How do preservice teachers perceive ‘environment’ and its relevance to their area of teaching?

TitleHow do preservice teachers perceive ‘environment’ and its relevance to their area of teaching?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsYavetz, B, Goldman, D, Pe’er, S
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Pagination354 - 371
Date Published2014/05/04/
ISBN Number1350-4622
Keywordsenvironmental education, environmental philosophy, perception of environment, sustainability, teacher education
AbstractThe environment is not only an ecological entity distinct from people but a cultural, social, and political construct. Understanding how learners conceptualize ‘environment’ may contribute to more effective environmental education (EE). This study investigated, in a paired pre–post design, 215 students’ understandings of ‘environment’ and perceptions of its relevance to their teaching area, at the onset and toward the end of their studies in teacher-education colleges in Israel. While student teachers, regardless of their major, acknowledged the importance of EE to their future function as teachers, they do not demonstrate an adequate understanding of the concept environment: humans are not viewed as part of the environment nor is the environment understood as a complex web of interactions among people, man-made systems and natural ecosystems. The fact that toward the end of studies, student teachers’ understandings of environment remained essentially basic indicates the necessity to reorient teacher-education programs toward EE. The various ways in which students perceived the relevance of environment to their teaching area are the starting points for this change.