Zambia teachers educator's perception of enviromental education and their participation in its teaching at kitwe and mansa colleges of education

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Chileshe, Lukonde Derrieck
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All teacher educators in Zambian Primary Colleges of Education by policy are expected to include Environmental Education (EE) in their lessons as a crosscutting issue. But EE as a crosscutting issue has no specific content to teach and is usually ignored by such teacher educators. To address this problem, the general aim of the study was to evaluate and explore the respondents’ (that is, teacher educators) perceptions of EE and their participation in its teaching at Kitwe and Mansa Colleges of Education. The specific objectives of the study sought to determine the views of selected teacher educators on teaching EE as a crosscutting issue; to assess the degree of teacher educators’ participation in teaching EE; to investigate the challenges encountered by teacher educators in implementing EE using the crosscutting approach and to establish training needs of teacher educators involved in teaching EE in Zambian Colleges of Education. The study adopted both qualitative and quantitative research approaches, and employed questionnaires, observations guide and focus group discussions guide as research instruments. Content analysis was also used to ascertain teacher educators’ participation in EE. The study sample comprised 33 college teacher educators who were purposively selected to participate in the study. The data was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The major findings revealed that respondents’ views of EE were associated with creation of awareness about the environment and they narrowly viewed EE in terms of nature conservation. EE was viewed both as a main and extra curricular activity. The study also revealed that EE was only taught as topics or subtopics in Science Education (SE), Social and Spiritual Moral Education (SSME) and Technology Studies (TS) and not as a crosscutting issue across the curriculum. The challenges experienced in implementing EE were lack of knowledge and skills, unclear curriculum, lack of resources, pressure of time due to an overloaded curriculum, lack of clear policy to guide its teaching and negative attitudes of respondents toward its teaching. Most respondents had neither received pre-service nor in-service training in EE and if they did receive such training then it was irrelevant to the work they were doing. The study concluded that EE should not end at creation of awareness about the environment but it should be linked to knowledge, skills and attitudes required to act for the environment. As a key recommendation, extra curricular activities should be fully utilised in teaching EE and that there was an urgent need to train or reorient teacher educators in the two colleges on how they could teach it. Such training should be extended nationwide to all the Zambian Colleges of Education. Moreover, there is need to reorganise the curriculum in order to make the teaching of EE sustainable.
enviromental education--Zambia