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ERIC Number: EJ1108092
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1350-4622
Teachers' Conceptions of the Environment: Anthropocentrism, Non-Anthropocentrism, Anthropomorphism and the Place of Nature
Quinn, Frances; Castéra, Jérémy; Clément, Pierre
Environmental Education Research, v22 n6 p893-917 2016
Analyses of attempts to prevent the worsening of environmental problems on Earth often identify two key lines of critique about contemporary school curriculum: first, its role in entrenching anthropocentrism as the dominant paradigm for people-environment relations, and then, also compounding this, their combined role in furthering a loss of connection with nature. However, those who advance such critiques do not always acknowledge that teachers perceive and enact curriculum in a variety of ways, including resisting these possible outcomes or rejecting such conceptions, be that in relation to schooling in general, or environmental sustainability as a particular focus for curriculum policy and activities. In light of this, our paper focuses on the substance and significance of teachers' conceptions of anthropocentrism and related constructs to curriculum, drawing on a range of theoretically- and empirically-based insights. First, we consider the literatures of environmental ethics and eco-philosophy to examine why dominant readings of nature and anthropocentrism are contested, and how this plays out in education, including for curriculum making. Then, within this context, we present results of a quantitative study of 201 inservice and preservice teachers in Australia, drawing on responses to selected items from the "BIOHEAD-Citizen" questionnaire. Our findings illustrate a range of anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric conceptions of the environment, illuminating their relation to both consistent and contrasting findings on related concepts of anthropomorphism, and attitudes towards nature and environment. As our analysis shows, the teachers' responses cluster into four "groups" of conceptions, which illustrate a range of anthropocentric possibilities, typically related to negative attitudes to nature and environment, and non-anthropocentric ones, usually related to positive attitudes to nature and environment, particularly when combined with anthropomorphism. Given the links between non-anthropocentrism and pro-environmental behaviours, and the significance of educators' ecoliteracy for advancing action on unsustainability via curriculum (re)development established in previous research, we conclude our paper discussing the value and challenges of (i) fostering ecocentrism and (ii) facilitating nature experiences, via contemporary preservice teacher education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A