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Title: Unearthing the complexities in teachers' commitment to environmental education : a social psychological perspective
Author: Sosu, Edward M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3472 1162
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2008
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This study investigates the social psychological factors that determine why some teachers are more committed to teaching environmental education (EE) than others. A mixed methods approach was adopted to explore and test these determinants and to offer an insight into the meanings of these determinants as perceived by teachers. In the quantitative phase, a revised Model of Environmental Education Commitment (MEEC; Shuman & Ham,1997) which is largely based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991; 1988) was explored using structural equation modelling techniques. Data were obtained from a sample of 182 primary school teachers in Scotland. The hypothesised model was tested to identify the significant determinants of commitment, relationship between these determinants and the utility of the MEEC in explaining teachers' commitment to EE. The qualitative phase involved in-depth interviews with 8 primary school teachers based on a framework of Soft Systems Methodology (Checkland & Scholes, 1990) to expand understanding and explore strategies for increasing teachers' commitment to EE. The results confirmed that the MEEC provided a significant explanation for why some teachers are more committed to teaching EE than others. Overall, teacher autonomy and perceived control in terms of the flexibility or inflexibility of the curriculum appeared to be the most significant influence on commitment. However, the findings showed a complex interrelationship between the factors that influence commitment. Teacher autonomy for instance was significantly dependent on the influence of referents and life experiences connected to environmental issues. The study recommended that these interrelationships should be taken into account in any attempt to improve the level of commitment. Findings from the study contribute significantly to understanding teacher commitment to EE by providing theoretical and statistical support for previous qualitative findings on the significant life experiences that influence commitment to environmental issues. Recommendations for future research are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral