Environmental Education & Ecology in a Life Science Course for Preservice K-8 Teachers Using Project Wildlife in Learning Design (Report)
The American Biology Teacher 2010, March, 72, 3
The American Biology Teacher
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In the United States, environmental education (EE) in preservice teacher-education programs has not been institutionalized and is often driven by one person who teaches a specialty course in the topic or integrates environmental education into existing classes (McKeown-Ice, 2000). Teacher-education institutions are forced by state legislatures and state boards of education to include numerous courses in general and professional education, which leaves little time for specialty courses such as EE (Powers, 2004). Because of these factors, EE is in a precarious position at many teacher-preparation institutions, its implementation varies greatly, and preservice teachers are not systematically prepared to teach this subject (McKeown-Ice, 2000). Barriers to the incorporation of EE into preservice education programs include limited course time, low faculty interest in or commitment to EE, lack of faculty knowledge of the subject and pedagogy, limited faculty preparation time, poor access to EE resources, little administrative interest or support, limited financial support, students' aversion to science and to being out doors, and low student interest in EE (McKeown-Ice, 2000; Heimlich et al., 2004; Powers, 2004; Mastrilli, 2005; Van Petegem et al., 2007). In preservice elementary education programs in Pennsylvania, the two positive factors noted most frequently in implementing EE into preservice education programs were state certification guidelines and standards that included EE and high levels of faculty interest and knowledge (Mastrilli, 2005). Among 18 faculty surveyed about including EE in preservice education, most used prepackaged, nationally disseminated EE curricula, and most agreed that infusing EE into teaching-methods courses is preferable to offering a new course and that preservice is an important place in the educational system to infuse EE (Powers, 2004). Elementary teacher-education programs at 42 Pennsylvania institutions most often had EE components incorporated into science methods, biology, or general methods classes (Heimlich et al., 2004; Mastrilli, 2005), and nationwide preservice EE is usually integrated into existing coursework, primarily in science methods courses (McKeown-Ice, 2000).
- Category: Life Sciences
- Published: 01 March 2010
- Publisher: National Association of Biology Teachers
- Print Length: 16 Pages
- Language: English