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Title: Conceptions of environmental education in Mexican primary education : teachers' views and curriculum aims
Author: Benavides Lahnstein, Ana Ilse
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 1558
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is about how Mexican primary school teachers conceptualise environmental education (EE) and talk about its practise. Teaching EE or EE-related content is often not a straightforward and unproblematic task for educators. Formal education still faces persistent gaps between EE theory, policy, curricula, and practice in schools. Additionally, EE is often eclipsed by crowded curricula and busy schedules. In fact, in the 2011 Mexican basic education curriculum, EE is one of eleven socially-relevant themes (i.e. cross-curricular themes) to be embedded in multiple aims and statutory subjects, suggesting important teaching challenges for EE. Through a qualitative study, this thesis presents EE in Mexican primary education as a case study situation. It investigates references to EE in 2011 curriculum documents for primary school, then it focuses on the views from 11 Year 6 teachers of 6 schools located around Monterrey, Mexico. After five months of fieldwork, this study collected audio-recordings of three individual semi-structured interviews and non-participant classroom observations per participant. The thematic analysis of the data revealed that the curriculum documents faintly outline EE and stress anthropocentric and participatory aims. Then, using Sauvé’s (2005) EE typology, it was found that teachers’ conceptions about EE concentrate on fostering students’ environmental awareness, hoping it would translate into pro-environmental behaviour. Their views relate EE to management and conservation of the immediate environment and in relation to the sustainability of current and future lifestyles. Socio-scientific issues and other elements of human lifestyles, like health and environment, were not emphasised. Additionally, typical factors of the contemporary educational climate and schools’ cultures were related to difficulties in teaching EE-related content. These findings suggest inviting a democratic outline of the desired/necessary EE approach in schools and classrooms might be a substantial step forward to closing gaps. The results also showcase the need for training teachers in cross-curricular pedagogies, shared leadership, and effective communication of the goals and approach to EE.
Supervisor: Ryder, James ; Banner, Indira Sponsor: National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), Mexico
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available