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Volume Editor: David B. Zandvliet
Research in environmental education (EE) is a growing field of inquiry and should be seen as respondent to a variety of program developments around the world. These diverse programs are the context for this body of educational research. Diversity in EE research is also compounded when one considers the various cultures, epistemologies and research traditions that may inform the field. This complexity accounts for the range of forms for environmental learning in formal, informal or non-formal contexts.
There is a good deal of evidence that, in order to be more responsive to the needs of diverse populations, program developments around the world are now beginning to reflect the variation in our society. However, the same cannot always be said in terms of research methodologies within mainstream environmental education research. Outside of a few examples, there seems to have been very little in the way of development of research genres aimed at understanding, characterizing and supporting cultural diversity within much of mainstream environmental education. Diversity of method may also be important for the overall quality (or health) of environmental education research. To locate many of the new ideas and approaches in this area, one needs to look outside environmental education, towards general educational research, or to other fields such as environmental justice, indigenous education, science education and health education to name only a few examples.
This volume of original research reports from around the globe begins to richly describe aspects of diversity in environmental education research. It does so in two ways: first, it mirrors the diversity of voices and cultures that are conducting research in this ever-broadening and increasingly global and international field of inquiry, second: it illuminates a potential diversity of research methods by highlighting a range of methodologies salient in other fields which have emerging promise for the practice of research in environmental education.
Volume Editors: Saouma BouJaoude and Zoubeida R. Dagher
Each volume in the 7-volume series The World of Science Education reviews research in a key region of the world. These regions include North America, South and Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe and Israel, Arab States, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The focus of this Handbook is on science education in Arab states and the scholarship that most closely supports this program. The reviews of the research situate what has been accomplished within a given field in an Arab rather than an international context. The purpose therefore is to articulate and exhibit regional networks and trends that produced specific forms of science education. The thrust lies in identifying the roots of research programs and sketching trajectories—focusing the changing façade of problems and solutions within regional contexts. The approach allows readers to review what has been done and accomplished, what is missing and what might be done next.
Since its appearance in 1995, Authentic School Science has been a resource for many teachers and schools to rethink and change what they are doing in and with their science classrooms. As others were trying to implement the kinds of learning environments that we had described, our own thinking and teaching praxis changed in part because of our dissatisfaction with our own understanding. Over the years, we have piloted ever-new ways of organizing science lessons to figure out what works and how both successful and not-so-successful ways of doing science education should be theorized. In this period, we developed a commitment to cultural-historical activity theory, which does not dichotomize individual and collective, social and material, embodied and cultural forms of knowing, and so on. It turns out now that the problem does not lie with the level of agreement between school science and laboratory science but with the levels of control, authority, mastery, and authorship that students are enabled to exercise. Thus, as this book shows, even field trips may deprive students of science authenticity on outdoor activities and even classroom-based science may provide opportunities for doing science in an authentic manner, that is, with high levels of control over the learning environment, authority, master, and authorship. Ultimately, our understanding of authenticity emphasizes its heterogeneous nature, which we propose to think in terms of a different ontology, an ontology of difference, which takes mixtures, heterogeneity, and hybridity as its starting point rather than as poor derivatives of self-same, pure entities including science, scientific concepts, and scientific practice. In Authentic Science Revisited, the authors offer a refreshing new approach to theorizing, thinking, and doing authentic science.
A Contemporary Autobiography of a Science Educator reminds readers that they teach who they are, and understanding who they are is fundamental for meaningful communication and effective classroom instruction. The book is for science educators, teacher educators, and others who wish to examine their own personal and professional identities in the social and cultural contexts in which their lives are embedded. Just as teaching can be viewed as relationship with others, this contemporary autobiography is situated on the significance of relationship with self. As a contemporary autobiography, the narrative reveals the author’s subjective truths while digging deeply into psychosocial motives of power and intimacy. The author reflects on his personal choices and career decisions that led him into and out of high school science teaching. The book contains stories and reflections from summer work camp experiences, undergraduate college days, teacher preparation episodes, and high school science teaching. Story themes are diversity and leadership, group identity and motivation, urban teaching and teacher preparation, and high school science teaching. These themes evolve out of nuclear episodes of the author’s storied life that brings present day understanding and meaning from past actions and interactions. This kind of critical introspection may hold special relevance for teachers, teacher educators, and others who wish to make their own identities salient and relevant to their own needs and interests as well as the needs and interests of students, teacher candidates, and clients whom they serve.
This narrative about the research journey explores the motivation to study practices of environmental education and the privilege that supports the authors ability to do so. It is about the process of dislodging individual privilege in environmental education research and being part of a community of practice. It is written to invite participation in reciprocal learning/teaching about and knowledge construction of environmental education as collaborative reflexive practice.
Identity, Politics and Citizenship
In Environmental Education: Identity, Politics and Citizenship the editors endeavor to present views of environmental educators that focus on issues of identity and subjectivity, and how 'narrated lives’ relate to questions of learning, education, politics, justice, and citizenship. What is distinctive about this collection is that it highlights the views of Latin American scholars alongside those of scholars from Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, and U. S. The result is a philosophically nuanced reading of the complexities of environmental education that begins to reshape the landscape in terms of ethics, ontology, epistemology, and politics. The collection bears the stamp of the location of its contributors and strongly reflects an activist, qualitative, and ethnographic orientation that emphasizes the ground for action, the identity of environmental actors, and the contribution that education in all its forms can make to sustainability and the cause of the environment. At the same time, contributors go beyond simple slogans and ideologies to question the accepted truths of this rapidly emerging field.
Cover picture: Edgar González-Gaudiano: Siem Reap, Cambodia, December 2007.
Environmental Educators Dancing Away from Mechanism
Volume Editors: James Gray-Donald and David Selby
Environmental education has reached an interesting crossroads. There has never before been such media attention on hard-to-grasp issues such as climate change, nor has there ever been such scientific understanding and agreement about the varied aspects of the environmental crisis, the loss of biodiversity, and the health effects of human-made toxins and pollutants. In addition, there has never been so much high quality research within environmental education, with new journals flourishing in Canada, Australia, and South Africa to give just a few examples. Yet, despite all this knowledge and attention, there has not been a significant shift in the way the economy operates, the way governments govern or the way people live. Consumption of resources continues to increase and these patterns continue to be closely correlated with levels of waste, pollution, environmental ill health, and social injustice. This book showcases the work and thinking of environmental educators who are concerned about the residual mechanism within their field, the guiding symbol of the web of life in all its dynamism notwithstanding. The notion of web recognizes interaction between all elements in a system but falls short of recognizing the flow of the whole through the system and its parts. The notion of dance is used here to convey this fundamental, yet oft overlooked, dimension to wholeness.
Volume Editors: Cliff Malcom and Michael Anthony Samuel
This book arises from the author’s experience of the South African science curriculum development and teaching since 1994, exploring definitions of science and approaches to science education appropriate to a newly liberated developing country. Each of the 50 chapters is borne out of Cliff Malcolm’s close relationships with communities in SA where he obtained deep insights into their attitudes to science teaching and learning, providing him with an empirical basis to challenge tertiary institutions to transform their curriculum offerings to embrace the culture and world views of African students. The author makes a compelling case for the evolution of relevant science teaching and learning that provide ‘capital’ for indigenous knowledges. The book has relevance also to first world countries, because the social and educational problems facing South Africa, though starker here, are present in all countries.
The book addresses, among others, the nature of scientific knowledge and knowledge production; how scientific knowledge can be accessed and represented; what counts as legitimate scientific knowledge in the South African context of colonization, liberation, inequity and African belief systems. The book extends the debates on “African” Science, and offers ways of talking and writing about science that reframe it, acknowledging problematics and pluralism, offering ways of bringing Western and African thought together.
Using a richly descriptive novelistic style, the author sketches vivid portraits of his research sites, participants and experiences. His vignettes are embedded in deep theoretical insights, lending gravity to the development discourse in science education, providing a coherent language for the transformational agendas of science educators committed to the project of social justice through a relevant science.
Designing Experiences for All Students
Few research-based resources make engagement in engineering education reform and research practical for current and future educators. Yet, engineering educators are under immense pressure to address a wide variety of educational goals that extend well beyond the traditional student learning of engineering science and design. The now familiar ABET Criterion 3 a though k has placed the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of every engineering faculty member to ensure that our graduates have abilities in the areas of problem solving in complex engineering settings, teaming and communication and understandings in the areas of ethics, global and societal impact, and contemporary issues. Engineering educators must also concern themselves with recruitment and retention of a diverse student population. Creating learning experiences and environments that encourage and support the success of all students is a priority for engineering education reform.
This book is primarily being written for current and future engineering educators and researchers. The focus is on the design, development, implementation, and study of a special category of open-ended problems—the model-eliciting activity. These are realistic problems with engineering content and contexts designed to tap the strengths of all students while providing hooks to address simultaneously other educational goals. As problem solving is at the heart of engineering education and practice, it is a theme of wide appeal to engineering educators. The aims of this book are to (1) provide engineering faculty with practical tools for creating, implementing, and assessing the use of open-ended problems that meet a variety of educational goals, (2) facilitate future collaborations between engineering and education, (3) forward engineering education as a scholarly discipline by providing a resource with which to inform and teach future educators and researchers.
The book describes how incorporating mathematical modeling activities and projects, that are designed to reflect authentic engineering experience, into engineering classes has the potential to enhance and tap the diverse strengths of students who come from a variety of backgrounds. Based on the experience of a cadre of engineering and education professors who were at Purdue University during a major curriculum reform effort, this book provides a case study of the Purdue experience, which in part launched the historical beginning of the Department of Engineering Education, the first program in the United States. The reader will be provided with critical activities and tools designed during the project, and the book will be written in a way to help the reader adapt the work to their own situations.
More Detail About the Content
The NSF-funded Small Group Mathematical Modeling for Improved Gender Equity (SGMM) Project featured activities that require students to work in small technical teams to design mathematical models in response to engineering-related problems. Students produce a product for a specified client who communicates an explicitly stated need. Because the activities are designed such that the mathematical model is the answer/product, students’ mathematical thinking is revealed, providing data for formative and evaluative assessment of the curriculum innovation. The activities and the data derived from the use of the activities acted as a seeds for system reform, which resulted in changes in practice, perspectives and beliefs on the parts of engineering and education professors, and graduate researcher assistants.
The curriculum reform was initiated and studied at Purdue University between 2001 and 2005, and has involved class sizes ranging from 30 to 1400. Currently all first-year engineering students at Purdue and selected second- and third-year engineering students complete these activities in small technical teams, providing opportunities for all students to engage in authentic engineering content from day one of their educational career at Purdue. The use of meaningful problem-solving experiences, realistic engineering contexts, and small group work taps the strengths that women and minorities bring to engineering, while also providing a sound educational experience for all students that address the intent of ABET Education Criteria 2000.
Design research methodology was the theoretical frame used for studying, revising, and improving the educational innovation. The methodology is similar to design research used by research engineers, involving iterative cycles of testing and revising various aspects of the innovation. The findings indicate that students (especially women and other underrepresented groups) perceive the modeling work as interesting and motivating, and that the innovation is likely to be maintained at Purdue long beyond the life of the project. In particular, the cadre of faculty and graduate students involved in the project have learned to design the activities that adhere to a set of principles, have developed a system for gathering formative information that continues to feedback into the system for the purpose of continued improvement, have advanced in their understanding of engineering education, and many of the graduate students have moved on to university positions bringing the ideas along with them to their new environments.
The book includes three resources for the reader. The first is a theoretical framework from which to consider engineering education as moving away from “skills first, then problem solving” to “skills through problem solving with authentic engineering problems”, along with research findings that provide an empirically-based vision of this type of reform (consistent with ABET EC 2000). The second type of resource includes tools and descriptions of their use in the Purdue context. The sample tools include modeling activities, well-described implementation support systems (e. g., Internet-based assignments), and tools for gathering information (e. g., survey items, interview protocol) that can be readily adapted to the reader’s own programmatic situation. As a third resource, the reference list includes readings that span engineering education to educational research that will be useful as others pursue reading and research in the multi-disciplinary field of engineering education.
Innovative Strategies for Effecting Change in Urban School Contexts
Volume Editor: Alberto J. Rodriguez
This timely edited volume examines the education of children and youth in urban settings and offers compelling alternatives for successfully engaging them in school learning. Urban schools serve a large proportion of students who are poor, of color, and speakers of languages other than English.
The multiple faces of agency: Innovative strategies for effecting change in urban school contexts is a new and significant addition to the literature in urban education. The editor of the book and contributing scholars are to be commended for assembling such an exciting collection of innovative research for publication. The volume’s central message - the power of human agency - may help transform teaching and learning in urban schools. If this happens, urban school children and youth, who deserve better than they have received to date, stand to benefit the most from this work.