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Title:Teachers' Perceptions and Circumstances That Influence Willingness to Teach Environmental Studies
Author(s):Johnson, Warren Dale
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Sciences
Abstract:The study addressed five key questions: (1) What are teachers' perceptions of environmental studies? (2) Do teachers perceive that what they are teaching in their curriculum is environmental studies? (3) What kind of materials do teachers present when teaching environmental studies? (4) What experiences do teachers believe influenced their interest in environmental studies? (5) What factors might or might not have a bearing upon whether they teach environmental studies?
Data for the study were collected in two phases. Phase I consisted of an exploratory survey of all the elementary teachers in four schools in a small Midwestern industrial city. Phase II consisted of focused interviews with fourteen teachers selected according to their responses to specific questions on the questionnaire used in phase I. Relevant data were gleaned from the teachers' responses to provide profiles which illustrated each of the interviewed teacher's positions with regard to the five key questions.
Among the more significant findings in the study are the following: Teachers' definitions of environmental studies are similar to definitions given by environmental educators. Teachers are concerned about the environment and are predisposed to teach ES. All teachers were teaching ES in one form or another, usually within science, social studies or reading. The environmental activities most often selected by teachers, exemplified by litter pick-up and plant or animal care, seem to have the same set of attributes; they teach moral values; they are simple to do; they provide immediate and obvious feedback; and the "lessons" are relevant to the life of the student. In general, ES topics are introduced in a whimsical manner. ES sources often used by teachers are science and social studies texts, student news magazines, nature publications, and news media. Teachers feel a variety of experiences influenced their interest in ES and no specific kind of experience can be identified as more important than another. The constraints to teaching ES most often mentioned by teachers are inadequate academic preparation, lack of time, student personal problems, and limited ES materials.
Recommendations made by the researcher to alleviate these problems are: goals/objectives for a comprehensive K-12 school environmental studies program, broad guidelines for a preservice teacher education program in ES, recommendations for developing teacher in-service workshops in ES, and establishment of a state level Environment/Energy Education Clearinghouse and newsletter.
Issue Date:1980
Description:199 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8017956
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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