Effects of an Environmental Educator Training Workshop on Environmental Knowledge, Awareness, and Teaching Self-Efficacy

Rachel M. Small, Lincoln R. Larson, Gary T. Green, Anne M. Shenk

Abstract


Efforts to expand the depth and scope of environmental education (EE) programs that help children connect with nature often depend on the preparation and development of skilled environmental educators. However, the impact of professional development on aspiring EE teachers has not been adequately explored. This study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate the effects of EE training on elementary school teachers in Athens, GA. Survey data analysis showed that, relative to a control group, workshop participants displayed a significant increase in knowledge and awareness regarding specific environmental topics. Knowledge and awareness related to broader, more general concepts were difficult to change. Interview analysis suggested that the training helped build teachers’ self-efficacy and increased their willingness to try EE activities in the classroom. Future EE training programs that target EE knowledge and awareness could facilitate the development of environmental literacy and promote teaching self-efficacy that translates into effective EE instruction.

Keywords


Environemental awareness; environmental knowledge; environmental literacy; elementary teachers; ethnobotony; teaching self-efficacy

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