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Environmental Education Research


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The Environmentally Educated


Teacher: an exploration of the
implications of UNESCOUNEP's
ideas for preservice teacher
education programmes
a

Christopher R. Oulton & William A. H. Scott

University of Bath, UK
Version of record first published: 28 Jul 2006.

To cite this article: Christopher R. Oulton & William A. H. Scott (1995): The Environmentally
Educated Teacher: an exploration of the implications of UNESCOUNEP's ideas for preservice
teacher education programmes, Environmental Education Research, 1:2, 213-231
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1350462950010207

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Environmental Education Research, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1995

213

The 'Environmentally Educated Teacher': an


exploration of the implications of
UNESCO-UNEP's ideas for pre-service
teacher education programmes

CHRISTOPHER R. OULTON & WILLIAM A. H. SCOTT


Bath, UK

University of

This paper draws on a range of recent curriculum development and


research initiatives in order to consider what pre-service teacher education programmes
might, most effectively, be able to do to promote environmental education (EE) within
schools and, through them, within the wider community. The paper begins with a
critique of UNESCO-UNEP's ideas on what constitutes an environmentally educated
teacher; it then goes on to examine a number of priorities for pre-service teacher
education, drawing in particular on a current work of a European Union initiative in
this field. The paper concludes by putting forward a series of organizational principles
which are explicated in the form of course aims, programme elements and didactics
characteristics which might inform the work of pre-service programmes.
SUMMARY

Introduction
The School of Education in the University of Bath has been involved in
environmental education (EE)[1] since the mid 1970s, when a subject didactics
group was formed as part of the one year Postgraduate Certificate in Education
(PGCE) for intending secondary school teachers of science. The reason for this
was a mixture of two factors. The first was an intense interest and optimism
arising from national and international developments (for example, the 1971
Swiss IUCN conference, which highlighted the importance of teacher education
to EE, and the 1975 international Belgrade workshop which went on to urge that
EE should form an obligatory part of pre and inservice teacher education).
Tilbury (1992) and Fien (1994) give useful commentaries on this development.
The second was hard-headed pragmatism arising from the advent of environ1350-4622/95/020213-19 1995 Journals Oxford Ltd

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C. R. Oulton & W. A. H. Scott

mentally focussed degree courses and the raised interest in secondary schools,
where discrete examination courses in environmental science and environmental
studies were being set up and where there was a shortage of suitably qualified
teachers. The University saw itself as being able to establish a key role in
providing a means whereby environmentally educated graduates could train as
teachers who would then, in their turn, contribute to EE in schools, thus
establishing a virtuous developmental cycle.
Within the School of Education, the past few years have seen three particular
approaches, each of which has had the purpose of broadening the impact of EE
within the PGCE course outwards from science to other subject areas. The first
of these involved revisions to the course itself, ensuring that all trainees have an
attempt to grapple with issues surrounding EE and have a chance to see how it
might affect their subject and how their subject might contribute to EE in schools.
The second has been through staff development activities with colleagues in the
School of Education who work on the PGCE course. This has involved working
with The Worldwide Fund for Nature and its Thinking Futures programme, the
report of which (Champain and Inman, 1995) includes our analysis of the
management of change issues which we encountered. The third has been
through work on the Environmental Education into Teacher Education in
Europe (EEITE) programme sponsored by DG XI of the Commission of the
European Union (EU). This programme has involved work with fellow teacher
educators in 11 of the 12 then EU countries, with the purpose of exploring the
opportunities for collaborative programmes and initiatives. The first publication
of the programme (Brinkman & Scott, 1994) explores EE issues in each country,
with a particular emphasis on preservice teacher education and a range of
common developmental issues. This programme continues.
The purpose of this paper is not to offer an evaluative commentary on any of
these initiatives, but to draw on them in order to consider what pre-service
programmes might, most effectively, be able to do to promote EE within schools
and, through them, within the wider community. In order to effect this, the
paper begins with a critique of UNESCO-UNEP's (1990) ideas on what constitutes an environmentally educated teacher, which are a distillation of the ideas
expressed in a number of publications in UNESCO-UNEP's International Environmental Education Programme (see Appendix).

Environmentally Educated Teachers: the priority of priorities


The UNESCO-UNEP paper (Appendix; UNESCO-UNEP, 1990) begins by
defining the desired result of EE training programmes for teachers as: (i)
foundation competences in professional education; (ii) competences in EE content. Each of these will now be examined.
The Foundation Competences

If the EE dimension were to be removed from the text and each competence area
taken in isolation, a number of statements would be largely unexceptional, e.g.
... apply a knowledge of educational philosophy to the selection or
development of curricular programmes and strategies....

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215

... utilize current theories of moral reasoning in selecting, developing


and implementing ... curricula....
utilize current theories of knowledge/attitude/behaviour
relationships in selecting, developing and implementing a balanced
curriculum ....
... utilize current theories of learning in selecting, developing and
implementing curricular strategies ....

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... develop and use effective means of planning for instruction ....
... effectively implement the following methodologies ... interdisciplinarity, ... values clarification, games and simulations, case study
approaches,....
... effectively evaluate the results of ... curricula and methods in both
cognitive and affective domains
Competences such as these are, to varying extents, demonstrated daily (either
consciously or as part of an internalised professional thinking and development
process) in schools by the teaching profession and in planning forums where
curriculum issues are debated and decided. They also, again to varying degrees,
are reassuringly familiar to tutors working in pre-service programmes. They do,
after all, focus on large parts of the heartland of ideas and practice upon which
most preservice courses would be built, even though the organization of such
programmes might differ considerably between institutions and across countries. There would, for example, be differences in the extent to which particular
competences were emphasised, but the focus on curriculum development based
around learning theory and on classroom planning based on moral development
theory is likely to be common ground.
The other competences found in this section are much more EE-specific and
are not likely to find a generic equivalent within programmes, e.g.
... apply the theory of transfer of learning in selecting, developing and
implementing curricular materials and strategies to ensure that learned
knowledge, attitudes and cognitive skills will be transferred to the
learner's choices and decision making concerning lifestyle and behaviour....
... effectively infuse EE curricular and methods into all disciplines to
which the teacher is assigned ...
unless topics such as 'health education', and to a lesser extent 'citizenship', are
the focus of study, where a broad equivalence to EE issues is found.
A Commentary on the Foundation Competences in Relation to Pre-service Courses

Although many of these competence statements are unexceptional as they stand,


there are considerable problems with the list taken together. The problems are
two-fold; the first relates to the wide-ranging scope of what is already contained
within the list; the second to important areas which are not included.
Considering the nature of the list itself, problems stem from the length and
organisation of preservice courses which are available to prospective teachers.

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There are three issues here. Firstly, the amount of time which courses have to
spend on subject didactics and pedagogical issues tends to be short. Secondly,
the focus of such work tends to be on subject-specific issues, especially for
secondary training. Thirdly, EE tends not be part of the mainstream of activity
within pre-service programmes; the EEITE project (Scott, 1994) has, for example,
shown that there is immense diversity of practice and opportunity, even across
the small number of countries within the European Union. The problem with the
list is not its lack of desirability, but its lack of feasibility. It is a statement of a
long-term goal, which is overly ambitious given the present state of curriculum
and course development and the low level of awareness within institutions of
the need for such development.
Thus, the list is not helpful in showing colleagues see how such goals might
be realized. This is the kernel of the second issue, that of essential elements
missing from the list. These can be viewed in terms of: (i) an organizational
framework which would make such a list manageable for those who might be
charged with its implementation; (ii) additional professional competences which
would be required; (iii) the need for a rational and practical means whereby such
goals might be realized. Each of these issues is discussed in detail below.
Organisational framework. Firstly, there is no indication within the UNESCOUNEP text that the acquisition of such foundation competences might take a
considerable time and that some aspects might be appropriate for pre-service
courses and others for later, in-service support during induction programmes or
in later continuing professional development. Indeed the use of the word
foundation suggests, quite misleadingly, that all might be realisable through
pre-service courses; thus, such courses are given no limits for their ambition
limits which might reduce the rather daunting nature of the competence statements and help persuade people that they are indeed manageable and, therefore,
worth attempting.
Secondly, there is no discussion of whether and how differentiation might be
applied to ensure that teachers from particular phases of education, e.g. primary,
secondary and tertiary, might need different approaches and goals; this applies
with particular force to competences in EE content (see later).
Thirdly, there is no sense in which the case is made for an over-arching
rationale for these particular competences, the like of which might begin to
persuade colleagues in pre-service programmes that this is worth doing and that
they should be personally involved.
Additional competences. There is an implicit assumption in the UNESCO-UNEP
text that teachers act alone and have a large degree of influence or control over
curricula; it is far from clear that this is necessarily the case. It does follow,
however, that there is a need to develop team-building and team-working
competences during pre-service programmes.
The UNESCO-UNEP text also contains the implicit assumption that conditions are right in schools for EE to develop and blossom and that all that is
needed is for a teacher to come along with the requisite competences. There is
no suggestion that there might be considerable barriers to be overcome and that
serious management of change issues and processes are involved; thus there is

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a need to introduce teachers and novice (student) teachers to the theory and
practice of the management of change in order to prepare them to take an active
role in the introduction and implementation of EE within schools. This needs, as
Wilke et al. (1987) note, to be an integral part of work on EE within pre-service
courses.

Rational and practical issues. The largest question of all which remains unaddressed, and which underpins the issue of how we get from where we are
currently to the desired end, is that of who is going to do this? The UNESCOUNEP paper does rather assume that the skills, resource and inclination required to effect these goals are ready and waiting to be harnessed. In terms of
pre-service courses, this is simply not the case. Universities and schools are not,
with a few notable exceptions, repositories of such expertise (For further details,
see Williams, 1992, and the studies discussed by Fien, 1994). Tutor competence
needs to be developed, but before this can happen, tutors need to become aware
that they need to do this; in other words, a vital step is a programme of activity
whereby experts work with teacher educators on exactly this area. Where is the
staff development for this to occur?
The Thinking Futures paper (Champain & Inman, 1995) discussed earlier
represents one small (national) step in such a process; the EEITE project is an
example of an international one. Without the development of a wide-ranging
programme of professional development aimed at teacher educators working
with teachers in schools, experience suggests that no matter how desirable the
ends, pre-service courses will not become the vehicle whereby an environmentally focused approach becomes, as Law (1986) puts it 'the way we do things
round here'. For a discussion of Law's ideas in the context of pre-service courses,
the management of change and EE, see Bullock et al. (1995).
The same argument applies with equal force to those trained and equipped to
work with teachers in an in-service capacity. In short, the UNESCO-UNEP
paper wishes some desirable ends, but not the means whereby they might
realistically be achieved, and the problems with this are deeper than might at
first appear. So unrealistic is the list that its impossibility and unattainability
exacerbates the problem and creates resistance within the very groups whom we
might wish to influence. To someone taking a first faltering step, the winning
post of a marathon is not something that it is realistic to strive for. These
deficiencies are serious enough to turn what might have been the beginnings of
a strategy into mere wishful thinking. The problem is further compounded by
difficulties with UNESCO-UNEP's list of competences in EE Content. These are
discussed below.

Competences in EE Content

The UNESCO-UNEP paper sets these out at four levels: (1) ecological foundations; (2) conceptual awareness; (3) investigation and evaluation; (4) environmental action skills. Each of these will briefly be examined.
In respect of ecological foundations, the UNESCO-UNEP paper enjoins teachers
to be able to:

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... apply a knowledge of ecological foundations to the analysis of


environmental issues and identify key ecological principles involved ...
... apply a knowledge of ecological foundations to predict the ecological consequences of alternative solutions to environmental problems ...

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... be sufficiently literate in ecology to identify, select and interpret


appropriate sources of scientific information in a continuing effort to
investigate, evaluate and find solutions for environmental problems ...
... communicate and apply in an educational context the major concepts in ecology ...
It is of course very desirable that all informed citizens should have a working
knowledge, conceptual understanding and appreciation of the significance of
ecological concepts and their implications. However, it is far from clear that our
education systems are so organised as to be able to achieve this, other than for
those who have had some specialised study in ecology during the later,
advanced study, years of their formal education. Because of this, most nonbiology specialists within the existing profession and such novice teachers in
training will not meet this requirement. Thus, were this injunction to be
appropriate, some quite extensive pre and in-service changes would be required.
However, three issues arise here.
Firstly, there is the simple point that we shall not be able to meet the goal of
an informed citizenry or capable teaching force without much greater specificity
about what the goals of such a programme might be. For example, what degree
of 'knowledge' is required?, which particular 'foundations'?, how extensive does
the 'literacy' have to be?, which 'concepts'?, and so on.
The second point is more fundamental. This is to challenge the notion that you
can only contribute to EE if you actually have this (probably quite substantial)
background in ecology. This will be somewhat surprising news to those teachers
of humanities and languages who seem to be making such a contribution
already and whose contribution will be even more necessary as 'sustainable
living', with its strong emphasis on development education, supersedes EE. In
short, this unspecific emphasis on ecology, with its attempt at marginalisation
and disenfranchisement of the mass of the teaching profession, is unhelpful and
counter-productive. The point here is that teachers from different traditions and
disciplines need to work together in synergistic co-operation.
The third point follows on from this; it is that whilst ecology can provide a
frame of reference within which a number of environmental issues can be
conceptualised, to attempt to resolve the issues usually involves action in the
social/political/economic sphere, not the ecological one. A simple example of
this is the loss of habitat which renders species endangered. Ecology can help us
understand what is happening, but a very different frame of reference is needed
to help us define the actions which are needed.
In respect of conceptual awareness, this is couched in terms of a range of aspects
of professional competence which might have sat comfortably in the foundation
competences, other than for the emphasis on ecology. Here, however, ecology is
usually linked with culture, as in:
The effective environmentally educated teacher should be able to select,

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develop and implement curricular materials which will make learners


aware of:
a wide variety of local, regional, national and international environmental issues and the ecological and cultural implications of these
issues
which does at least acknowledge the important role of the humanities specialist
and reinforces the point made earlier about co-operation between teachers from
different traditions and disciplines being of vital necessity. It also, however,
reinforces the impression discussed in the section on foundation competences that
the UNESCO-UNEP paper has been overly based on the notion that teachers
work alone and act independently. In this sense, it might be argued that the
emphasis here ought to be on those professional competences which need to be
developed in all teachers, i.e. to
select, develop and implement curricular materials
rather than the current emphasis on the focus of the materials.
There is, however, a further difficulty. UNESCO-UNEP's wording is perhaps
imprecise, but it does articulate an unsophisticated model of teaching/learning
which many would not see as most effective practice when it comes to creating
best conditions for learning to occur: '... curriculum materials which will make
learners aware of...' (our italics). The model is unsophisticated and inappropriate
and we would support Robottom's (1989) critique of such technicist approaches.
In terms of investigation and evaluation and environmental action skills we finally

reach two sections which might be seen as being at the heart of the necessary
competences of the effective environmentally educated teacher (from whatever
discipline or background) and to which all other UNESCO-UNEP competences,
foundation or ecological, might be seen subservient and very much secondary.
In other words, these two areas represent the ends to which an environmentally educated teacher might be aiming, with the other aspects of the UNESCOUNEP list representing, in some measure, a set of means of getting there.
The effective environmentally educated teacher should be competent to
investigate environmental issues and evaluate alternative solutions and
to develop, select and implement curricular materials and strategies
which will develop similar competencies in learners, including:
the knowledge and skills needed to identify and investigate issues ...;
the ability to analyze environmental issues and the associated value
perspectives ...;
the ability to identify alternative solutions for discrete issues and the
value perspectives associated with these solutions;
the ability to autonomously evaluate alternative solutions and associated value perspectives for discrete environmental issues ...;
the ability to identify and clarify their own value positions related to
discrete environmental issues and their associated solutions;
the ability to evaluate, clarify and change their own value positions
in the light of new information.
Once again, it would seem that these are essentially professional competences
which can only be practised through co-operation between teachers who bring
different skills, approaches, emphases and assumptions to the task. It follows

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that any professional development associated with the promotion of such


competences also ought to be multi-disciplined. This is particularly so given the
need to link all of this with the need for development education.
Thus, this aspect of the UNESCO-UNEP list is useful, but it is still limited in
its usefulness. It suffers from the same problems that have been highlighted
before, i.e. its lack of specificity and no notion of how such desirable and
necessary ends are to be achieved.

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Beyond UNESCO-UNEP: other perspectives

It will be clear from what has been written thus far that we believe the
UNESCO-UNEP analysis to be helpful, but not particularly useful in its present
form. Our main objections are that it is:
in some important regards, inappropriately conceptualized;
not specific enough for progress to be made;
too heavily focused on ecology, without acknowledging the vital role of other
disciplines;
orientated to ends at the expense of means;
lacking in reference to the management of change and the realities of how
innovation occurs;
insufficiently differentiated between the needs of:
in-service and pre-service programmes;
primary and secondary courses;
fundamental and subsidiary priorities;
essentially locked (through no fault of its own) into a pre-UNCED view of the
way forward.
(United Nations Conference on Environment and Development [UNCED]. For
further details, see UNESCO-UNEP, 1992)
Whilst any or all of these are in need of attention, we would wish to focus on
what we feel is the important question as far as pre-service programmes are
concerned, i.e. what limits do you realistically need to place on the focus and
ambitions of such programmes? What should the priorities be for pre-service
programmes in terms of organisation, content and approach, given the limited
state of EE within such programmes currently? (See Brinkman & Scott, 1994, and
Williams, 1992, for European Union and UK perspectives on this issue.)
Much has been written about the need for such programmes, by UNESCOUNEP, by national and supranational governments and by a number of writers
and researchers. Tilbury (1992), for example, has carefully, though at times
overly optimistically, charted such calls over a 20 year period. Tilbury suggests
that '... teacher training institutions in England and Wales will finally need to
respond to international calls for the inclusion of ... (EE) ... into preservice
training.' She bases this claim on the grounds that, because the UK government
has made it one minor aspect of the national accreditation process, it will not
only therefore happen, but actually happen in a way which would meet the
perceived need. As Fien (1994) has pointed out, if it were that simple, it would
be happeningparticularly in highly centralised education systems.
Doubts have also been cast on the efficacy of a number of pre-service
programmes at attaining desired goals; see, for example, Stapp et al. (1980) and

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Wilke et al. (1987), both of whose works are discussed by Tilbury. Less has been
said, however, about the specifics of what might be provided, although Tilbury
also discusses a number of 'models' which have emerged in the 1980s and finds
them all wanting in some regard: including because they are overly content-focused (UNESCO-UNEP, 1990), too specialized (Marcinkowski et al, 1990),
insufficiently contextualized in the realities of the curriculum (Hungerford et ah,
1988) or much too limited in their appreciation of the need for a strategic
approach to change within teacher education institutions (Stapp et ah, 1980). Fien
(1994) discusses two initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region whose purpose is to
'address the imperatives of education for sustainable living within pre-service
teacher education' and goes into greater detail in an earlier paper (Fien, 1993)
about 'the challenges to teacher education' whilst discussing the Environmental
and Development Education Project for Teacher Education.

Tilbury ends her paper by calling for a 'realistic model' which can match up
the complexities of EE with the intricacies of teacher education programmes and
institutions and which is accompanied by '... sound strategies which will ensure
its development ...' within pre-service teacher education.
Priorities for Pre-service Programmesa tentative analysis
A Realistic Modelidentifying problems

What then might a 'realistic model' be? We have already noted that it will need
to be limited in nature and scope, but it is worth stressing here why we feel this
is necessary.
Our experience of our own pre-service programmes and that of colleagues
within the EEITE initiative suggests that any model needs to acknowledge that
in terms of the implementation of EE innovation, pre-service programmes tend
to be characterized by the features set out in Fig. 1.
Such a list appears daunting and conditions for the implementation of EE
within pre-service programmes are still far from perfect. But Law (1986) has
reminded us in his Critical Mass Theory of Innovation that this need not be
problematic. Law's theory has three propositions:
nothing is perfect and people who wait for perfect conditions to launch a new
initiative will wait forever;
there is always something that can be done;
perfection is not necessarywhen enough of the most-needed things have
been done, change will take place.
So, what might be 'the most needed things' with regard to the provision of EE
within pre-service programmes?
A Realistic Modelproposing some ways forward

The situational analysis presented earlier suggests that a multi-component


strategy will be needed if EE goals are to be realised even in a limited way in
pre-service programmes. There are two distinct sets of issues here; those relating
to innovation and those relating to aims and outcomes.

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1 * courses are short in duration and, because of this and because they are pre-experience courses, they tend to be
densely packed with content and timetabled activities; it is, therefore, likely to be difficult to find space in the
programme for new initiatives;
2 * the curriculum is already full of 'necessary' and fully 'justified' content which will be defended by special
interest groups whose motivation will be to increase the time allocated to their particular interests rather than
reduce it;

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3 * EE is not seen as a real priority by curriculum planners and senior managers, even where they see it as
important; there are also initiatives whose claim to inclusion and preference will be seen by many groups as
being as valid as that of EE; Research does suggest that EE is much better placed in this regard than many other
would-be initiatives. See Bullock & Scott, (1991) p. 7.5;
4 * most tutors are currently not willing to incorporate EE within their specialist subject didactics programmes,
even if they could see some justification for doing so; nor are they able to because they lack the skills,
awareness and motivation to do so;
5 * novice teachers have their own sets of priorities which they bring with them from prior experience of diverse
lands; these tend not to put EE near the top of their own developmental agendas; they, therefore, tend not to
push institutions to provide EE programmes;
6 t novice teachers have not seen EE prioritized by their own educational experiences, and are motivated through
pre-service courses by the need to develop their own competence as a teacher, curriculum foci tend to come a
distant second to this need, particularly in the early stages of a course;
7 * institutional policies might exist, but are unlikely to be fully followed through into practice because the
motivation for and enthusiasm about policies is rarely developed or backed up by implementation strategies;
policies are, by and large, cheaper than practice;
8 courses tend to be reliant on experience in schools to further and nurture the professional development of the
novice teacher, where EE is firmly and positively located within a school curriculum, novices can tap into that
experience and learn through contributing to programmes. Unfortunately, not all schools are in this position
and even where they are, schools need to see such experience as being of formative and seminal experience for
the novice.

FIG. 1. Characteristics of pre-service programmes.

Innovation. In terms of innovation, the following need to be considered:

positional, and/or professional, authority;


course committees and academic boards;
the course team and course management;
individual subject didactics tutors;
partnership schools;
novice teachers.

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Positional and/or professional authority. Kanter (1983) has suggested that:

Any new strategy, no matter how brilliant or responsive, no matter


how much agreement the formulators have about it, will stand a good
chance of not being implemented fullyor sometimes at allwithout
someone with power pushing it.
This reality calls for a two-fold approach. It argues for a continuation of the
external pushes aimed at making the intellectual case for EE, with a particular
emphasis on pre-service courses; it also argues for tutors within institutions and
schools to continue, formally and informally, to press the case internally and to
back this need for teaching by carrying out persuasive research studies. The
critical mass of tutors able and willing to do this needs to be increased.
Course committees and academic boards. Academic boards and committees which

adopt policies and generally validate, monitor and evaluate courses and programmes because of internal and external (statutory) requirements are also open
to persuasion. Unlike, an approach to senior management, this is likely to need
a formal approach through position papers and the like. Such boards, however,
are also susceptible to the push of external persuasion, particularly where
membership is not wholly confined to the higher education institution. Their
influence is due, in large part, to the fact that their approval of an initiative can
confer considerable respectability and status on an initiative.
The course team and course management. These are significant 'gatekeepers' to
any innovation and any internal push will need to persuade this group. It is here
that battles are likely to be fought (and lost) over the allocation and prioritisation
of curriculum time and where arguments must be won if EE is to be seen as an
entitlement for all novices teachers. For success here, there needs to be clarity in
the defining of purposes and practice, precision in the timetabling and organizational requirements and, critically, a shared understanding gained through
co-operative endeavours.
Individual subject didactics tutors. It is here that most flexibility exists. Wherever
individual tutors are both willing and able to deliver EE goals through their
particular programmes, there are few logistical or other reasons why this is not
possible. Tilbury (1993) has researched and written in some detail about such
issues and in particular about the roles of tutors in innovation relating to EE
within pre-service programmes.
In terms of innovation, the analysis in Fig. 2 shows the extent of the changes
which are needed. As most tutors begin in Al (indifferent and unaware), there
is a need to shift to B2 (interested and aware). There is, therefore, a need for a
diagonal shift, implying an emphasis on both cognitive and affective issues in any
development strategy. Further movement upwards or rightwards is unnecessary
and potentially wasteful. The imperative, for the use of scarce resources, is to
increase the number of tutors in the B2 position and then to support their
growing expertise and interest through appropriate staff development.
The significant question here is, how might this transition most appropriately
be effected? The research report in Thinking Futures: making space for environmental education in ITEa handbook for educators (Bullock et al, 1995) points one route

224

C. R. Oulton & W. A. H. Scott

specialist

A
3

888888888888888
888888888888889
888888S88888888
888888888888888
888888888888888
888888888888888

TV

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a
r
e
n
e
s

aware

1
unaware

indifference

interest

enthusiasm

C o m m i t m e n t

>

FIG. 2. An analysis of the innovation limits in terms of tutor awareness and commitment.

forward. Bullock and her co-workers report and comment on a staff development initiative where a number of subject didactics tutors from varying disciplines worked together with experts and resource support from the Worldwide
Fund for Nature in a conscious attempt to make the diagonal shift discussed
above.
The outcomes of this development suggest that resources and conditions
needed for such a shift are eight-fold and need to be organised in three phases.
This is shown in Fig. 3.
Phase 1 itself might usefully occur in more than one stage and could be
integrated with the beginnings of Phase 2, rather than requiring a strict sequence. This model is very flexible and adaptable. Where an internal expert
consultant is available, it can also be relatively cheap.
Partnership schools. Given that the prime purpose of having environmentally
educated teachers is to further EE in schools, it seems appropriate to involve
schools and teachers in the practice of EE within pre-service courses. Where
particular expertise resides in a school, that should be drawn upon, and where
EE courses are run in schools, every opportunity should be taken to involve
novice teachers.
Even where none of this is found, every school affords the interested novice
the opportunity of experimenting and trying out approaches in their own subject
areas, subject only to the acquiescence of the school or subject department in this
process. However, where such approval is not found, or where the idea is
dismissed, very strong negative messages are given to novices. The argument
here, of course, is for EE developments within pre- and in-service work to be
concerted around IT-INSET work in partnership schools.
Novice teachers. Novice teachers are obviously a key focus of this work, but are
also crucial participants in the innovation. There are two issues here. Firstly, part

Pre-service Teacher Education

Phase

225

tutors willing to come together and explore ideas time for working together as a group on EE

itself, and its pedagogical facets


a source of expertise to guide the development,
acting as a consultant to all tutors involved in

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the initiative

appropriate resources; some of these will be EEspecialist materials; others will be subject- or
phase-specific

Phase
2

time for individual experimentation; ideally this

the opportunity to share outcomes and plan for

involves working with novice teachers trying

future activity; ideally on a co-operative

out a small number of ideas; guidance from the

mutually-supportive basis guided by the

consultant

consultant

Phase

time to build on developments; ideally by

collective review of developments and joint

building an aspect of EE into the subject

action-planning for future individual and

didactics programme and reviewing progress

collective work; guidance by the consultant

FIG. 3. Resources and conditions necessary for staff development programmes.

of their awareness-raising might usefully involve a sharing of the imperatives


behind this development, both in terms of EE and in respect of the need to
encourage their own competenceand that of schools. Secondly, many novice
teachers themselves have both experience and expertise to contribute to this
process.

Aims and outcomes. In terms of aims and outcomes, we need to consider what the
desired outcomes of our limited ambitions for EE within pre-service programmes ought to be and to ask what might environmentally educated teachers
have done and what skills or awareness might they have by the end of, say, a
one year course? The answers to questions such as these will determine what
limits the pre-service course should realistically set itself.
Finding responses to these questions has been at the heart of the EEITE project
(Brinkman & Scott, 1994). Project members have drawn up a series of organisational principles which they feel should underpin the work of pre-service
courses in this regard. These are set out in the following case study.

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C. R. Oulton & W. A. H. Scott

Case Study of Pre-service Course Developmentthe EEITE project

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This case study sets out a number of organisational principles which are
explicated in the form of course aims, programme elements and didactics characteristics which might inform the work of pre-service teacher education.
The course aims are:
as a result of pre-service teacher education programmes novice teachers
should be both willing and able to make a contribution to environmental
education through their own work with learners;
willing in a sense that they understand the importance of environmental
education and have a personal commitment to it which is both practical
and intellectual;
able in a sense that they have a repertoire of management of change and
curriculum innovation strategies upon which they can draw in co-operation with others.
The EEITE project recognises that these are ambitious aims and in order to
achieve them, preservice programmes will need to contain two elements. For the
sake of clarity these elements are listed here separately. This should not be taken
to mean that these will necessarily be separate in practice; rather, tutors will
have the responsibility of deciding the inter-relationships between these (and
other) elements for themselvesand for determining patterns of organization
and support their development work will have. Rather than stifle innovation
here, it will be necessary to encourage diversity and to monitor practice in order
to gain insights into the transferability of particular approaches and programme
designs between institutions.
The two programme elements are:
(I) aims and practice
a consideration of the aims and practice of environmental education, particularly as it relates to compulsory schooling;
an examination of curriculum practice and extra-curriculum opportunities and
the desired learning outcomes associated with these;
the identification of these characteristics which mark out curriculum activity
as contributing to environmental education;
an exploration of particular strategies and approaches which can be employed
in environmental education;
(II) personal experience in environmental education
working with teachers and children in schools on suitably small-scale activities;
evaluating this practice and building on the foundations laid through
reflection and systematic planning;
in particular, evaluating the effects of this practice on both their own and
children's awareness of the possibilities and priorities of environmental education.
It is necessary to emphasise the incremental and iterative nature of such
developments and the consequent necessity of taking a small-step approach,
coupled with a focus on the management of intervention and change.

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227

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The EEITE project evolved a number of didactics characteristics which each


institution's developmental project would try to follow. These are such that they
might themselves describe desired characteristics of pre-service programmes.
The didactics characteristics are:
in part at least, a local focus, drawing from and contributing to expertise and
awareness in the local community;
integration in initial teacher education programmes, rather than being an
addition;
a clear set of aims and desired learning outcomes, which are related to the
goals of the preservice programme;
action-oriented, in that novice teachers will be involved in the planning,
implementation and evaluation of the work and will be encouraged to have an
individual commitment to reflection, so as to build the experience into their
own professional development;
values and attitude development are key features;
processes and outcomes of the work can be shared with other subject didactics
groups;
an interdisciplinary approach, involving more than one subject area or curriculum focus;
a dual focus, in which tutors and teachers work with novice teachers, who for
their part work with students in school.
It is to develop ideas along these lines and to test out these ideas that the
EEITE project is now working.
End Note

It is apparent that the issues which must be considered in the management of


such an innovation are various and complex. It could be that the complexity is
the most daunting feature of the developmental process and, invariably, there
are no quick and easy solutions. Interventions which are well thought out and
systematic can help to ensure lasting progress. It would be unrealistic to expect
an immediate transformation of course development in EE across any
institution, but the small step approach can itself trigger dividends in other
directions.
A framework for reference in analysing important factors can be helpful to
managers of change in seeing what is happening and thus being in a better
position to act decisively and effectively. It is in this sense and spirit that this
paper offers these ideas, tentatively at this stage, to anyone who would wish to
criticise and /or develop them.
Notes on Contributors
BILL SCOTT and CHRIS OULTON are co-directors of the Environmental Education Research Group in the School of Education at the University of Bath. Bill
is a Senior Lecturer in Education with responsibility for the school-based PGCE
in Partnership programme. Chris is a Lecturer in Education with responsibility
for the environmental science preservice teacher education programme. Chris is

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C. R. Oulton & W. A. H. Scott

also Chair of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) Working
Group on Environmental Education and Initial Teacher Education. Correspondence: University of Bath, School of Education, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY,
UK.

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NOTE
[1] This paper uses the term 'environmental education' because its focus is on late 1980s/early
1990s UNESCO-UNEP literature, where the term is consistently found. The authors are
aware, however, that were such literature to be generated today, a term such as the IUCN's
'education for sustainable living' might well be used in place of environmental education,
but have chosen to keep the original terminology to avoid unnecessary confusion. The
issues which the paper addresses remain pertinent, whatever the term used.

REFERENCES
BRINKMAN, F.G. & SCOTT, W.A.H. (Eds) (1994) Environmental Education into Initial Teacher
Education in Europe (EEITE) 'The State of the Art', ATEE Cahiers no. 8 (Brussels, Association
of Teacher Education in Europe).
BULLOCK, K.M. & SCOTT, W.A.H. (Eds) (1991) Student Primary Teachers: their economic and
industrial background, understanding and attitudesan investigation (Halifax, EATE).
BULLOCK, K.M., ENGLISH, T., OULTON, C.R. & SCOTT, W.A.H. (1995) Reflections on an environmen-

tal education staff development initiative for teacher educators, in: P. CHAMPAIN & S. INMAN
(Eds) Thinking Futures: making space for environmental education in ITEa handbook for educators, in press (Godalming, Worldwide Fund for Nature).
CHAMPAIN, P. & INMAN, S. (Eds) (1995) Thinking Futures: making space for environmental education
in ITEa handbook for educators, in press (Godalming, Worldwide Fund for Nature).
FIEN, J. (1993) Sustainable development challenges for teacher education: an Australian case
study, paper presented to a Unesco-SEAMES Seminar, Penang.
FIEN, J. (1994) Learning to teach for a sustainable world: two Asia-Pacific projects in environmental education for teacher education, paper presented to the ATEE Annual Conference,
Prague.
HUNGERFORD, H.R., VOLK, T.L., DIXON, B.G., MARCINKOWSKI, T.J. & ARCHIBALD, P.C. (1988) An

environmental education approach to the training of elementary teachers: a teacher education programme, International Environmental Education Programme; environmental education
series no. 17 (Paris, UNESCO-UNEP).
KANTER, R.M. (1983) The Change Masters (London, Allen & Unwin).
LAW, B. (1986) The Pre-vocational Franchise: organizing community linked education for adult and
working life (London, Harper and Row).
MARCINKOWSKI, T.J., VOLK, T.L. & HUNGERFORD, H.R. (1990) An environmental education ap-

proach to the training of middle level teachers: a prototype programme, International


Environmental Education Programme; environmental education series no. 30 (Paris, UNESCOUNEP).
ROBOTTOM, I. (1989) Social critique or social control: some problems for evaluation in environmental education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 26, pp. 435-443.
SCOTT, W.A.H. (1994) Diversity and opportunityreflections on environmental education
within initial teacher education programmes across the European Union, in: F.G. BRINKMAN
& W.A.H. SCOTT (Eds) Environmental Education into Initial Teacher Education in Europe (EEITE)
'The State of the Art', ATEE Cahiers no. 8 (Brussels, Association of Teacher Education in
Europe).
STAPP, W., CADUTO, M., MANN, L. & NOWAK, P. (1980) Analysis of pre-service environmental

education of teachers in Europe and an instructional model for furthering this education,
Journal of Environmental Education, 12, pp. 3-10.

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229

TILBURY, D. (1992) Environmental education within pre-service teacher education: the priority of
priorities, International Journal of Environmental Education and Information, 11, pp. 267-280.
TILBURY, D. (1993) Environmental education: developing a model for initial teacher education,
PhD thesis, University of Cambridge.
UNESCO-UNEP (1990) Environmentally educated teachers the priority of priorities? Connect,
XV(1), pp. 1-3.
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WILKE, R.J., PEYTON, R.B. & HUNGERFORD, H.R. (1987) Strategies for the training of teachers in

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participation (Sussex University, Education Network for Environment and Development).

Appendix
Foundational Competencies in Professional Education

The effective environmentally educated teacher should be able to:


apply a knowledge of educational philosophy to the selection or development
of curricular programmes and strategies to achieve both general education
and EE goals. (General education materials and methods may sometimes need
merely to be 'environmentalized' to achieve both objectives);
utilize current theories of moral reasoning in selecting, developing and
implementing EE curricula which will effectively achieve EE goals. (Teachers
should be competent to use appropriate strategies to allow learners to recognize the role of values in environmental decision making, clarify value
positions and understand the valuing process);
utilize current theories of knowledge/attitude/behaviour relationships in
selecting, developing and implementing a balanced curriculum which maximizes the probability of desired environmentally aware behaviour changes in
learners. (A balanced curriculum takes into account such aspects as ecological
factors vs. trade-off costs, etc.);
utilize current theories of learning in selecting, developing and implementing
curricular strategies to effectively achieve EE goals. (The methodology of EE
as well as the nature of many EE goals is problem solving. A pragmatic
approach on the part of teachers to theories of learning development, such as
Piaget's, can do much to increase EE effectiveness in such methodologies and
goals as environmental problem solving);
apply the theory of transfer of learning in selecting, developing and implementing curricular materials and strategies to insure that learned knowledge,
attitudes and cognitive skills will be transferred to the learner's choices and
decision making concerning lifestyle and behaviour. (The ultimate goal of EE
is to produce environmentally literate citizens who are willing and capable of
taking positive environmental actions in their lifetime);
effectively implement the following methodologies to achieve EE goals: interdisciplinary, outdoor education, values clarification, games and simulation,
case-study approaches, community resource use, autonomous student and/or
group investigation, evaluation and action in environmental problem solving,

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C. R. Oulton & W. A. H. Scott

and appropriate teacher behaviours when handling controversial environmental issues;


develop and use effective means of planning for instruction;
effectively infuse appropriate EE curricula and methods into all disciplines to
which the teacher is assigned;
effectively evaluate the results of EE curricula and methods in both cognitive
and affective domains.

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Competencies in Environmental Education Content

Level 1: ecological foundations. The effective environmentally educated teacher


should be able to:
apply a knowledge of ecological foundations to the analysis of environmental
issues and identify key ecological principles involved;
apply a knowledge of ecological foundations to predict the ecological consequences of alternative solutions to environmental problems;
be sufficiently literate in ecology to identify, select and interpret appropriate
sources of scientific information in a continuing effort to investigate, evaluate
and find solutions for environmental problems;
communicate and apply in an educational context the major concepts in
ecology.
Level 2: conceptual awareness. The effective environmentally educated teacher
should be able to select, develop and implement curricular materials which will
make learners aware of:
how people's cultural or vocational activities (economic, religious, industrial,
etc.) affect the environment from an ecological perspective;
how individual behaviours impact on the environment from the same perspective;
a wide variety of local, regional, national and international environmental
issues and the ecological and cultural implications of these issues;
the viable alternative solutions available for remediating discrete environmental issues and the ecological and cultural implications of these alternative
solutions;
the need for environmental issue investigation and evaluation as a prerequisite to sound decision making;
the roles played by differing human values clarification as an integral part of
environmental decision making;
the need for responsible citizenship action (persuasion, consumerism, legal
action, political action ecomanagement, etc.) in the remediation of environmental concerns.
Level 3: investigation and evaluation. The effective environmentally educated
teacher should be competent to investigate environmental issues and evaluate
alternative solutions and to develop, select and implement curricular materials
and strategies which will develop similar competencies in learners, including:
the knowledge and skills needed to identify and investigate issues (using both

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231

primary and secondary sources of information and to synthesize the data


gathered);
the ability to analyze environmental issues and the associated value perspectives with respect to their ecological and cultural implications;
the ability to identify alternative solutions for discrete issues and the value
perspectives associated with these solutions;
the ability to autonomously evaluate alternative solutions and associated
value perspectives for discrete environmental issues with respect to their
cultural and ecological implications;
the ability to identify and clarify their own value positions related to discrete
environmental issues and their associated solutions;
the ability to evaluate, clarify and change their own value positions in the
light of new information.
Level 4: environmental action skills. The effective environmentally educated teacher
should be competent to take positive environmental action for the purpose of
achieving and maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between the quality of life
and the quality of the environment (if indeed one can be separated from the
other) and develop similar competencies in learners to take individual or group
action when appropriate, such as persuasion, consumerism, political action, legal
action, ecomanagement or combinations of these categories of action.