University of Oulu

Understanding the environmental education curriculum implementation gap through teachers’ beliefs

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Author: Wang, Yinghui1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 59
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : Y. Wang, 2016
Publish Date: 2016-06-06
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Järvelä, Maria-Liisa
Reviewer: Järvelä, Maria-Liisa
Pellikka, Anne
Given the serious environmental crisis happening in China, Environmental Education (EE) has been given more and more attention by the government, educators, public and researchers. EE in China has been increasingly promoted in recent years especially within the formal education system. However, there are always difficulties and problems involved in bringing Environmental Education into the classroom. This study focuses on the Chinese National Environmental Education Curriculum implementation issues. It aims to understand the curriculum implementation gap between the intended written curriculum and the teachers’ perceived curriculum. As the teacher is in the center of this phenomenon, there is a special focus on the teachers’ beliefs system. The research questions leading this study are 1) What are the teachers’ beliefs about EE? 2) What are their perceptions on the implementation of the EE Curriculum? 3) What role does the National EE curriculum play in teaching practice? From a phenomenological approach, a qualitative study has been conducted in Tianjin, one of the major cities in China. Four primary school teachers from two public primary schools have been interviewed. The beliefs generated from common sources are mainly discussed as a way to make generalizations. Thematic analysis has been applied to analyze the interview data. The results are presented around three themes which are the teachers’ beliefs on EE, pedagogical practice of EE and EE curriculum application. The research has shown that the teachers have a basic understanding of EE but insufficient teaching methods, and the results also revealed some negative attitudes among the teachers. The curriculum mainly serves as a framework and theoretical reference with very limited use in teaching practice. Based on this study, the EE curriculum implementation gap is mainly generated from the teachers’ insufficient pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and the marginal status of EE in the system. Therefore, it has been suggested that in order to narrow the implementation gap, improvements should be made to teaching training, educative curriculum design, parents’ education and the legalization of EE. Due to the fact that the study has been conducted in the context of Tianjin, the results cannot be generalized to the whole country. But the results can set up references for other cities that share similar educational and social conditions with Tianjin.
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