Unearthing environmental education: A study of sixth grade curriculum and teachers' experiences in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
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In 2002, the United Nations declared 2005-2014 the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and emphasized environmental education as a catalyst in creating positive change. This study examines the presence (or absence) of environmental education in the sixth grade of the Halifax Regional School Board in Nova Scotia. Content analysis was conducted to determine the environmental quality of three curricula – health education, science, and social studies. Semi-structured interviews were then conducted with a cohort of teachers to determine their conceptualizations of environmental education and implementation barriers. Results show the curricula have a strong reliance on knowledge-based learning and assign less importance to experiential learning and attitudes. With teachers, the data show that environmental education implementation depends highly on personal beliefs, especially due to its minor role in the curriculum. Furthermore, the lack of resources, training, and support from upper levels cause environmental education to be “important but not a priority”.