Date of Award

1992

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Dr Graham Deller

Second Advisor

Ron Day

Abstract

This study examined the concerns of teachers when implementing environmental education into classroom programmes. A metropolitan district of Perth was used for data collection. Four schools and thirteen teachers participated in the study. The measure of concern was calculated using the Stages of Concern Questionnaire. The concerns were then subjected to a SAS computing analysis· programme to determine the relationship between level of concern and predetermined factors. These factors were personal factors: teaching experience; knowledge of the principles of environmental education; colleague support and year level taught; and school-level factors: the presence of school policies; participation in inservices or workshops; Principal advocacy; and available resources and support. To substantiate the quantitative data collected, a multi-method approach to data collection and analysis was incorporated into the study. Three styles of qualitative measure were included in the study design. These qualitative measures were obtained by: an open-ended statement of concern; a demographic profile for each individual; and informal interviews, discussions and observations. The results showed that knowledge of the principles of environmental education, the presence of school policies, participation in workshops and the availability of resources and support had the greatest influence on level of teacher concern. The overall response pattern of the district was of a nonuser. Interpretation of individual responses and patterns of individual profiles revealed that teachers could be categorised into five sub-groups. These sub-groups were the anxious user, the experienced user, the inexperienced anxious user, the nonuser, and the unconcerned user. The presence of anxiety was indicated to be the product of lack of knowledge about the innovation. The conclusions made from this study were: 1. Teachers implementing environmental education were, on the whole, confused and lacked understanding of what environmental education constituted. 2. The characteristics of environmental education, and the conflicting ideologies that it presents with implementation, have a relationship to the anxiety of the implementing agents. 3. The absence of structured professional development in preservice and inservice institutions has increased the level of concern and anxiety towards the innovation. 4. There was no significant relationship between teaching experience, colleague support or year level taught to the level of concern.

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