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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Barriers to environmental education in British Columbia Lin, Emily S. Y.


Based on a modified replication of Ham and Sewing's (1987) investigation, the purpose of this study was to identify and determine the relative importance of barriers which inhibit British Columbian public school teachers at the Grade eight, nine, and ten levels from conducting environmental education. Fifty-one junior secondary teachers from four school districts in the southwestern region of British Columbia were personally interviewed between April 1st and June 30, 1993. The four selected school districts can be classified and distinguished as representing three different kinds of areas: (1) urban-like regions, (2) nonconflict rural-like regions, and (3) regions immersed in environmental disputes and dependent primarily on one resource-based industry. Findings indicate that junior secondary school teachers identified the lack of environmental education instructional materials as the most important barrier. Other important logistical barriers to environmental education implementation included the lack of teaching and preparation time as well as lack of funding. Conceptual barriers consisted of teachers emphasizing only the cognitive elements of environmental education. In addition, despite believing that no special training is necessary for teaching environmental education, teachers still perceived the lack of knowledge about environmental education and natural science to be important barriers. Moreover, although most teachers possessed a positive attitude and believed that environmental education should be integrated throughout the curriculum at all grade levels, actual environmental education implementation in classrooms was limited. Lastly, recommendations for reducing environmental education barriers and enhancing future studies are proposed.

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