons of mass destruction, carry out nuclear weapon testing” (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 135). At the end of the text on nuclear armament (p. 137), a glossary is given, including an explanation of the concept “nuclear club” (Russ. ядерный клуб), an unofficial joint title of the states creating and possessing nuclear weapons.

It is important to note that this discussion of nuclear armament across the world is not related to nuclear energy industry, as given in the textbooks. The authors of this chapter hold the opinion that a critical analysis of nuclear energy should encompass the ability to recognise the connections between military and peaceful use of the nucleus. From the historical perspective, the peaceful nuclear energy in the USA, Russia derives from arms industry. On the other hand, setting up the infrastructure of nuclear energy facilities in separate countries may create preconditions for nuclear weapons industry.

From the point of energy literacy, the militaristic aspect of nuclear energy presented in the textbooks can be linked to the understanding of energy as science and technology as well as of its role in the national and global space put by Fowler (1976, cit. DeWaters et al. (2013)) in connection to geopolitical aspects, too. It was observed that the materials present another important aspect, the concept of nuclear weapons, by indicating the danger they may cause. The authors of the research observe that the materials could be more detailed, consistent and attractive to students; however, even such presentation of information like in the textbooks under investigation has obvious significance because the data on states having nuclear weapon is introduced, countries that develop these technologies of armament are identified. Connecting with the elements ←364 | 365→of energy literacy proposed by DeWaters et al. (2013), the militaristic nuclear aspects found in the textbook texts would correspond to the development of the affective element revealing the formation of pacific, anti-militarist attitudes, responsible behaviour because not only material on the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Japan is presented, but also questions on the nuclear armament of the present time are raised.

Even though the textbooks put major emphasis on the dropping of nuclear bombs on Japan, still a teacher delivering the curriculum could link to contemporary reality of armament, e.g., ballistic missiles testing in North Korea and programmes of uranium enrichment in Iran, which would enable connecting the concept of nuclear energy with the statements of Thoyre and Harrison (2016) having that energy can be a means to consider the questions of environmental sustainability and security in the global world.

Scientific and Technological Progress and Nuclear Energy

The use of nuclear energy as a result of technological and scientific progress is another aspect to be singled out in the textbooks for forms 11–12. In the textbook by Česnavičius and Gerulaitis (2008/2007), nuclear energy sector is linked to the development of science and technology by stating that this branch of economy is open to science (p. 195); the table presented on p. 165, “OECD classification of industry sectors which are open to science (adapted)” indicates that nuclear energy is attributed to the area of industry of high technologies of moderate complexity, and it is grounded with a statement about inventions in the area of physical sciences intended for perfection of the energy sector (p. 165). Statements in the exercise book (Gerulaitis, Bačkienė, 2009) dealing with the invention of the nuclear weapon and the launching of a nuclear reactor are related to the aspect of scientific and technological progress changing the geopolitical map because there is a task to classify various events according to importance in a particular period of time and to write about significance of these events. A statement putting that the society confidence in nuclear energy after the Chernobyl disaster decreased, however, and new technological solutions allow creating new and reliable nuclear reactors which are the fundamentals of the future power plants can be linked to the technological progress of nuclear energy sector: “Currently, this is the only known area of future energy industry which can meet the energy demand” (Česnavičius & Gerulaitis, 2007, p. 189).

It can be emphasised that the importance of the technologies of modern energy industry is underlined, though it is not elaborated in detail; nevertheless, ←365 | 366→an idea about modernisation of nuclear energy sector, inventions in the physical science, is raised, and nuclear industry is identified as the only area warranting the increasing needs for energy. This material reveals an approach expressed by Fowler (1976, cit. DeWaters et al. (2013)) on energy literacy, having it that an understanding of energy as science and technology as well as of its role in the national and global space is needed. The topic of globality is dealt with by introducing technological aspects of nuclear energy and stating that this type of energy will remain the most important in ensuring the energy needs throughout the world. This allows students design a global whole view and perceive that nuclear energy is important to the entire world.

Generalisation on the Explanation of Nuclear Energy in the Textbooks for Forms 10–12

One can recognise that this presentation is highly purposively oriented to the geo-economic aspect because economic matters are emphasised the most: extraction of nuclear (uranium) raw materials, volumes of production of nuclear energy, number of power plants, states that produce nuclear energy. This corresponds with the object of energy geography, the perception of how global infrastructure of nuclear energy sector is created, which countries and how they develop this energy industry. This aspect is highly expressed in the textbooks through presenting data on nuclear energy industry, describing examples. Texts of the textbooks reveal significance of the use of nuclear energy in the common infrastructure of separate countries or regions comparing the volumes of consumption of nuclear energy with other types of energy, volumes of nuclear fuel processing with other kinds of fuel. However, having evaluated the formation of energy geography as a holistic image of energy while discussing economic models of various countries, their geo-political and geo-economic interests in the area of nuclear energy, this aspect is elaborated quite superficially.

Less attention is paid to the consumption of nuclear energy, as a global phenomenon causing the environmental effect worldwide. In this approach, materials of the textbooks introduce the contradictions of the phenomenon of nuclear energy. They underline that nuclear energy is clean, pollution-free in terms of CO2 emission and efficient because low consumption of fuel is required, the only one which can meet high demand of consumption. On the other hand, some statements deal with the threats posed by this type of energy, such as consequences of accidents and catastrophes, occurring insecurity caused by aging technologies of reactors, recycling and storing of waste fuel.←366 | 367→

When dealing with development of energy literacy, one can put it that the textbooks for forms 10–12 display the cognitive and behavioural elements because the materials on nuclear energy are presented through comparison of various data, pointing out topicalities, which results in encouraging students analyse, assess and evaluate; make decisions; and form attitudes and responsible behaviour. If emphasising the complexity of the competence of energy literacy, it could be stated that materials of the textbooks for forms 10–12 are oriented to higher, more complex, i.e., analysis and synthesis, levels of evaluation.

No doubt, the aspect of outdated textbooks should be pointed out once again, which results in treating part of the information as historical materials only, no longer relevant in the present time. Due to this reason, teachers face quite a complicated task to select modern topicalities, data and information which would be suitable, reliable and important today.

Conclusions

In the course of the research, while carrying out the analysis of scientific literature, the thematic field of energy literacy and energy geography was pointed out. Grounding on these concepts, the authors analysed the national curriculum of geography and geography textbooks. The national geography curriculum emphasise competences of cognition of regions, reading of geographical information, maps, orientation in area and scientific research competences. These competences are related to the development of energy literacy.

The theme of energy geography (in this case, exploring nuclear energy in depth) is elaborated in the textbooks by indicating the competence of cognition to be developed as projected in the national curriculum. The textbooks introduce nuclear energy in various regions of the world to students: where uranium is processed, what countries and regions develop nuclear energy industry, and what is the role of nuclear energy sector. The development of the theme on nuclear energy in the analysed geography textbooks involves major aspects of energy geography: economic, geopolitical, environmental and social. However, most of the attention is paid to the economic aspect: the diversity of energy sources, traditional and new sources of energy, energy production in the world and particular regions are discussed. Regions and countries of the world where mining of uranium take place, nuclear power plants operate are discussed.

The textbooks form the concept of energy regions helping students understand the spatial patterns of the energy sector, when the energy economy comprises several different sources of energy and nuclear energy industry constitutes an important part of national economies. Nuclear energy is ←367 | 368→discussed in connection with other types of energy (hydro-electrical, thermal, renewable resources) and, in such a way, students can form a more general concept of the energy economy.

The textbooks discuss the development and change of nuclear sector as a branch of industry. The diversity of energy landscape, technological and social changes related to energy is presented. However, a new, contemporary approach to the nuclear energy, when it is no longer treated as the only prospective field of energy use since more attention in global economy and political discourse is focused on renewable sources of energy, green economy as the field of the future, is not revealed.

The textbooks introduce outdated information, since Lithuania no longer produces nuclear energy; therefore, this source of energy is not part of the field of present-day and future energy system. These significant changes in the energy landscape and political provisions are reflected in a major document on energy development, the Lithuanian National Energy Independence Strategy (2018), emphasising the modern environmental, sustainable aspects, such as production of power and electricity from renewable resources (biofuel, sun, biomass), engagement of citizens in the area of energy production and consumption, which is directly connected to stimulation of energy-focused participation and development of energy literacy.

Another area that presents nuclear energy deals with the environmental aspect emphasising potential insecurity of nuclear energy, damage and threats of it to people, nature and environment. This topic is developed by presenting nuclear accidents (Chernobyl disaster), radioactive pollution, potential insecurity and problems of storing of radioactive waste. Comparing the volume allocated to the discussion of this topic with the volume related to the economic aspect, it is observed that the environmental aspect is given far less attention than the economic introduction of nuclear energy.

Moreover, the textbooks also present the social aspect of nuclear energy when dealing with connections between nuclear energy industry and foundation of settlements. However, this aspect is developed much less in comparison to the economic one.

The analysis of the textbooks revealed growing complexity of the development of geographic competences when dealing with nuclear energy (Bloom et al., 1956, Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) in the aspect of the cognitive levels. In the national curriculum, the theme on energy is presented following the principle of consistently growing complexity, through transition from the level of knowledge and understanding in forms 7–8 to the development of higher skills (analysis, synthesis) in forms 9–12. Materials of the textbooks, as element ←368 | 369→of implementation of the curriculum, reveal that the aspect of energy is also developed quite consistently, through all levels, starting with knowledge in lower forms and moving to more complex levels in senior forms. When talking about nuclear energy in form 7, uranium is introduced; and in more senior forms uranium is explained as nuclear fuel; later, threat to environment, geopolitical processes of development of energy industry and nuclear energy sector are discussed (forms 11–12).

The research demonstrated that the national curriculum did not include direct connections to energy literacy; however, preconditions for the development of cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions of energy literacy are created. In the textbooks, the theme of nuclear energy is mostly linked to the cognitive dimension, when basic knowledge of numbers and facts is obtained, comparisons are presented, e.g. volumes of nuclear fuel processing in different countries, changes in nuclear energy in different regions, and depiction of the process of recycling of nuclear waste. The formation of other dimensions, i.e., behavioural and attitudinal (affective), is given little attention, and the development of these components is quite episodic.

When implementing the geography curriculum and using the geography textbook to deliver the topic on energy, teachers face basic problems: it is not clear how the theme of energy meets the development of energy literacy, textbooks display outdated factual information, it is difficult to trace the consistency in the formation of the competences. To make the process of development of energy literacy consistent, grounding on the findings of this investigation, it is recommended to link the formal curriculum to non-formal activities, which could be implemented by employing the resources of educational tourism. The educational route of nuclear tourism in the INPP and Visaginas town being designed by the researchers that was mentioned at the beginning of the chapter can facilitate teachers gaining the most relevant information on the situation of energy industry (including nuclear), complexly forming the cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions in energy literacy.

The analysis of the geography curriculum and textbooks helped the researchers to better perceive how it was possible to bring the content of the nuclear tourism route, as non-formal education, closer to formal education (in this case, the geography curriculum). Within the route, the information on the INPP may be introduced as a moment of the historical development of energy sector in Lithuania, i.e., by presenting that when the INPP operated it was a very significant part in the development of the entire economy of Lithuania; however, the economic, political and social changes that took place after the closure of the power plant made a significant impact on the context of energy system ←369 | 370→and the development of the whole country. In this case, the route may represent the situation of the closure of the INPP, the changes, current energy sources-focused map (underlining that nuclear energy is no longer produced and other types of energy are becoming more important) and available prospects for the development of energy sector. Knowledge on the INPP can be connected to the concept of the changing energy landscape.

The route could include a relevant revelation of the social aspect of energy production and use because exactly in real environment (Visaginas town) one can present and perceive the way how nuclear industry influenced social processes: foundation of mono-industrial settlements in hinterlands, participation of top level specialists of nuclear energy sector, functioning of social and cultural infrastructure. The economic, demographic, social environment of Visaginas also allows understanding how social processes take place after the closure of the nuclear power plant.

The analysis of the textbooks on geography revealed that aiming at a comprehensive concept of the phenomenon (nuclear energy) materials must be characteristic of consistently growing complexity; therefore, the projection of its presentation could ground on the logic available in the textbooks: by rendering the content growing from specific very simple concepts to more complex levels. In such a case, teachers would find the possibilities to choose: to deliver the nuclear topic consistently, starting from lower forms (forms 6–7), or choosing the logic of growing complexity of content and consistency (e.g. in form 9, starting from elementary knowledge and facts, consistently moving to the most complex geo-political, geo-economic evaluation). In such a way, it appears important to render and choose the learning strategies. Seeking to render simple information and knowledge, methods of work in groups, discussions, studying and discussing of sources can be employed both in classroom and field within the tourism route; whereas when moving to the development of more complex skills, learning strategies encompassing several skills are necessary to apply when using a virtual tourist route or visiting Visaginas. In such a case, in both formal education lessons and in the settings of non-formal outdoor education, the following methods are recommended: digital storytelling, use of the GIS, problem-based learning, project design and narrative play strategies. When applying these methods, students could perform investigations of natural and social environment employing the GIS; present relevant projects on energy consumption and environmental protection; solve relevant issues of town development (project design); and carry out investigations of a demographic situation, place and cultural identity of the town and its residents (digital storytelling, narrative play). Thus, purposeful interaction of formal and ←370 | 371→non-formal education would appear ensuring complexity of the development of the geographic competence because the process of teaching would proceed in real-world environment and by applying interactive methods.

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