Environmental education in early childhood teacher training programs: perceptions and beliefs of pre-service teachers

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2013
Güner, Zişan
This study aimed to describe pre-service early childhood teachers’ perceptions of environmental education in teacher training programs, their beliefs about the integration of environmental education into early childhood education, and also to investigate the relationship between their perceptions and beliefs. Mixed methods sequential explanatory design was used. Data were collected from pre-service early childhood teachers (N=470) using Perceptions of Pre-service Teachers towards Environmental Education in Teacher Training Programs (PTEE) and Beliefs of Pre-service Teachers about Integration of Environmental Education into Early Childhood Education (BIEE) scales which were developed by the researcher. To elaborate the quantitative data, interviews were conducted with 9 participants. The results showed that pre-service teachers’ perceptions of environmental education in their training programs are neither insufficient nor sufficient. The interviews revealed insufficiencies in these programs due to some reasons including limited time and the absence of a separate environmental education course. Moreover, there were some sufficiencies in offering environmental education experiences for pre-service teachers throughout coursework, practicum and internship. The results unfolded that pre-service teachers had availing beliefs about the integration of environmental education into early childhood education. Analysis of the qualitative data indicated that participants believed the significance of this integration owing to its contributions to children’s whole development and learning, children’s acquisition of environmental outcomes. They also reflected beliefs about the ways for this integration such as integrating environmental education into different activities. Lastly, a positive correlation between pre-service early childhood teachers’ perceptions and beliefs was found.

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Citation Formats
Z. Güner, “Environmental education in early childhood teacher training programs: perceptions and beliefs of pre-service teachers,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2013.