K12 Professional Development and Outreach

EE Final Report

Teacher Perspectives on Environmental Education and School Improvement

Final Report

November, 1999

Prepared by:

Dr. Anne R. Kearney

Research on People on Their Environments

1135 20th Avenue East

Seattle, WA 98112

Submitted to:

Model Links "Environmental Education and School Improvement" Program

North Mason School District #403

P.O. Box 167

Belfair, WA 98528

and

The Evergreen Center for Educational Improvement

Evergreen State College

Library 2211

Olympia, WA 98505

Ó Dr. Anne Kearney

If you would like a copy of this report, please contact the Evergreen Center for Educational Improvement, Evergreen State College, Library 2211, Olympia, WA 98505.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements i

Executive Summary *

Introduction *

Study Overview *

Phase One *

Phase One Methods *

Participants *

Measurement Instruments *

Analysis *

Phase One Results *

Overall Themes: Environmental Education *

Overall Themes: School Improvement *

Perceived Relationships Between Environmental Education and School Improvement *

Phase One Summary *

Phase Two *

Phase Two Methods *

Participants *

Measurement Instrument *

Analysis *

Phase Two Results *

Descriptives *

Familiarity with EE and EE Guidelines *

EE and Instructional Strategies *

EE and Curriculum Integration *

Perceived Goals of EE *

Perceived Impacts of EE *

Environmental Attitudes and Interest *

Perceived Barriers to EE *

Conclusions and Implications *

Conceptualizations of EE *

EE and School Improvement *

Target Populations *

References *

Appendix A: Phase One Interview Protocol *

Appendix B: Questionnaire *

List of Tables

Table 1. Common themes and sub-themes, reflecting participant conceptualizations of EE. *

Table 2. Common themes and sub-themes, reflecting participant conceptualizations of school improvement. *

Table 3. Perceived relationships between environmental education and school improvement. *

Table 4. Amount of EE training. *

Table 5. Grade levels taught by EE and Non-EE respondents. *

Table 6. Subjects taught by EE and Non-EE respondents. *

Table 7. Location of schools in which respondents teach. *

Table 8. Income level of student body at schools in which respondents teach. *

Table 9. Means and standard deviations for EE and Non-EE teachers within each attitude and interest variable. *

Table 10. Use of teaching strategies by EE and Non-EE teachers. *

Table 11. Level of training on teaching strategies for EE and Non-EE teachers. *

Table 12. Curriculum integration themes and concepts. *

Table 13. Cited values of using an integrated curriculum. *

Table 14. Respondents� belief in the environment as an effective curriculum integrator. *

Table 15. Perceived value of EE as a curriculum integrator. *

Table 16. Non-environmental themes that teachers believe are good for integrating
the curriculum.
*

Table 17. Factor analysis results: Perceived goals of environmental education. *

Table 18. differences between EE and non-EE teachers in terms of perceived goals of EE.. *

Table 19. Perceived impacts of environmental education. *

Table 20. differences between EE and non-EE teachers in terms of perceived impacts of EE.. *

Table 21. Means and standard deviations for EE and Non-EE teachers within each attitude and interest variable. *

Table 22. Factors that may encourage Non-EE teachers to include EE in their instruction. *

List of Figures

Figure 1. Non-EE teacher�s 3CM representation of "environmental education"������.���...7

Figure 2. 3CM representation from a teacher with moderate experience in EE����������...7

Figure 3. 3CM representation from an EE Expert��������������������.���..8

Acknowledgements

A great number of individuals provided guidance and support for this project. The idea of exploring teachers� perspectives on environmental education and school improvement came from Marcia Wiley at the North Mason School District Model Links Program. Funding was provided by the Model Links Program and the Evergreen Center for Educational Improvement and was orchestrated by Marcia and Magda Costantino.

The following individuals provided guidance on the nature and scope of the study: John Bergvall, Erin Caldwell, Rhonda Hunter, Bev Isenson, Margaret Paterson, Margaret Tudor, and Debbie Wing.

Thanks to the following individuals for their insights: Tony Angell, Martha Avery, Lynne Ferguson, Jean MacGregor, Mike Mercer, Martha Monroe, Kathleen Plato, Bora Simmons, Laurie Usher, and Rick Wilke.

Lynne Adair provided excellent support on Phase One logistics. Gary Burris, Julie Bradley, Dakota Inyoswan, Joanne Johnson, Kate MacPhearson, and Sue Shannon helped identify study participants. Diane Evans was particularly helpful in organizing the Phase Two mailing lists. Shawna Micic provided help with data entry.

A special thanks to Margaret Tudor and the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department for providing the posters for survey participants.

Finally, thanks to the many teachers who participated in interviews and completed the questionnaire.

Executive Summary

How do teachers conceptualize environmental education (EE)? Do they perceive a link between EE and school improvement? A 2-phase study conducted in Washington State examined these questions. Phase One consisted of in-depth interviews with teachers with varying levels of experience with EE and with experts in the field of EE. The central questions addressed in Phase One were the following:

  • How is EE conceptualized by teachers?
  • Do teachers� conceptualizations differ based on their experience with EE?
  • Do teachers� conceptualizations differ from how experts in the field understand EE?
  • Do teachers perceive a relationship between EE and school improvement factors (i.e., impacts on teaching and student learning)?

Phase One results indicate that teachers do have a relatively broad conceptualization of EE but that the perceived link between EE and school improvement is not strong. This finding suggests that opportunities exist to tie EE to the concepts of curriculum integration and effective teaching strategies in teachers� minds. These results led to many new questions, some of which were addressed in Phase Two.

Phase Two consisted of a survey of grade 4-8 teachers who were identified as "EE teachers" and a random sample of grade 4-8 teachers from 6 different Educational Service Districts (ESDs). The central questions addressed in Phase Two were the following:

  • What is the relationship of EE to integrated curriculum?
  • What is the relationship of EE to effective teaching strategies?
  • Do teachers who practice EE and those who do not differ in terms of perceptions, attitudes, and demographics?
  • What do teachers who do not practice EE believe would encourage them to include EE in their instruction?

Phase Two results (based on 295 responses) suggest that:

  • Overall, substantial differences do not exist between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of their understandings of EE, attitudes toward the environment, and demographic factors.
  • EE is related to school improvement factors that teachers and others care about, but teachers may not perceive that such a relationship exists.
  • Many teachers do not have a concrete image of how EE and curriculum integration are related.
  • Including training in effective teaching strategies along with "traditional" EE training may encourage the adoption of EE.

Introduction

The idea for this study came from the Model Links program based at the North Mason School District in Washington State. Since 1995, the program has used environmental education (EE) as a tool to integrate school curriculum and help implement Washington�s Essential Academic Learning Requirements (ELRs) in reading, writing, communication, and mathematics. Recent research on the impacts of the program (Yap, 1998) suggests that an EE-based curriculum, properly implemented, may indeed positively impact student achievement.

A positive relationship between EE and school improvement (i.e., improvements in teaching and student learning) has been shown in other studies, including a nationwide study conducted by the State Education and Environment Roundtable (Lieberman and Hoody, 1998). This largely qualitative study explored the implications of curriculum based on the notion of the "environment as an integrating context" (EIC) for student learning and instruction. Results showed that the benefits of EIC-based programs for students are broad ranging and include:

  • Reduced discipline and classroom management problems;
  • Increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning;
  • Better relationships among teachers and between teachers and students;
  • Greater pride and ownership in accomplishments;
  • Better performance on some standardized measures of academic achievement in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.

Despite this evidence for a positive relationship between EE and school improvement, it is unclear whether the majority of teachers perceive that such a relationship exists. For example, one reason the Model Links report cited for low levels of program implementation at some schools was the apparent lack of awareness and understanding on the part of school staff that EE is a useful tool for integrating curriculum and implementing Washington�s ELRs. The report noted that: "These school staff failed to see the relationship between EE and the improvement of teaching and learning" (p. iii).

The Model Links report led to interest in studying whether or not teachers do, in fact, perceive a link between EE and school improvement, particularly with respect to curriculum integration. As discussion of a study plan progressed, it became clear that a more fundamental question would need to be answered first: that is, how do teachers understand, or conceptualize, EE itself? In particular, are teachers� conceptualizations different from the conceptualizations of EE trainers and program coordinators? Training or communication aimed at helping teachers to see the link between EE and school improvement may have little effect if teachers� images of what EE is differ significantly from the communicator or trainer.

In particular, some have suggested that teachers may hold fairly one-dimensional perspectives on EE, conceptualizing it, for example, as a set of fieldtrips, environmental science (content-based), or environmental advocacy. If indeed teachers� conceptualizations of EE are abbreviated they may provide little room for linkages to school improvement. In this case, these conceptualizations must first be broadened before the linkage can be understood.

The study was thus conducted in 2 phases: in the first phase data on teacher conceptualizations of EE were collected and the perceived relationship between EE and school improvement was explored; in the second phase, relationships between EE and school improvement were studied in more detail.

Study Overview

A 2-phase study was conducted of teacher perceptions of EE and their perceptions of the relationship between EE and school improvement (i.e., impacts on teaching and student learning). Study participants were Washington State teachers of grades 4-8.

Phase One was an in-depth exploration of both teacher and EE "expert" conceptualizations of EE and of the perceived relationships between EE and school improvement. Phase Two built on Phase One by surveying a broad range of EE and Non-EE teachers. The survey further explored the relationship between EE and school improvement, particularly with respect to integrated curriculum and effective teaching strategies. In addition, the survey explored differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of perceptions, attitudes, and demographics.

Phase One

The purpose of Phase One was to explore the following questions:

  • How is EE conceptualized by teachers of grades 4 to 8? Do their conceptualizations differ based on their level of experience with EE?
  • Do teachers� conceptualizations differ from how experts in the field understand EE? Identifying such differences may highlight important themes to include in EE training.
  • Do teachers perceive a relationship between EE and school improvement factors (i.e., impacts on teaching and student learning)?

Phase One Methods

Phase One was exploratory and consisted of in-depth interviews which included 2 open-ended cognitive mapping tasks and open-ended questions.

Participants

Study participants included teachers with varying levels of experience with EE and experts in the field of EE. A total of 12 Washington teachers of grades 4 to 8 participated; teachers were included from rural, suburban, and urban areas. Teachers� experience with EE ranged from 0 to 15 years. Teachers who did EE were identified by coordinators of 4 different EE programs. Teachers who did not do EE were identified by coordinators of non-EE teacher programs.

Nine experts in the field of EE in Washington State participated in the study. These experts coordinated EE programs, conducted EE training, and/or were involved in EE policy within the state. Experts were identified through a snowball sampling approach: initial contacts were made within the Washington State EE community and these participants were asked for additional contacts. The intent was to sample from a broad range of perspectives and contacts were specifically asked to identify experts who may have divergent views of EE.

Measurement Instruments

Cognitive mapping tasks and open-ended questions were administered to each participant individually during the course of an in-person interview. Interviews lasted from 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours.

Cognitive Mapping Task

Two separate open-ended conceptual content cognitive map (3CM) tasks (Kearney and Kaplan, 1997) were used to assess each participants� conceptualization of "environmental education" and "school improvement."

The 3CM method is a means of assessing mental models � that is, how an individual or group thinks about, or conceptualizes, a particular topic. Data obtained through a 3CM task provide information on the factors an individual perceives to be relevant to a topic and the relationships among these factors. The technique is particularly effective in measuring people�s understanding of abstract issues and hence is suitable for the investigation of teachers� conceptualizations of "environmental education" and "school improvement."

3CM is a cardsorting approach and involves 3 major steps:

(1) Participant identifies important factors/concepts perceived to be relevant to the topic. These factors are recorded on a series of small cards or sticky-notes.

(2) Participant groups the cards in a way that depicts perceived relationships among factors.

(3) Participant labels groups, indicating why factors were clustered together.

The result is a visual display, or "map," of how the participant conceptualizes the topic. Content analysis of a group of maps can provide information on how that group, as a whole, conceptualizes the topic.

Participants were first asked to complete their maps regarding environmental education. They were asked to:

Imagine that one of your student teachers with no experience in environmental education comes to you and asks what EE is all about. From your perspective, what are the key components of EE? What would a good EE program look like?

What would EE mean for the students (what would they be doing/ learning)?

What would EE mean for instruction?

Based on this question, participants identified components of EE and then completed the 3CM task as described.

Following the 3CM on "environmental education," participants completed a second 3CM task on "school improvement." This task began with the following question:

There has been a lot of talk in this state about the need to improve schools. What do you see as they key components of a school improvement effort? What are the important factors to consider?

Open-Ended Questions

After participants had completed both 3CM tasks, they were asked whether they saw a relationship between EE and school improvement and, if so, how they were related. In addition, participants were asked about the following:

  • Educational background
  • Involvement and training in EE
  • Perceived barriers to doing EE
  • What led to their interest in EE (for those practicing EE)
  • Training specific to school improvement
  • Age

Analysis

Content analyses of the 3CM data (i.e., both the individual items mentioned and the categorization schemes for these items) were performed to identify general themes and sub-themes related to EE and school improvement.

Following identification of the general themes and sub-themes, differences and similarities between the teachers and the experts in terms of frequency of mention of these themes was computed using the following procedure:

  1. Individual items in each participant�s 3CM organization were coded as belonging to one of the general themes or sub-themes or to "other."
  2. For each general theme and sub-theme, the number of participants in each group (teachers and experts) who included at least one item from that category was recorded.

Responses to open-ended questions, in particular the question of perceived relationships between environmental education and school improvement were also subjected to content analysis. Common responses were identified and the percentages of teachers and experts who mentioned those responses were calculated.

Phase One Results

Overall Themes: Environmental Education

Examples of several participants� 3CM tasks for "environmental education" are shown in Figures 1 through 3. Content analysis of all participants� 3CM items and categories resulted in the identification of eleven general EE themes: Concrete Content, Abstract Content, Academic Areas, Teaching Approach, Where EE Takes Place, Student-Centered, Involvement, Gaining Environmental Knowledge, Fostering Pro-Environmental Values and Behavior, General Skill Development, and Exploring Values and Perspectives. These themes represent how the participants, as a group, frame the topic of environmental education. It is important to note that individual participants would likely only have addressed a portion of these themes in their own 3CM organization. That is, not all of the general themes, or sub-themes, were considered relevant by all of the participants. The general themes and sub-themes are shown in Table 1, where they have been grouped into categories for ease of presentation. The inclusion rates of items within each theme and sub-theme are shown for both teachers and experts.

Contrary to expectations, teachers who did not practice environmental education or who had little experience with environmental education did not have one-dimensional conceptualizations of "environmental education." In other words, all teachers, regardless of experience had a relatively broad view of environmental education � one that extended beyond EE as nature content or EE as outdoor activities (see Figure 1). In general, however, the depth of participants� conceptualizations increased with increasing experience. That is, more experience was positively correlated with a greater number of both 3CM categories and items.

As can be seen from Table 1, there were some differences between teachers and EE experts in terms of the percentage of participants from each group who included particular themes and sub-themes is their 3CM arrangement. In terms of the content of environmental education, experts and teachers were in general agreement, although experts were more likely than teachers to view Social Studies and Development as important components of EE. There was general agreement on the goals of EE, with the exception of General Skill Development; experts were more likely than teachers to mention factors related to general skill development � such as problem solving skills, learning about consensus, and developing civic literacy � as important components of environmental education. While both teachers and experts agreed that fostering pro-environmental values and behavior was an important goal of EE, experts emphasized action-taking ("learning what kids can do to make a difference" and "taking action") and personal responsibility more than teachers.

Overall Themes: School Improvement

Twelve general themes were identified through content analysis of the 3CM items and categories in participants� "school improvement" 3CM organizations: Goals and Expectations, School Environment, Curriculum, Student Skills, Assessment, Resources and Training, Instructional Approach, Teacher Needs, Internal Involvement, External Involvement, Funding and Incentives, and Staff Support for Change. Again, these themes represent how the participants, as a group, frame the topic of school improvement. Table 2 shows the general themes and sub-themes as well as the inclusion rates for teachers and experts.

Overall, there were very few differences between EE experts� and teachers� 3CM arrangements. This results is perhaps not surprising as the EE experts were not necessarily experts in the field of school improvement and thus would not necessarily be expected to have a different understading of the domain than teachers.

Table 1. Common themes and sub-themes, reflecting participant conceptualizations of EE. The inclusion rates listed are the percentages of participants who included at least one item in their 3CM representation related to the given theme or sub-theme.

Major Theme

Sub-Themes

Expert Inclusion Rate

Teacher Inclusion Rate

CONTENT:

Concrete Content

Development

Land use

Wildlife and habitat

Water

37%

37%

13%

13%

25%

33%

8%

8%

25%

8%

Abstract Content

Systems

Nature cycle

Diversity

Sustainability

50%

37%

0%

25%

0%

58%

8%

25%

25%

16%

Academic Areas

88%

67%

Science

75%

41%

Social Studies

62%

25%

History

37%

16%

Reading

12%

25%

Math

12%

16%

Writing

0%

16%

PROCESS:

Teaching Approach

Integrated/ Interdisciplinary

Hands-on learning

Problem/Project-based

Inquiry-based approach

Teachers as facilitators

Meeting different learning styles

87%

62%

25%

25%

12%

12%

25%

58%

33%

41%

16%

16%

25%

8%

Where EE Takes Place

Local issues

Real-world experience

Outdoor experience

Scale

62%

0%

37%

25%

0%

75%

25%

16%

41%

16%

Major Theme

Sub-Themes

Expert Inclusion Rate

Teacher Inclusion Rate

PROCESS:

Student Centered

Relevance to kids� lives

Engaging kids

75%

37%

62%

41%

33%

16%

Involvement

Community/Parental involvement

Collaboration

37%

25%

25%

50%

41%

8%

GOALS:

Gaining Environmental Knowledge

Developing an awareness of the environment

Learning about impact on environment

Developing environmental literacy

87%

37%

62%

25%

91%

16%

83%

8%

Fostering Pro-Environmental Values and Behavior

Impacting values/attitudes

Stewardship

Learning what kids can do to make a difference

Behavioral change

Taking action

Personal responsibility

87%

62%

25%

62%

25%

25%

37%

83%

66%

41%

8%

0%

8%

8%

General Skill Development

Problem solving skills

Learning about consensus

Developing civic literacy

Critical thinking skills

Communication skills

EE as tool to meet academic standards

Other general skills

75%

50%

37%

25%

37%

37%

25%

50%

33%

0%

0%

0%

16%

16%

8%

8%

Exploring Values and Perspectives

Exploring own values

Acknowledging different points of view

50%

50%

25%

33%

16%

25%

Table 2. Common themes and sub-themes, reflecting participant conceptualizations of school improvement. The inclusion rates listed are the percentages of participants who included at least one item in their 3CM representation related to the given theme or sub-theme.

Major Theme

Sub-Themes

Expert Inclusion Rate

Teacher Inclusion Rate

LARGER ENVIRONMENT:

Goals and Expectations

Clear targets/expectations

Setting goals

Teacher accountability

Needs assessment

75%

50%

50%

25%

0%

66%

41%

8%

16%

41%

School Environment

Smaller class size

Safety

Building/ Physical infrastructure

Improved aesthetics

Building community

Positive school environment

Valuing education/ learning

50%

25%

12%

25%

0%

0%

12%

0%

75%

25%

33%

0%

16%

8%

16%

16%

STUDENT LEARNING:

Curriculum

Integrated curriculum

Holistic education

Relate curriculum to state standards

Curriculum design

Curriculum flexibility

75%

37%

12%

25%


25%

25%

41%

25%

16%

16%


8%

8%

Student Skills

Subject area focus

Improve Student Achievement

62%

0%

25%

50%

16%

8%

Assessment

Match assessment to goals

Connection between planning and assessment

Adequate assessment of students

75%

75%

25%

12%

50%

25%

16%

25%

Major Theme

Sub-Themes

Expert Inclusion Rate

Teacher Inclusion Rate

TEACHING:

Resources and Training

Teacher preparation

Professional development

Teachers support/ materials

Attracting good teachers

Resources and technology

87%

50%

75%

37%

12%

25%

83%

16%

58%

50%

0%

16%

Instructional Approach

Inquiry-based education

Project/Problem-based learning

Real-world experience

New/ Effective teaching strategies

Meeting different learning needs

62%

25%

12%

37%

25%

0%

58%

0%

16%

8%

16%

25%

Teacher Needs

Planning time

Flexible schedules

50%

12%

37%

58%

33%

16%

INVOLVEMENT:

Internal Involvement

Decision making by teachers and students

Collaboration/ communication

Kids taking care of school

62%

25%

25%

0%

66%

33%

33%

16%

External Involvement

Communication across schools

Parent involvement

Community Involvement

Using community resources

Understand public expectations

Political environment

87%

25%

50%

50%

25%

25%

25%

75%

16%

41%

50%

8%

0%

0%

SUPPORT:

Funding and Incentives

37%

50%

Staff Support for Change

12%

16%

Perceived Relationships Between Environmental Education and School Improvement

All of the experts and 11 of the 12 teachers said they perceived a relationship between environmental education and school improvement. Twenty -five percent of the teachers, however, were unable to cite concrete relationships between EE and school improvement, saying only that the two "were related." Non-EE teachers and teachers with little EE experience were particularly likely to give vague answers. Table 3 shows the range of specific relationships that were mentioned and gives the percentage of experts and teachers mentioning each relationship.

Despite the appearance of the "integrated curriculum" theme and the "effective teaching strategies" theme in both the 3CM themes for environmental education and the themes for school improvement, relatively few teachers perceived a link between EE and school improvement in terms of these themes. While 50% of experts said that EE fostered school improvement by facilitating curriculum integration, only 8% of teachers cited this link. Furthermore, only 25% of experts and none of the teachers said that EE fosters school improvement by supporting effective teaching strategies. These results indicate that there may be ways to make teachers aware of the links between EE and school improvement by drawing on concepts that are already part of their understanding of these domains.

Table 3. Perceived relationships between environmental education and school improvement.

Relationship Cited

Expert Inclusion Rate

Teacher Inclusion Rate

EE encourages community and parental involvement

50%

33%

EE facilitates curriculum integration

50%

8%

EE provides real world relevance

38%

25%

EE supports effective teaching strategies

25%

0%

EE ties into Washington State�s essential learning requirements (ELRs)

13%

17%

EE teaches problem solving skills

13%

8%

EE interests/ excites kids

13%

17%

EE builds school pride

13%

8%

Vague answers*

0%

25%

  • These teachers said that there was a relationship between EE and school improvement, but they could not provide any concrete imagery on that relationship.

Phase One Summary

Overall, the 3CM data show that:

  • Teachers have a relatively broad conceptualization of EE. The conceptualizations of teachers with less experience in EE were, not surprisingly, less deep in terms of the number of 3CM items mentioned; however, these conceptualization were also fairly broad.
  • Overall, the perceived link between EE and school improvement is not particularly strong among teachers despite the fact that most teachers agree the two domains are related. The lack of concrete imagery on the relationship between EE and school improvement was found especially among Non-EE and novice-EE teachers.
  • In particular, the impacts of EE in terms of fostering curriculum integration and promoting effective teaching strategies were not apparent to most teachers.

Phase Two

The results of Phase One suggest that teachers do have a relatively broad conceptualization of EE but that the perceived link between EE and school improvement is not strong. This finding suggests that opportunities exist to tie EE to the concepts of curriculum integration and effective teaching strategies in teachers� minds. These results led to many new questions, some of which were addressed in Phase Two.

Phase Two consisted of a survey of teachers of grades 4-8 who were identified as "EE teachers" and to a random sample of grade 4-8 teachers. The central questions addressed in Phase Two were the following:

  • What is the relationship of EE to integrated curriculum?
  • What is the relationship of EE to effective teaching strategies?
  • Do teachers who practice EE and those who do not differ in terms of perceptions, attitudes, and demographics?
  • What do teachers who do not practice EE believe would encourage them to include EE in their instruction?

Phase Two Methods

Participants

The target population was Washington State teachers of grades 4-8 who currently include environmental education in their instruction ("EE teachers") and those who do not ("Non-EE teachers"). To ensure that a sufficient number of EE teachers was included in the final sample and that good representation was obtained from both Eastern and Western Washington teachers, a stratified cluster sampling procedure was used. The clusters used in this case were Educational Service Districts (ESDs). Six ESDs were included in the sampling:

ESD Number

Location in Washington

Counties Included

105

East

Kittitas, Yakima counties; Royal, Wahluke school districts in Grant county; Bickleton, Goldendale school districts in Klickitat county

112

Southwest

Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania, Wahkiakum counties; part of Klickitat and Pacific counties

113

Central West

Grays Harbor, Lewis, Thurston counties; most of Mason and Pacific counties

123

East

Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Walla Walls, Franklin, and Benton counties; Othello school district in Adams county

189

Northwest

Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties

Puget Sound ESD

Seattle Metropolitan Area

King and Pierce counties; Bainbridge Island school district in Kitsap county

Within each ESD, EE and Non-EE teachers were sampled. A wide range of individuals in the state who do EE trainings or run EE programs (including those affiliated with state agencies, private companies, and non-profit organizations) were contacted and asked for the names of grade 4-8 teachers in the identified ESDs who practice EE. Confidentiality of teacher names was assured. In addition to the EE teachers, a random sample of grade 4-8 teachers was chosen from each ESD with the assumption that although some of these teachers may practice EE, many would not. The final EE and Non-EE lists were cross-referenced to avoid duplication.

Measurement Instrument

An 8-page written mail questionnaire was constructed based, in part, on Phase One results. The questionnaire included both open-ended and structured questions and was refined through a series of pre-tests. Responses to structured questions were recorded on a series of 5-point Likert Scales. In addition, participants were provided with space to write comments and concerns.

Questionnaires were mailed along with a cover letter and a tea bag, which was included as incentive to participate. As an additional incentive, participants who returned the questionnaire could receive a set of 4 posters if they so requested. These posters depicted scenes of Washington�s ecosystems and were provided by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Nine hundred and ninety eight (998) questionnaires were mailed. Of these, 335 were completed and returned and 33 were returned-to-sender because of a wrong address or because the recipient was not eligible to fill the questionnaire out (e.g., they were no longer working in Washington, or they were not teachers). The total response rate was 35%.

Questionnaire items addressed the following areas:

EE Experience

Level of training in EE was measured as well as the degree to which teachers currently include EE in their instruction.

Familiarity with EE and EE Guidelines

Teachers were asked how familiar they are with the content and process of EE and with Washington State�s EE mandate and guidelines.

Instructional Strategies

Are EE teachers more likely than Non-EE teachers to use "effective" teaching strategies? Teachers were asked how often they use each of a variety of instructional strategies in their classroom. A number of these strategies are traditionally associated with environmental education, while others have been identified as good/effective strategies (Zemelan, Daniels, and Hyde, 1998) but may not necessarily be associated with environmental education. Teachers were also asked about their degree of comfort and level of training with each strategy.

Integrated Curriculum

Are EE teachers more likely than non-EE teachers to use or see the value of an integrated curriculum? Teachers were asked if they use an integrated curriculum and if so, what themes or concepts they use. They were asked if they see a value to using an integrated curriculum and whether or not they think the environment is an effective tool for integrating the curriculum.

Perceived Goals of EE

Teachers were asked how appropriate they considered each of a range of potential goals of EE. These goals were derived from Phase One 3CM results.

Perceived Impacts of EE

To better understand the perceived relationship between EE and school improvement, teachers were asked how they believe EE impacts each of a range of factors derived from Phase One "school improvement" 3CM data. These factors included impacts on students, teaching, and school and community.

Perceived Barriers to EE

Teachers who do not currently include EE in their instruction were asked how likely they would be to do so given a range of factors, including more funding, more training opportunities, and more community support. These factors were derived from the perceived barriers to EE identified in Phase One.

Environmental Attitudes

To measure teachers� general attitudes toward the environment, 8 items were included from the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scale (Dunlap and Van Liere, 1978).

Teaching Description

Teachers were asked what grade level(s) and subject(s) they teach, how large their average class is, how long they�ve taught, how long they�ve been at their current school, and where they received their teaching degree.

School Description

Teachers were asked what school district their school is in, where the school in located (rural to urban), and the percent of students who receive free or reduced lunches (a measure of the economic level of students).

Demographics

Teachers were asked about their age, sex, race, and education level.

Analysis

Of the 335 completed questionnaires, 40 were unusable either because large portions were not completed or because the teacher taught outside the target grade range of 4 to 8; hence, all analyses were based on a sample size of 295.

Identifying EE and Non-EE Teachers

Questionnaire respondents were divided into 2 groups � "EE teachers" and "Non-EE teachers" � based on whether they currently incorporate EE in the classroom (to any degree) or not.

Analysis of Open-ended Questions

Open-ended questions were subjected to content analysis. Common themes in participant responses were classified and the participants mentioning each theme were identified.

Data reduction

For the questions related to EE goals, EE impacts, and EE barriers, data reduction was accomplished through a series of factor analyses on each bank of items related to the same question. For example, the 17 items related to EE goals were analyzed to determine if distinct sets of goals (i.e., meta-goals, or "factors") existed. Once identified, these meta-goals were then carried through to further analyses.

The criteria for item and scale inclusion were: (1) eigenvalues greater than 1.0, (2) individual item loadings of 0.5 or greater, (3) item loading on a single factor (i.e., no double-loaders), and (4) a factor alpha greater than 0.75 as measured by Cronbach�s coefficient alpha. Once a factor was identified, each participant�s responses on the items comprising that factor were averaged to compute scores on the new variable.

Pro-environment attitudes were measured by first reversing participants� scores on the negative NEP items and then by averaging each participant�s responses on all 8 NEP items.

Differences between EE and Non-EE teachers

Following data reduction, EE and Non-EE teachers were compared on a number of factors:

Descriptives:

  • Teaching Description
  • School Description
  • Demographics

Other:

  • Familiarity with EE and EE guidelines
  • Use of and training on instructional strategies
  • Use of integrated curriculum
  • Perceived goals of EE
  • Perceived impacts of EE
  • Environmental attitudes

The purpose of this comparative analysis was to determine whether or not and in what ways teachers who practice EE differ from those who do not. Comparisons between the two groups were made using standard statistical tests, including the independent-samples t-test and 2-way contingency table analysis. All tests were done with SPSS using a significance level of .05.

Phase Two Results

Each results sub-section is preceded by a short synopsis of that section�s findings. This synopsis is followed by a detailed presentation of analyses and results.

Descriptives

Synopsis

Overall, no significant differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the following:

  • Demographic variables such as age, education, and sex
  • Teaching variables such as length of service and class size
  • School variables such as school location (urban, suburban, small town, or rural) and income level of students

Perhaps not surprisingly, EE teachers were more likely to teach science and math than English, social studies, or history.

Level of EE Experience and Training

Of the 295 total respondents, 72% (N=212) said they incorporate EE in their instruction to some degree while 24% (N=70) said they did no EE (there were 13 non-responses). Note that because EE teachers were purposefully over-sampled, these percentages are not representative of Washington State teachers as a whole.

Of the EE teachers, the following was true:

  • Average number of years EE has been included in instruction:

9

  • Average number of weeks per year that EE is included in instruction:

About 6

  • Average number of hours per day (during the weeks that EE is taught) devoted to EE:

1 to 2

Although 70 teachers indicated they teach no EE in the classroom, a number of these teachers have had at least some EE training. Table 4 details participants� level of EE training.

Table 4. Amount of EE training.

EE Training

Number of Respondents

Percent of Respondents

NONE

39

14%

A LITTLE BIT

81

29%

A MODERATE AMOUNT

76

27%

QUITE A BIT

55

19%

A GREAT DEAL

30

11%

Teaching Description

Independent-samples t-tests showed no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers based on how long they had been teaching or on their class size. Respondents had been teaching from 1 to 43 years, with an average of 15 years. Class size ranged from 4 to 58 students, with an average of 26 students.

Table 5 shows the percentage of EE and Non-EE teachers per grade while Table 6 shown the subjects taught by EE and Non-EE teachers. Overall, there were no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the grades. EE teachers were more likely to teach science and math than English, social studies, or history.

Table 5. Grade levels taught by EE and Non-EE respondents.

Grade

Percent of EE Respondents

Percent of Non-EE Respondents

4

20%

10%

5

21%

17%

6

12%

9%

7

6%

7%

8

5%

9%

Combined elementary school


17%


16%

Combined middle school


14%


26%

Other

1%

4%

Table 6. Subjects taught by EE and Non-EE respondents.

Subject

Percent of EE Respondents

Percent of Non-EE Respondents

All (elementary school)

68%

46%

Science

20%

10%

Math

11%

10%

English

6%

21%

Social studies

4%

16%

History

0.5%

4%

Other

6%

19%

School Description

A 2-way contingency table analysis showed no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the location of their school. Independent-samples t-test results showed no differences between the two groups in terms of the income level of the students at their school. In other words, teachers in rural areas or lower-income schools were just as likely to be including EE in their instruction as teachers in urban areas or higher income schools. The numbers and percentages of teachers in each area are listed in Table 7. The number and percentage of teachers teaching at school with free and reduced lunches are shown in Table 8.

Table 7. Location of schools in which respondents teach.

Area

Number of Respondents

Percent of Respondents

RURAL

90

31%

SMALL TOWN

103

35%

SUBURBAN

58

20%

URBAN

35

12%

OTHER

7

2%

Table 8. Income level of student body at schools in which respondents teach.

Percent of Students Receiving Free or Reduced Lunch


Number of Respondents


Percent of Respondents

0-15 PERCENT

44

17%

16-30 PERCENT

64

25%

31-45 PERCENT

54

21%

46-60 PERCENT

52

20%

OVER 60 PERCENT

45

17%

Demographics

The average age of respondents was 44 and ranged from 22 to 65. A independent-samples t-test showed no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of age.

In terms of education, the average respondent had some graduate school credits or a Masters degree. Again, an independent-samples t-test showed no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of education.

Seventy six percent (N=223) of respondents were female and 24% (N=71) were male. Results of a 2-way contingency table analysis show that neither males nor females are more likely to practice environmental education.

Ninety-two percent of respondents reported their race as "White/Caucasian," 1% as "Black/African American," 1% as "Asian American," 1% as "Native American," less than 1% as "Hispanic/ Latin American," and 3% as "Other." Comparisons of EE and Non-EE teachers based on race were not possible because of the very low percentage of non-white respondents.

Familiarity with EE and EE Guidelines

Synopsis

Not surprisingly, EE teachers were found to be more familiar than Non-EE teachers with EE concepts and with Washington State�s EE mandate and guidelines. Non-EE teachers indicated particularly low familiarity with the State mandate and guidelines.

A one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to determine if EE and Non-EE teachers differed in terms of their familiarity with EE content and technique and with Washington State�s EE mandate and guidelines. Not surprisingly, significant differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of familiarity with EE concepts and guidelines (Wilk�s L = .74, F(4,273) = 24.5; p < .001). Table 9 shows the means and standard deviations on the dependent variables for EE and Non-EE teachers.

Analyses of variance (ANOVA) on each of the 4 dependent variables were conducted as follow-up tests to the MANOVA. Using the Bonferroni method to control for Type I errors, each ANOVA was tested at the .01 level (0.05 divided by 4). All ANOVAs were significant: EE teachers were significantly more likely than Non-EE teachers to be familiar with the content of EE (F(1,276) = 86.92; p < .001), the tools and techniques of EE (F(1,276) = 73.17; p < .001), Washington State�s environmental education instructional mandate (F(1,276) = 58.92; p < .001), and Washington State�s environmental education guidelines (F(1,276) = 53.26; p < .001). The degree of familiarity that Non-EE teachers have with Washington State�s EE mandate and guidelines is particularly low.

Table 9. Means and standard deviations for EE and Non-EE teachers within each attitude and interest variable. Variables where significant differences were found are in bold.*


Familiarity

EE Teachers

Non-EE Teachers

The content of environmental education

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.73

.89

209

2.57

.93

69

The tools and techniques of environmental education

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.50

.96

209

2.36

.95

69

Washington State�s environmental education instructional mandate

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

2.93

1.11

209

1.81

.85

69

Washington State�s environmental education guidelines

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

2.85

1.09

209

1.80

.85

69

* Respondents were asked, "How familiar are you with each of the following?" Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=not at all familiar to 5=very familiar.

EE and Instructional Strategies

Synopsis

EE teachers were more likely than Non-EE teachers to use a range of effective teaching strategies. They are also more likely to have had training in some, but not all, of these strategies. Claims of causation cannot be made based on these results � we do not know if EE promotes effective teaching strategies or if those using effective teaching strategies are more likely to incorporate EE into their teaching. However, results do support incorporating training on best instructional strategies in EE training.

As discussed earlier, teaching strategies were of two types: those assumed to be associated with EE, and general strategies that have been associated with improved student learning.

A series of independent-samples t-tests were performed to explore differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of how often they use the instructional strategies and the amount of training they�ve had in the strategies.

Results show that EE teachers are significantly more likely to use almost all of the teaching strategies than are Non-EE teachers (Table 10).

Table 10. Use of teaching strategies for EE and Non-EE teachers.*


Teaching Strategies

EE Teachers

Non-EE Teachers


t-test

EE Strategies:

Leading class discussions of controversial issues

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.53

.85

212

3.14

.99

69

t = -3.314

df = 279

p < .002

Having students investigate local community issues

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.12

.95

212

2.61

.89

69

t = -3.955

df = 279

p < .001

Bringing community resource people into the classroom as content experts

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.17

.96

212

2.71

.94

69

t = -3.520

df = 279

p < .001

Taking students off-site for educational field trips

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.35

1.06

212

2.71

1.08

68

t = -4.327

df = 278

p < .001

General Strategies:

Teaching with cooperative learning strategies

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.18

.74

211

3.91

.93

68

t = -2.176

df = 96

p < .032

Facilitating constructivist learning

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.38

1.08

184

3.00

1.16

60

t = -2.316

df = 242

p < .021

Guiding discovery-based learning

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.74

.85

208

3.37

.99

67

t = -2.900

df = 273

p < .004

Designing performance-based assessments

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.64

.86

210

3.56

1.18

68


n.s.

Designing an integrated curriculum with other teachers

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.56

1.12

211

2.99

1.28

69

t = -3.562

df = 278

p < .001

Designing a thematic unit for use in your classroom

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.90

1.05

212

3.59

1.10

69

t = -2.046

df = 279

p .042

* Respondents were asked, "Over the course of the school year, how often do you use each of the following instructional strategies with your class(es)?" Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=never to 5=very often.

EE teachers have had significantly more training than Non-EE teachers in some, but not all, of the teaching strategies (Table 11). Perhaps surprisingly, EE teachers have had more training on only one of the EE-specific strategies (taking students off-site for educational field trips). EE teachers have had more training in half of the general strategies, including facilitating constructivist learning, guiding discovery-based learning, and designing an integrated curriculum with other teachers.

Table 11. Level of training on teaching strategies for EE and Non-EE teachers.*


Teaching Strategies

EE Teachers

Non-EE Teachers


t-test

EE Strategies:

Leading class discussions of controversial issue

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

2.47

1.10

211

2.25

1.14

69

n.s.

Having students investigate local community issues

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

2.58

1.73

211

2.16

1.02

70

n.s.

Bringing community resource people into the classroom as content experts

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

2.53

1.17

212

2.23

1.09

70

n.s.

Taking students off-site for educational field trips

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

2.73

1.28

211

2.21

1.14

70

t = -3.028

d = 279

p < .003

General Strategies:

Teaching with cooperative learning strategies

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.88

.89

211

3.86

.79

70

n.s.

Facilitating constructivist learning

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

2.71

1.27

201

2.22

1.10

68

t = -2.811

d = 267

p < 005

Guiding discovery-based learning

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.36

1.02

211

3.06

.95

69

t = -2.137

d = 278

p < .033

Designing performance-based assessments

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.34

1.03

211

3.27

1.20

70

n.s.

Designing an integrated curriculum with other teachers

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.49

1.14

212

3.01

1.22

70

t = -2.952

d = 280

p < .003

Designing a thematic unit for use in your classroom

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.62

1.19

212

3.49

1.24

70

n.s.

* Respondents were asked, "How much training have you had using each of the following instructional strategies with your class(es)?" Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=none to 5=a great deal.

These results lead to more questions, particularly about causation. Does EE encourage the use of general effective teaching strategies or is it the case that training in these strategies encourages both adoption of EE and use of the strategies � or are both cases true? Regardless of the direction of the effect, the relationship between EE and effective teaching strategies indicates that incorporating specific training on these strategies into more traditional EE training may encourage more teachers to effectively integrate EE into their teaching and may better prepare them to teach EE once they begin.

EE and Curriculum Integration

Synopsis

EE teachers are significantly more likely to use an integrated curriculum than Non-EE teachers; however, they are not necessarily using environmental themes. History, biographies, and exploration were the most commonly cited themes for curriculum integration by both EE and Non-EE teachers.

Both EE and Non-EE teachers believe that the environment is an effective tool for integrating the curriculum, although EE teachers were slightly more likely to think so. When asked why the environment was a good integrator, the most popular response was that the environment shows connectivity to kids� own lives.

Seventy five percent (N=220) of teachers said they use an integrated curriculum, with EE teachers significantly more likely to use an integrated curriculum than Non-EE teachers (Pearsons Chi-Square = 14.29; N = 267; df = 1; p < .001). The themes used for integration, however, are not necessarily environmental themes. As Table 12 indicates, some of the top themes used are in history and social studies. There were no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the themes cited.

Regardless of whether teachers use an integrated curriculum or not, 97% of them feel that an integrated curriculum is valuable. The reasons cited are listed in Table 13. (There were no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the reasons cited.) Of the small percent of teachers who did not see a value to using an integrated curriculum, the most common explanation was that an integrated curriculum takes too much time to plan.

Table 12. Curriculum integration themes and concepts.

Curriculum Integration Themes

Inclusion Rate (of n=220)

History, Biographies, Explorations

Ecology/ Ecosystems

Social Studies (cultures)

WA State/Pacific Rim

Geography

Plant and Animal Life (seasons)

Human Biology

Water Bodies

Science (energy, physics, chemistry)

Salmon

Geology

English/ Literature

Current Events

Entrepreneurship/Business

Watersheds/Water Quality

Astronomy

Other (technology, architecture, graphing)

39%

31%

26%

20%

19%

17%

13%

13%

12%

10%

9%

9%

7%

7%

7%

5%

13%

Table 13. Cited values of using an integrated curriculum.

Perceived Value of an Integrated Curriculum

Inclusion Rate

Connections between topics

More relevance to real life

More context

Saves teaching time- can teach more than one topic at a time

Higher interest

50%

30%

22%

15%

12%

EE teachers were slightly more likely than Non-EE teachers to believe that the environment is an effective tool for integrating the curriculum (t = 2.169; df = 275; p < .031) although both groups were likely to think so (Table 14).

Table 14. Respondents� belief in the environment as an effective curriculum integrator.*


EE Teachers

Non-EE Teachers


t-test

EE as a Curriculum Integrator

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.18

1.07

208

3.87

.92

69

t = 2.169

df = 275

p < .031

* Respondents were asked, "Some people say that the environment is an effective tool for integrating the curriculum. To what extent do you disagree or agree?" Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree.

Table 15 lists the responses to the question of why (or why not) respondents believe the environment is a good curriculum integrator. There were no significant differences between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the values cited. While the most frequently cited reason � that the environment shows connectivity to kids� own lives � was cited by 40% of participants, all other reasons were cited by a relatively low percentage of participants. It is somewhat surprising that participants were not better able to articulate the reasons they thought the environment is a good curriculum integrator. These results echo the Phase One 3CM results which indicated that the relationship between EE and curriculum integration was not a particularly salient concept among teachers (with only 8% mentioning it).

Table 15. Perceived value of EE as a curriculum integrator.

Perceived Value of the Environment as a Curriculum Integrator

Inclusion Rate

Environment shows connectivity to kids� own lives

Easily encompasses all subjects

Children have a natural interest in their environment

Adds variety to teaching regime (outdoor classes)

Shows interdependency of living things

40%

26%

14%

9%

7%

When asked if there were themes, concepts, or curriculum topics other than the environment that were good tools for integrating the environment, many teachers again responded with history and social studies. Results are shown in Table 16.

Table 16. Themes other than the environment that teachers believe are good tools for integrating the curriculum.

Non-Environment Themes for Curriculum IntegrationInclusion Rate

History

Social Studies

Life Science (e.g., animals)

Life Skills Training (e.g., problem solving, risks and consequences)

Current Events/ Politics

Geography

Community Service

Other (e.g., health, art, astronomy)

13%

13%

12%

11%

7%

7%

4%

15%

Perceived Goals of EE

Synopsis

Overall, respondents conceptualized the goals of EE in terms of 3 general goals: Understand choices and decisions, Improve general skills, and Gain environmental knowledge. Some small differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the perceived appropriateness of each general goal.

A factor analysis of items related to the perceived goals of EE shows that participants tend to conceptualize EE goals in terms of 3 general categories: Understand choices and decisions, Improve general skills and Gain environmental knowledge. These categories are shown in Table 17, along with their means and individual item means. Overall, respondents perceived all the stated goals as being appropriate for EE.

Table 17. Factor analysis results: Perceived goals of environmental education.*

Category and Items

Mean

S.D

Alpha

Understand Choices and Decisions

  • Learn what individuals can do to make a difference
  • Understand the impact of one�s choices and decisions on the environment
  • Behave in an environmentally responsible manner
  • Become aware of one�s responsibility to the earth

4.63

.47

.87

Improve General Skills

  • Improve communication skills
  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Improve self esteem
  • Improve problem solving skills

4.59

.50

.84

Gain Environmental Knowledge

  • Understand the interconnectedness between people and their environment
  • Understand different views on environmental issues
  • Gain basic knowledge of environmental concepts
  • Understand natural processes
  • Develop awareness of important environmental issues
  • Develop an appreciation of the natural environment

4.55

.41

.84

* The question was, "Listed below are a number of possible environmental education goals for students. Please indicate how appropriate you consider each goal." Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=not at all appropriate to 5=very appropriate.

To determine if EE and Non-EE teachers differed in terms of the perceived appropriateness of the identified EE goal categories, a one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted. Significant differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers (Wilk�s L = .97, F(3,276) = 2.69; p < .049). Table 18 shows the means and standard deviations on the dependent variables for EE and Non-EE teachers.

Analyses of variance (ANOVA) on each of the 3 dependent variables were conducted as follow-up tests to the MANOVA. Using the Bonferroni method to control for Type I errors, each ANOVA was tested at the .02 level. Two ANOVAs were significant: EE teachers were significantly more likely than Non-EE teachers to consider "understand choices and decisions" an appropriate goal of EE (F(1,278) = 7.48; p < .007), and to consider "gain environmental knowledge" an appropriate goal of EE (F(1,278) = 5.79; p < .017), The difference between the two groups in terms of the perceived appropriateness of "improve general skills" was not significant.

These results are somewhat surprising, given that the 3CM data showed little difference among teachers and between teachers and experts in terms of the perceived goals of EE. A closer examination of the means in Table 18, however, shows that the differences, although statistically significant, are very small.

Table 18. Independent-samples t-test results showing differences between EE and non-EE teachers in terms of perceived goals of EE. Variables where significant differences were found are in bold.

EE Teachers

Non-EE Teachers

Understand Choices and Decisions

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.58

.38

210

4.43

.49

70

Improve General Skills

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.62

.49

210

4.51

.54

70

Gain Environmental Knowledge

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.67

.43

210

4.52

.55

70

Perceived Impacts of EE

Synopsis

Overall, respondents conceptualized the impacts of EE in terms of 5 general impacts: Science and analytical skills, General behavior and learning, Reading and communication skills, Involvement, and School environment. Differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the perceived degree to which EE impacts "Global improvements" and "Reading and communication."

A factor analysis of items related to the perceived impacts of EE shows that participants tend to conceptualize EE impacts in terms of 5 general categories: Science and analytical skills, General behavior and learning, Reading and communication skills, Involvement and School environment. These categories are shown in Table 19, along with their means and individual item means.

Table 19. Perceived impacts of environmental education.*

Category and Items

Mean

S.D

Alpha

Science and Analytical Skills

  • Understanding of science content
  • Ability to use the scientific method
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Encouraging an inquiry-based teaching approach
  • Providing real-world experiences

4.54

.40

.82

General Behavior and Learning

  • Discipline problems
  • Self confidence
  • Level of motivation
  • Meeting different student learning styles
  • Overall effectiveness of your teaching

4.19

.54

.85

Reading and Communication Skills

  • Reading skills
  • Communication skills

4.19

.53

.77

Involvement

  • Degree of parental involvement
  • Degree of community involvement
  • Linking students to the community

4.11

.57

.83

School Environment

  • Level of school safety
  • Feeling of community within the school
  • Sharing of decision making among students, staff, and administration
  • Communication between teachers and administration

3.78

.55

.82

* The question was, "Please indicate how you believe environmental education impacts each of the following." Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=very negative impact to 5=very positive impact.

To determine if EE and Non-EE teachers differed in terms of the perceived impacts of EE, a one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted. Significant differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers (Wilk�s L = .88, F(5,263) = 7.36; p < .001). Table 20 shows the means and standard deviations on the dependent variables for EE and Non-EE teachers.

Analyses of variance (ANOVA) on each of the 5 dependent variables were conducted as follow-up tests to the MANOVA. Using the Bonferroni method to control for Type I errors, each ANOVA was tested at the .01 level. Two ANOVAs were significant: EE teachers were significantly more likely than Non-EE teachers to perceive an impact of EE in terms of "General behavior and learning" (F(1,267) = 24.02; p < .001), and "Reading and communication skills" (F(1,267) = 6.53; p < .011). The differences between the two groups in terms of the perceived impacts of EE on the other categories were not significant.

Table 20. Independent-samples t-test results showing differences between EE and non-EE teachers in terms of perceived impacts of EE. Variables where significant differences were found are in bold.

EE Teachers

Non-EE Teachers

Science and Analytical Skills

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.57

.38

206

4.48

.43

63

General Behavior and Learning

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.27

.51

210

3.91

.53

63

Reading and Communication

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.23

.50

206

4.03

.59

63

Involvement

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.12

.58

206

4.01

.53

63

School Environment

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.78

.52

206

3.77

.61

63

Environmental Attitudes and Interest

Synopsis

EE teachers were slightly more likely than Non-EE teachers to express pro-environmental attitudes and interest in environmental issues. There were no differences between the groups, however, in terms of their concern for both community and global environmental issues.

Rural and urban teachers showed no difference in their environmental attitudes and interest.

As described previously, pro-environment attitudes were measured with a sub-set of the NEP scale. In addition, questions were asked about teachers� general interest in the environmental issues, and their concern about both community and global environmental issues.

  • The following NEP items comprised the Pro-Environment Attitude Scale:
  • The earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them *
  • Plants and animals have as much right as humans to exist
  • The balance of nature is strong enough to cope with the impacts of modern industrial nations*
  • The earth is like a spaceship with very limited room and resources
  • We were meant to rule over the rest of nature*
  • The balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset
  • The so-called ecological crisis facing humankind has been greatly exaggerated*
  • If things continue on their present course, we will soon experience a major ecological catastrophe

Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they disagree or agree with each of the statements above. Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree. Respondents� scores on the items marked by asterisks were reversed and each participant�s 8 scores were then averaged to compute the Pro-Environment score.

A one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to determine the effect of whether or not a teacher incorporates EE in their instruction on their attitudes toward the environment. The 3 dependent variables were pro-environment attitude, concern about community environmental issues, and concern about global environmental issues. Significant differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of attitudes (Wilk�s L = .93, F(4,271) = 5.5; p < .001). Table 21 shows the means and standard deviations on the dependent variables for EE and Non-EE teachers.

Analyses of variance (ANOVA) on each dependent variable were conducted as follow-up tests to the MANOVA. Using the Bonferroni method to control for Type I errors, each ANOVA was tested at the .02 level. The ANOVA on pro-environmental attitude was significant (F(1,274) = 5.74; p < .02), while the ANOVAs on concern about community environmental issues and concerns about global environmental issues were non-significant.

A separate independent samples t-test was performed to determine whether teaching EE was related to one�s interest in environmental issues. Not surprisingly, results show that EE teachers were significantly more interested in environmental issues than were Non-EE teachers (t=3.99; df = 112; p < .001). Means and standard deviations for this variable are shown along with the attitude variables in Table 21.

Table 21. Means and standard deviations for EE and Non-EE teachers within each attitude and interest variable. Variables where significant differences were found are in bold.*

EE Teachers

Non-EE Teachers

Pro-Environment Attitude

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

3.94

.65

210

3.73

.57

66

Concern about community environmental issues

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.37

.73

210

3.94

.76

66

Concern about global environmental issues

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.37

.71

210

4.08

.73

66

Interest in environmental issues

Mean

S.D.

n

=

=

=

4.49

.64

210

4.13

.62

67

* Responses were recorded on 5-point scales where "1" indicates the least interest or concern.

A separate one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to determine whether teachers differ in their attitudes toward the environment based on the area in which their school is located (i.e., rural, small town, suburban, or urban). The 3 dependent variables were again: pro-environmental attitude, concern about community environmental issues, and concerns about global environmental issues. No significant differences were found in any of the environmental attitudes based on location of school.

Perceived Barriers to EE

Synopsis

Non-EE teachers tend to conceptualize barriers in terms of two categories: Resource issues and Infrastructure issues. While teachers indicated that the removal of any barrier in these categories would encourage them to include EE in their instruction, care must be taken when interpreting these results; the link between behavioral intent and behavior change may be tenuous.

What factors might encourage Non-EE teachers to include environmental education in their instruction? A factor analysis of Non-EE teacher responses identified 2 general categories of factors: Resources, and Infrastructure. These categories are shown in Table 22, along with their means and individual item means. Also included in the individual items "EE curriculum materials" which loaded on both factors. Overall, respondents indicated that the presence of curriculum materials was most likely to encourage them to include EE in their instruction. Means for all other factors, however were also quite high.

Table 22. Factors that may encourage Non-EE teachers to include EE in their instruction.*

Category and Items

Mean

S.D

Alpha

Resources

Additional planning time

More funding for field trips

Easy access to a suitable study area

More funding for instructional materials

3.95

4.03

3.98

3.97

3.83

.92

1.11

1.08

.98

1.00

.91

Infrastructure

Opportunities for EE training

Administrative support for teaching EE

Community and parental support for teaching EE

More flexibility in class scheduling

More flexibility in curriculum

Having EE included in state assessments

3.80

3.92

3.89

3.83


3.80

3.75

3.65

.88

1.01

.98

1.05


1.04

1.08

1.22

.92

EE curriculum materials (double-loader)

4.11

.98

* The question was, "how likely would you be to include environmental education in your instruction given each of the following?" Responses were recorded on a 5-point scale from 1=not at all likely to 5=very likely.

These results on barriers must be interpreted with some caution: Despite teachers stated intentions, encouraging the adoption of EE is likely more complex than the resource or infrastructure categories would indicate.

Conclusions and Implications

Phase One and Two study results point to the following conclusions and implications:

Conceptualizations of EE

Conclusions: Teachers� conceptualizations of EE are typically not one-dimensional; the basic framework of their understanding of EE is similar to that of many EE experts.

Implications: Communicating the link between EE and school improvement is not dependent on changing how teachers think about EE.

3CM data suggest that, by and large, grade 4-8 teachers in Washington State have a good understanding of the breadth of environmental education independent of whether they themselves incorporate EE into their classroom. Furthermore, the concepts of an integrated curriculum and effective teaching strategies were cited by many teachers as being relevant to EE, particularly those teachers with more EE experience.

EE and School Improvement

Conclusions: EE is related to school improvement factors that teachers and others care about, but teachers may not perceive that such a relationship exists.

Implications: Targeting the concepts of integrated curriculum and effective teaching strategies may help teachers integrate their conceptualizations of EE and school improvement.

Incorporating specific training on effective teaching strategies into more traditional EE training may encourage more teachers to effectively integrate EE into their teaching and may better prepare them to teach EE once they begin.

Survey data do show a link between teaching EE and using an integrated curriculum. However, although teachers may be paying lip service to the idea of EE as a curriculum integrator, they may not have a concrete image of how EE and curriculum integration are related. Survey data show that while most teachers think the environment is an effective theme for integrating the curriculum, many were unable to provide concrete imagery for why. 3CM data also support the notion that the conceptual link between EE and curriculum integration is not particularly strong among teachers.

Similarly, survey data show a link between teaching EE and using effective teaching strategies although 3CM data show that teachers generally do not perceive this link. This finding suggests that incorporating specific training on effective teaching strategies (both those that are traditionally associated with EE and more general strategies) into EE training may encourage more teachers to effectively integrate EE into their teaching and may better prepare them to teach EE once they begin.

The weak perceived relationship between EE, curriculum integration, and effective teaching strategies is particularly surprising as a relatively high percentage of teachers, in the 3CM organizations, mentioned curriculum integration and effective teaching strategies as important components of both environmental education and school improvement. The existence of these concepts in teacher conceptualizations of both domains, however, do provide a potential avenue for linking these 2 domains in teachers� minds.

Target Populations

Conclusions: Overall, substantial differences do not exist between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of their perceptions of EE, attitudes toward the environment, and demographic factors. EE teachers were more likely to teach science and math than English, social studies, or history. In a related finding, many of the themes used for curriculum integration were liberal arts themes.


Implications: Liberal arts teachers who teach EE may be more likely to teach EE as an integrated curriculum. Targeting this population may be an effective way to encourage the use of the environment as an integrating context.

Overall, no significant differences were found between EE and Non-EE teachers in terms of the following:

  • Demographic variables such as age, education, and sex
  • Teaching variables such as length of service and class size
  • School variables such as school location (urban, suburban, small town, or rural) and income level of students

EE teachers were more likely to teach science and math than English, social studies, or history. This finding, although not surprising, does point to some teacher populations that may be under-served by EE programs. In addition, survey results showing that many of the cited themes for curriculum integration were liberal arts themes (e.g., history, biographies, exploration, and cultures) may mean that liberal arts teachers would be more likely to use the environment as an integrating context than would other teachers.

References

Dunlap, R.E. and Van Liere, K.D. (1978). The "new environmental paradigm." Journal of Environmental Education, 9(4), 10-19.

Kearney, A.R. and Kaplan, S. (1996). Toward a methodology for the measurement of knowledge structures of ordinary people: The conceptual content cognitive map (3CM). Environment and Behavior, 29(5), 579-617.

Lieberman, G.A. and Hoody, L.L. (1998). Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning. Science Wizards: Poway, CA.

Yap, K.O. (1998). A summative evaluation of Model Links. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory: Portland, OR.

Zemelan, S., Daniels, H., Hyde, A. (1998). Best practice: new standards for teaching and learning in American�s schools, 2nd Edition. Heinemann Press: Portsmouth, NH.

Appendix A: Phase One Interview Protocol

Teacher Interview Protocol

Code: ___________________________

M/F

Current school/grade/ how long?

Subject area (for middle school)

How long have you been a teacher?

What is your educational background (undergraduate degree and teacher training program)?

3CM tasks: Explain and administer.

  1. Image that one of your student teachers with no experience in environmental education comes up to you and asks what EE is all about. In your perspective, what are the key components of EE?
  2. What would EE mean/look like for the students (what would they be doing/ learning)?

    What would EE mean for instruction?

  3. There has been a lot of talk in this state about the need to improve schools. What do you see as the key components of a school improvement effort? (What are the important factors to consider?)
  1. Some people say there is a link between EE and school improvement. In your opinion, based on your two maps, would you say there are any links? Is EE related to school improvement? How? (Does EE impact/lead to/foster school improvement?)

Do you have any training or experience specific to environmental education?

What led to your interest in EE (for those practicing environmental education)

To what extent are you currently involved in environmental education?

Barriers to doing EE?

Do you have any training or experience specific to school improvement in Washington State (Commission on Student Learning)?

Where do you get your information about school improvement?

Age?

Copy of results? (If yes, get address)

Expert Interview Protocol

Code: ___________________________

M/F

Current position/ how long/ what do you do?

How long have you been involved in EE? In what capacity?

Are you involved with K-12 teachers? In what capacity?

What is your educational background (degrees and where)?

3CM tasks: Explain and administer.

  1. Image that one of your student teachers with no experience in environmental education comes up to you and asks what EE is all about. In your perspective, what are the key components of EE?
  2. What would EE mean/look like for the students (what would they be doing/ learning)?

    What would EE mean for instruction?

  3. There has been a lot of talk in this state about the need to improve schools. What do you see as the key components of a school improvement effort? (What are the important factors to consider?)
  1. Some people say there is a link between EE and school improvement. In your opinion, based on your two maps, would you say there are any links? Is EE related to school improvement? How? (Does EE impact/lead to/foster school improvement?)

What led to your interest in EE?

Barriers to doing EE (specifically at the K-12 level)?

Do you have any training or experience specific to school improvement in Washington State (Commission on Student Learning)?

Where do you get your information about school improvement?

Age?

Copy of results? (If yes, get address)

Appendix B: Questionnaire

May 14, 1999

Dear Washington State teacher,

Much attention is being paid by the media to how schools can be improved. Attention is also being focused on the condition of our state's environment. What strategies and tools do teachers feel improve teaching and learning? How do teachers view the use of environmental education in schools? Do they see a connection between environmental education and school improvement efforts? The enclosed questionnaire is part of a study that seeks to answer these questions.

You have been chosen as one of a small number of teachers in Washington to participate in this study. The questionnaire takes 30 minutes to complete, approximately the time it takes to drink a good cup of tea (teabag enclosed) and your answers will be completely confidential. Study results will be widely disseminated and will be used to inform current school improvement efforts. Each teacher's response is critical.

Please complete and return the survey in the enclosed envelope by Monday, May 24th. In recognition of how valuable your time is during this very hectic part of the school year, each respondent will receive a set of four attractive and informative posters celebrating Washington's diverse habitats (Shrub/steppe, Marine, Urban, and Watersheds). The posters are a $20.00 value, suitable for framing and look great in classrooms. They are being provided by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to show appreciation for your participation. (Please see other side of this letter for a description of the posters.)

To receive your posters, please write your name and address on the enclosed address label and return it in the envelope along with your completed questionnaire. If you would like a summary of the study results, please write, "RESULTS REQUESTED," on the back of the envelope, along with your email address (if you don't have email, please include your mailing address). Do not write your name or address on the questionnaire itself.

This study is funded by the Evergreen Center for Educational Improvement and the North Mason School District's Model Links Program. If you have any questions about the study or the questionnaire itself, please feel free to contact the project's researcher, Dr. Anne Kearney by email at annerk@bigfoot.com or by phone at (206) 325-2722. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful and timely response!

Sincerely,

Dr. Anne Kearney

Research ConsultantMarcia Wiley

Program Coordinator

Model Links

This questionnaire contains both multiple choice and open-ended questions. Please answer all the questions. If you wish to comment on any questions or qualify your answers, please use the back page of the questionnaire. All of your responses will be confidential. We have placed a code on the reply envelope to allow us to track responses; however, your name will never be placed on the survey itself or associated with the results in any way.

Please return your completed questionnaire by Monday, May 24th in the enclosed envelope to:

Dr. Anne Kearney

Research Consultant

1135 20th Avenue East

Seattle, WA 98112-3508

This research is sponsored by the Evergreen Center for Educational Improvement and the North Mason School District�s Model Links Program.

Your participation in this study is greatly appreciated!!

Ó Model Links Program. This survey may not be reproduced nor items borrowed from it without written permission from the Model Links Program.

To begin with, we�d like to ask you some general questions about your teaching.

  1. How comfortable are you using each of the following instructional strategies? (Your comfort level may not be related to how often you use a particular strategy.)
  2. Not at all Comfortable

    Not Comfortable

    Somewhat Comfortable

    Comfortable

    Very Comfortable

    Teaching with cooperative learning strategies ..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Facilitating constructivist learning �����

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Guiding discovery-based learning ����.....

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing performance-based assessments ...�

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Leading class discussions of controversial issues ��������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Having students investigate local community issues ��������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Bringing community resource people into the classroom as content experts .�����..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Taking students off-site for educational field trips ���������������.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing an integrated curriculum with other teachers �������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing a thematic unit for use in your classroom �������������

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

  3. Over the course of the school year, how often do you use each of the following instructional strategies with your class(es)?
  4. Never

    Seldom

    Occasionally

    Often

    Very Often

    Teaching with cooperative learning strategies ..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Facilitating constructivist learning �����

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Guiding discovery-based learning ����.....

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing performance-based assessments ...�

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Leading class discussions of controversial issues ��������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Having students investigate local community issues ��������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Bringing community resource people into the classroom as content experts .�����..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Taking students off-site for educational field trips ���������������.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing an integrated curriculum with other teachers �������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing a thematic unit for use in your classroom �������������

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

  5. How much training have you had using each of the following instructional strategies?
  6. None

    Very Little

    Some

    A Moderate Amount

    A Great Deal

    Teaching with cooperative learning strategies ..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Facilitating constructivist learning �����

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Guiding discovery-based learning ����.....

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing performance-based assessments ...�

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Leading class discussions of controversial issues ��������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Having students investigate local community issues ��������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Bringing community resource people into the classroom as content experts .�����..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Taking students off-site for educational field trips ���������������.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing an integrated curriculum with other teachers �������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Designing a thematic unit for use in your classroom �������������

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Next are a few questions about you and your school.

  7. What grade level(s) do you teach? ______________________________
  8. What subject area(s) do you teach? _________________________________________
  9. How long have you been at your current school? _______ YEARS
  10. How long have you been a teacher? _______YEARS
  11. What is your class size (or average size of regular classes if you have multiple classes)? _______ STUDENTS
  1. In what district is your school located? _______________________
  2. In what type of area is your school located? (Circle one)
  1. RURAL
  2. SMALL TOWN
  3. SUBURBAN
  4. URBAN
  5. OTHER __________________________________________________________
  1. What percent of students at your school receive free or reduced lunches? (Circle one)
  1. 0-15 PERCENT
  2. 16-30 PERCENT
  3. 31-45 PERCENT
  4. 46-60 PERCENT
  5. OVER 60 PERCENT
  1. Does spending non-structured time on school grounds (for example, during recess) affect your students� behavior or ability to concentrate and complete assignments? How so? (Please be specific)
  2. How much of your school grounds contain natural elements (e.g., trees, plants, water)? (Circle one)
  1. None
  2. Some
  3. half
  4. Most
  5. Virtually all

Next are several questions about your perspective on integrated curricula.

  1. Do you use an integrated curriculum?
  1. NO What themes or concepts do you use for this curriculum?



YES

  1. In general, do you see any value to using an integrated curriculum? (Circle one)
  1. NO
  2. YES

Why or why not?

  1. Some people say that the environment is an effective tool for integrating the curriculum. To what extent do you disagree or agree? (Circle one)

  1. STRONGLY DISAGREE
  2. DISAGREE
  3. NOT SURE
  4. AGREE
  5. STRONGLY AGREE
  1. Why do you agree or disagree?

  1. Are there other themes, concepts, or curriculum topics that you feel are good tools for integrating the curriculum? (Please be specific)

These next questions are about your perspectives on environmental education (EE). Please respond to all questions even if you do not incorporate environmental education in your instruction.

  1. How familiar are you with each of the following?

Not at all Familiar

Not Familiar

Somewhat Familiar

Familiar

Very Familiar

The content of environmental education ����...

1

2

3

4

5

The tools and techniques of environmental education �..�������������...

1

2

3

4

5

Washington State�s environmental education instructional mandate ����..������

1

2

3

4

5

Washington State�s environmental education guidelines ���������������

1

2

3

4

5



  1. Listed below are a number of possible environmental education goals for students. Please indicate how appropriate you consider each goal.

Not at all Appropriate

Not Appropriate

Neutral

Appropriate

Very Appropriate

Understand the interconnectedness between people and their environment �����

1

2

3

4

5

Understand different views on environmental issues ��������������.

1

2

3

4

5

Gain basic knowledge of environmental concepts ����������.���

1

2

3

4

5

Understand natural processes ������...

1

2

3

4

5

Develop awareness of important environmental issues ��������.

1

2

3

4

5

Develop an appreciation of the natural environment �����������...

1

2

3

4

5

Foster a sense of stewardship ������...

1

2

3

4

5

Learn what individuals can do to make a difference ������������...

1

2

3

4

5

Understand the impact of one�s choices and decisions on the environment �����

1

2

3

4

5

Behave in an environmentally responsible manner ��������.�����.

1

2

3

4

5

Take action to improve environmental quality

1

2

3

4

5

Become aware of one�s responsibility to the earth ��������������...

1

2

3

4

5

Improve communication skills ������.

1

2

3

4

5

Improve critical thinking skills ������

1

2

3

4

5

Improve self esteem ����..�����...

1

2

3

4

5

Improve problem solving skills �����...

1

2

3

4

5

Meet the state learning requirements �.��..

1

2

3

4

5



  1. How much training have you had in environmental education (including pre-service, in-service, and other training)? (Circle one)
  1. NONE
  2. A LITTLE BIT
  3. A MODERATE AMOUNT
  4. QUITE A BIT
  5. A GREAT DEAL
  1. Do you currently include environmental education (EE) in your instruction to any degree? (Circle one)



NO




YES

(If you are NOT including environmental education in your instruction�)

  1. How likely would you be to include environmental education in your instruction given each of the following?

Not at all Likely

Not Likely

Not Sure

Likely

Very Likely

More funding for instructional materials ���...�.

1

2

3

4

5

More funding for field trips �...�����.���.

1

2

3

4

5

Easy access to a suitable study area �������

1

2

3

4

5

Community and parental support for teaching EE �..

1

2

3

4

5

Administrative support for teaching EE ����..�

1

2

3

4

5

Opportunities for EE training ������..���

1

2

3

4

5

EE curriculum materials �����������..

1

2

3

4

5

More flexibility in class scheduling .�����...�

1

2

3

4

5

More flexibility in curriculum ��.���.�...��

1

2

3

4

5

Additional planning time �����������.

1

2

3

4

5

Having EE included in state assessments �����

1

2

3

4

5

OTHER? ___________________________����

1

2

3

4

5






(If you ARE including environmental education in your instruction�)




  1. How long have you been including EE in your instruction? _________ YEARS

  1. Approximately how many weeks during the current school year will you have included EE in your instruction? (Circle one)
  1. LESS THAN 1 WEEK
  2. 1 TO 3 WEEKS
  3. 3+ TO 6 WEEKS
  4. 6+ TO 10 WEEKS
  5. MORE THAN 10 WEEKS

  1. During the weeks that you include EE in your instruction, how many hours per day, on average, do you devote to EE for all classes that you teach combined (do not count preparation time)? (Circle one)
  1. LESS THAN 1 HOUR PER DAY
  2. 1 TO 2 HOURS PER DAY
  3. 2+ TO 3 HOURS PER DAY
  4. 3+ TO 4 HOURS PER DAY



MORE THAN 4 HOURS PER DAY

  1. Please indicate how you believe environmental education impacts each of the following.
  2. Very Negative Impact

    Somewhat Negative Impact

    No Impact

    Somewhat Positive Impact

    Very Positive Impact

    student impacts

    Math achievement �����������

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Understanding of science content �����

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Ability to use the scientific method .����

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Reading skills ������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Communication skills ���������..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Critical thinking skills ���������..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Understanding of civics and how decisions are made in our society �.�������..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Problem solving skills ���������..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Discipline problems ����������.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Self confidence �...����������.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Level of motivation ���...������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    teaching impacts

    Encouraging an inquiry-based teaching approach ��������..����.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Providing real-world experiences �����

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Meeting different student learning styles ��.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Meeting the state learning requirements (ELRs) �������������...

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Overall effectiveness of your teaching ..��..

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    school and community impacts

    Teaming and collaboration among teachers ....

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Level of school safety ���������.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Feeling of community within the school ��.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Sharing of decision making among students, staff, and administration �������

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Communication between teachers and administration �����������

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Degree of networking with other schools ��

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Degree of parental involvement �..����

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Degree of community involvement .����

    1

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    5

    Linking students to the community ����.

    1

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    4

    5



    Next, we have some general questions about your attitudes on the environment. We are simply looking for your opinion; there are no right or wrong answers.

  3. Please indicate the extent to which you disagree or agree with each of the following statements.
  4. Strongly Disagree

    Disagree

    Not Sure

    Agree

    Strongly Agree

    The earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them ��������

    1

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    5

    Plants and animals have as much right as humans to exist ���������������...

    1

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    The balance of nature is strong enough to cope with the impacts of modern industrial nations ��...

    1

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    The earth is like a spaceship with very limited room and resources �����������

    1

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    We were meant to rule over the rest of nature ��.

    1

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    The balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset ����������������...

    1

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    The so-called ecological crisis facing humankind has been greatly exaggerated �������.

    1

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    5

    If things continue on their present course, we will soon experience a major ecological catastrophe

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    I am interested in environmental issues ����...

    1

    2

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    4

    5

    I am very concerned about the environmental issues in my own community ����...��.

    1

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    5

    I am very concerned about global environmental issues ���������...����..��.

    1

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    4

    5



    Finally, we would like to ask you a few short background questions about yourself.

  5. How old are you? _____ YEARS
  6. Are you
  1. MALE
  2. FEMALE

  1. Which of the following best describes your racial or ethnic identification? (Circle one)
  1. WHITE/ CAUCASIAN
  2. BLACK/ AFRICAN AMERICAN
  3. HISPANIC/ LATIN AMERICAN
  4. ASIAN AMERICAN
  5. NATIVE AMERICAN
  6. OTHER -- PLEASE SPECIFY ____________________________

  1. Please indicate the highest level of education you have obtained. (Circle one)
  1. 4-year college degree
  2. Some graduate credits
  3. Masters degree
  4. PhD

  1. In what state did you receive your teaching degree? _____________________

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THIS EFFORT!!

To receive your posters, please remember to write your name and address on the enclosed address label and return it in the envelope along with your completed questionnaire.

In addition, if you would like a summary of the study results, please write "RESULTS REQUESTED" on the back of the reply envelope along with your email address (if you don�t have email, please include your mailing address).

Is there anything else you would like to tell us? If so, please use the space below.