ERG SES D 13, Education and Teachers' Learning
Increasing environmental problems, such as global warming, water and air pollution and ozone depletion, attract public attention towards environmental issues. Human being is the essential part of the environment and the underlying reason behind these increasing environmental problems are related to the lifestyles of them (UNESCO, 1992). In order to protect the environment in which people live and alienate a healthy environment for future generations, the individuals need to become more aware of influences of the problems on natural environment. Sustainable development is an emerging concept that seeks for solution those problems. It was first defined in World Commission on Environment and Development’s (WCED, 1987, p. 43) Brundtland Report as “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. At the same time, education for sustainable development (ESD) has been emphasized to make people aware of their environment and to struggle against the environmental problems they may face, so, major outcome of education is to develop environmental literacy because environmentally literate people have knowledge and ability to communicate about the need for action strategies and to take active role in solving environmental problems (UNESCO, 2002& UNESCO 2005). Education is important because according to Mandela, it “...is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” and schools are the first places that people are introduced to formal education. ESD should be integrated into educational process beginning form early childhood education (ECE) since early years of human life is the critical period to develop environmentally literate people. ECE teachers are the vital parts of environmental education, therefore, understanding their level of environmental literacy and the factors that affects environmental literacy level, will guide ESD programs in ECE. In terms of ESD there are Eco Schools which develop curriculum that integrate sustainable development with different subject areas like science, literature and mathematics. Eco pre-schools aims to encourage preschool children’s environmental literacy skills to take active role in developing a more sustainable world and it should be pointed out that preschool teachers have the crucial role in this process (UNESCO, 2012). Eco-schools program can be a promising approach to improve also teachers environmental literacy. Therefore, it can be argued that teaching at an eco- preschool might be factor that affects preschool teacher’s environmental literacy level. Environmental literacy includes four main components in terms of knowledge, attitude, use and concern about environment.
In this concern, for the current study the main purpose is to describe Turkish ECE teachers’ environmental literacy level and to find out if teaching at eco-preschools change ECE teachers’ environmental literacy levels. The main research questions that are formulated:
- Is there a significant mean difference between the effects of teaching at eco-preschool application and traditional school application on preschool teachers’ knowledge about environment?
- Is there a significant mean difference between the effects of teaching at eco-preschool application and traditional school application on preschool teachers’ attitudes toward environment?
- Is there a significant mean difference between the effects of teaching at eco-preschool application and traditional school application on preschool teachers’ environmental uses?
- Is there a significant mean difference between the effects of teaching at eco-preschool application and traditional school application on preschool teachers’ environmental concerns?
Tuncer, G., Tekkaya, C., Sungur S., Çakıroğlu, J., Ertepınar, H. & Kaplowitz, M. (2009). Assessing pre-service teachers’ environmental literacy in Turkey as a mean to develop teacher education programs. International Journal of Educational Development. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2008.10.003. Kaplowitz, M. D. & Levine, R. (2005). How environmental knowledge measures up at a big ten university. Environmental Education Research, 11(2), 143-160. UNESCO. (1992). Agenda 21 – Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Chapter 36. Promoting education, public awareness and training. UNESCO. UNESCO. (1997). Educating for a sustainable future: A trans-disciplinary vision for concerted action. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001106/110686eo.pdf UNESCO. (2002). United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 2014) Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://portal.unesco.org/education/admin/ev.php UNESCO. (2012). United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Rio+20. (2005 2014) Retrieved November 11, 2012 from http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/492UNESCO%20Input%20to%20Rio 0%20Compilation%20Document.pdf WCED. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. General Assembly Resolution 42/187, 11 December 1987.
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