Title

Professional development of two 5th grade social studies teachers to infuse environmental education effectively in their teaching

Date of Award

8-1-2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

Environmental Education (EE) is a cross-curriculum approach to learning, which helps individuals and groups in understanding the environment with the ultimate aim of developing caring and committed attitudes that will foster the desire and ability to act responsibly in the environment (Meadows, 1990). This educational project addressed the schools' needs to enhance professional development of two primary Social Studies teachers to infuse EE in their teaching. Project activities were designed on EE framework ABOUT, IN and FOR the environment (Palmer & Niel, 1994). The project was implemented in an English medium school of Karachi, Pakistan. The main activities of project for teachers' capacity-building were in the form of three workshops, four reinforcement sessions, a co-planning period, and teaching and a field visit. By participating in these activities, teachers were able to: a) enhance the pedagogical content knowledge about environmental education, b) develop the capacity to analyze the existing Social Studies textbook for identifying the context/orientation at which an environmental education dimension is presented and enriching it by infusing environmental education, c) prepare integrated lesson plans and teach them in the real classroom using effective teaching and learning strategies. The project also provided participants with ongoing opportunity to enact, reflect upon, and refine their practices, while exploring their knowledge and beliefs about EE. The project delivered substantially more than that was originally outlined, holding twice as many workshops and reinforcement sessions, as planned in the proposal. In addition, an effective deliverable in the form of a manual was developed. The project also provided an opportunity to the school to build its networking with WWF Pakistan. After implementing project, it was realized that to impart quality professional development in the area of EE in a school structure, resources such as time, finance, materials, and school administration support are needed. Besides these, teachers' self-motivation and involvement to integrate EE in their practices and willingness to improve practices is crucial. I conclude that designing and implementing infusion of environmental education projects can enhance professional development of teachers in the area of EE. Yet, in order to achieve the desired project goal, careful designing of activities, monitoring, and evaluation are crucial.

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