Title

Primary teachers' understanding of biodiversity

Date of Award

8-1-2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

Keeping in view the worldwide concern about environmental issues, and the emphasis given to environmental concepts in the National Curriculum 2002 for Primary Science, this study attempted to investigate the existing understanding of 75 primary schoolteachers in the area of biodiversity. These teachers were selected from 17 primary schools of three different educational systems (Government, Private, AKES). Data for the study was collected through a questionnaire survey. A similar kind of study has already been done in the United Kingdom, and so the same questionnaire was used in this study after making a few changes and modifications in it. The findings of the study suggest that primary teachers in this sample demonstrated a considerable understanding of the basic concepts of biodiversity, and overall, 68% of their responses were correct. However, certain areas within the broader concept of biodiversity, were difficult for the teachers, such as, interbreeding between different species and the causes of variation in individuals of species. In these areas primary teachers showed very little understanding and the percentage of their correct responses was significantly low. The comparison of the result with the findings of UK study reveals that overall, the teachers of Pakistan showed a better understanding of the concept. In fact in some areas, the percentage of their correct responses was much higher than those of UK teachers. The teachers of UK also showed a marginally better understanding than the Pakistani teachers in a certain areas of the concept. In the current study, no relationship between teachers' professional qualification and their understanding could be seen. However, the teachers' background in biology and training from the AKU-IED influenced their understanding to some extent. There was very little impact of the teachers' academic qualification on their understanding of the concept. The study has identified areas, where primary teachers lack understanding, face problems and need professional support. Based on these findings, professional development programmes could be designed for teachers so as to enhance their subject matter understanding of environmental concepts like biodiversity'.

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