Efforts to develop and implement environmental education (EE) in classrooms across the United States need to be grounded in understanding teachers' perceptions of EE. A case study format was selected as an effective means of eliciting a wide range of the teachers' perceptions and capturing an in-depth elaboration of the complexity and internal consistency of those perceptions. The research questions for this study are: 1) What are the participating elementary teachers' perceptions of EE? 2) What are the participating elementary teachers' perceptions of ideal EE? 3) What are the participating elementary teachers' perceptions of the reality of teaching EE? And 4) How do the individual participating teachers' three types of EE perceptions misalign?
Case studies of four elementary classroom teachers from the same school building were constructed from survey questions, interviews, and resource materials. Analysis and interpretation of the data were conducted using two sets of descriptors, strength and development, of the identified themes. The major implications of this study include (a) efforts supporting the implementation of EE need to account for the context that exists in the school, and how the structure of the school interplays with the implementation; (b) the need for teacher professional development in EE with considerations for teaching context, teachers' personal EE connections, and variability in teacher understanding, and (c) the complexity and diversity in the expression of teachers' EE perceptions needs to be attended in EE implementation efforts, as well as in research exploring teacher perceptions of EE.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. Dissertation. December 2010. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Fred N. Finley and Gillian H. Roehrig. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 218 pages, appendices A-E.
Bengtson, Karen Jo Maier.
Elementary teachers' perceptions of environmental education..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.