Publication Date

5-2013

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Ric Keaster, Director, Sharon Spall, Bud Schlinker

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research

Degree Type

Specialist in Education

Abstract

As the human population increases, it becomes increasingly more important for society to understand the impact of humans on the environment. Preserving fixed resources by engaging in sustainable practices is necessary to ensure those resources are available for future generations. Since the early 1960s, policy makers and educators alike have sought to ensure that students graduate environmentally literate. Previous research has identified a multitude of barriers that limit classroom teacher’s ability to integrate environmental education into their curriculum. The purpose of this study was to investigate how teachers overcome those barriers that restrict the integration of action based environmental education into the public school classroom. This was a three case study of public high school teachers. Data were gathered for this qualitative study through observations, interviews, and the collection of documents. Constant comparative method was utilized to analyze data. The researcher conducted a within-case analysis for each case and a cross-case analysis as well. Through the use of coding, the researcher identified patterns and themes across cases. Barriers identified by participants included resources, time, and risk. The primary factors uncovered by this study, which potentially affect teacher efficacy, are personal and educational background, the availability of mentors, and support of outside agencies. The implications for policy makers and institutions of higher education that can be drawn from this study are that, through the course of teacher undergraduate and graduate education, teachers should be provided with field experiences in the area of environmental education. In addition to providing field experiences, finding ways to link teachers to outside environmentally focused agencies and mentors increases teacher efficacy by providing support and resources.

Disciplines

Community-Based Learning | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Methods | Nature and Society Relations