Publication Date

2006

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Rose, Amy D.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education

LCSH

Environmental education--Middle West||Teachers--Middle West--Attitudes

Abstract

Following the environmental awakening of the last third of the twentieth century, anchored by the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, education, and its frontline providers—teachers—were expected to become the dominant engines for realizing the new ideal of an environmentally literate populace. In reality, no such change has yet occurred despite continuous efforts from a variety of governmental and nongovernmental entities. A review of the literature revealed that there was something missing in research on the preparation of teachers for environmental education. There did not appear to be any research into why teachers who embrace the idea of environmental education as a fundamental part of education do so in the first place. In this study, described as basic qualitative research, I used a multiple-session interview technique to explore, in depth, the life experiences of the phenomenon I refer to as “an exemplary K-12 environmental educator.” The pool of potential participants was composed of environmental education award winners from several states in the upper Midwest. Ten teachers were recruited from the available pool. Among these 10 were represented both genders, teaching in grades ranging from grade 2 through grade 12. The results of this study provide a look into a complex set of interactions which were eventually manifested as the phenomenon of interest. Highlights of the findings indicate that 1) a strong connection to the environment was developed early in life, 2) this connection was the result of experiences shared in the outdoors with significant others, 3) a love of learning and self-directedness are both integral to who these individuals are, 4) the study participants, as K-12 educators, draw heavily from the support of relevant professional associations. Implications for the continuing professional education of teachers in environmental education are that more emphasis is needed on awareness and affect as components of new continuing professional education offerings that more fully employ transformational and constructivist learning strategies. The influences of work context and the collegial and personal support of professional organizations are also keys to broadening the practitioner base in K-12 environmental education.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (pages [217]-226).

Extent

xv, 237 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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