Determining pupil orientation toward the natural environment and conservation

Schreuder, Daniel Rossouw (1990-11)

Thesis (D. Ed.) -- University of Stellenbosch, 1990.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: The urgency of the issues concerning of man's relationship to the natural environment is confirmed by the large-scale publicity given to them by the media. This has resulted in a fairly general public awareness of environmental issues which is at present reflected by numerous efforts to further stimulate positive interest in conservation and the responsible use of natural resources. It is generally accepted that the next generation of decisionmakers should be more thoroughly equipped to face these environmental issues and problems, some of which threaten life's very existence. Over the past 15 years, therefore, several organizations have accepted the responsibility of making school-children much more aware of the environment and of encouraging in them a sense of responsibility towards it. To date, however, these efforts have taken place outside the formal education sector. In fact, there are indications that environmental education has had very little impact on our school programmes. It appears that those school subjects in particular which are supposed to introduce pupils to aspects of the natural environment are still taught as if there were nothing wrong with the environment and as if the environment were just another topic to be studied. Environmental issues are avoided in most current school syllabuses, designed as they are to prepare pupils academically for university or the labour market., However, there are indications that, particularly as a result of increased public pressure, the formal education sector will eventually have to accept responsibility for assimilating the principles of environmental education into school curricula. The White Paper on Environmental Education (April 1989) seems to support this. It is being generally accepted that environmental education will not be regarded as a new school subject, but that it will re-emphasize classic educational principles aimed at encouraging positive pupil attitudes toward the environment. These attitudes can be defined by terms such as responsibility, concern, inclination toward conservation, environmental awareness and respect for creation. It is clear that some basic aspects of attitudes should be investigated in formal education. A cognitive component has long been accepted as a prerequisite for the existence of any particular attitude, while a personal value system is also important. A third is the conative aspect, that is, a tendency to act in a certain way. This implies that the emphasis in formal education will have to shift towards a holistic approach which will acknowledge the importance of these aspects in the learning process. The crucial role of evaluation and assessment in education has long been accepted. Both serve to not only gather information on the pupils' development, but also expose learning needs and lacunae which should enable the teacher to make informed decisions on curriculum materials and methodology. Since it seems that environmental education will widely serve as an important stimulant for educational reform, classroom evaluation practice is one of the areas which should benefit from the introduction of this approach. However, evaluation instruments will have to be developed that will enable teachers to collect information on pupil orientation toward the environment and conservation. This will not only enable teachers to develop curricula suited to the needs of pupils and society- more effectively, but it may also enable them to monitor the development of positive attitudes in pupils on an ongoing basis. There are indications that in a complex society as exists in southern African culture and ethnicity greatly influence orientation and attitudes toward the environment, and this should be considered in the development of curricula. Therefore these evaluation techniques should be effective in the classroom as well as in a variety of social contexts. The main purpose of this research project was to develop an evaluation instrument that could be used to gather information to enable the teacher to formulate relevant and suitable curriculum objectives and to choose suitable curriculum materials and methodologies. This may be instrumental in educating a new generation who will be better equipped to address environmental issues and problems than the present one. This development should be regarded as an attempt to encourage the unforced introduction of environmental education into formal education systems, thereby complying with some of the recommendations in the White Paper.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die dringendheid van die vraagstukke wat die verhouding van die mens tot sy omgewing kenmerk word bevestig deur die grootskaalse publisiteit wat dit in die openbare media geniet. Dit het gelei tot 'n redelik algemene bewustheid van omgewingskwessies onder die algemene publiek, en word tans gereflekteer deur verskeie aksies wat daarop gemik is om groter bewustheid en positiewe aksie verder te stimuleer. Daar word allerwee besef dat die volgende geslag besluitnemers meer substansieel toegerus behoort te word ten einde hierdie vraagstukke - sommige waarvan die voortbestaan van lewe self bedreig - die hoof te bied. Verskeie organisasies het oor veral die afgelope 15 jaar die verantwoordelikheid aanvaar om ook die skoolgaande jeug op te voed tot 'n groter bewustheid van, en 'n groter verantwoordelikheid teenoor die omgewing. Hierdie pogings vind jammer genoeg vetal buite die formele onderwyssektor plaas. Daar is trouens talle aanduidings dat omgewingsopvoeding nog geen noemenswaardige weerklank in ons skole gevind het nie. Dit wil voorkom asof veral die skoolvakke wat die kind aan sy natuuromgewing moet bekendstel steeds s6 onderrig word as of daar niks met die omgewing skort nie, en die omgewing steeds net nag 'nonderwerp is wat bestudeer behoort te word. Weinig van die vraagstukke wat teruggevoer kan word tot die mens se wanverhouding tot sy omgewing word weerspieel in huidige skoolsillabusse, wat hoofsaaklik daarop gemik is om die kind akademies vir die universiteits- of arbeidsmark voor te berei. AIle aanduidings is egter daar dat, veral weens openbare druk, die formele onderwyssektor gaandeweg die verantwoordelikheid sal moet aanvaar om ook die beginsels van omgewingsopvoeding in skoolvakke te integreer. Dit is ook bevestig deur die Witskrif oor Omgewingsopvoeding (April 1989). Dit word algemeen aanvaar dat omgewingsopvoeding nie 'n nuwe yak is nie, maar slegs neerkom op herbeklemtoning van klassieke onderwysbeginsels met die doel om uiteidelik die leerling se houdings ten opsigte van sy totale omgewing positief te belnvloed. Die houdings kan op talle wyses omskryf word: verantwoordelikbeid, besorgdbeid, bewaringsingesteldbeid, liefde en deernis vir die skepping, omgewingsbewustheid en ander word gereeld gebruik. Dit blyk dat daar sekere basiese aspekte van houdings is wat deur opvoeding ondersoek behoort te word. Dit is duidelik dat 'n basiese kenniskomponent 'n voorvereiste is vir die bestaan van 'n sekere houding, en dat die waardesisteme van 'n individu 'n ander belangrike komponent van'n houding is. 'n Derde komponent is 'n konatiewe, oftewel 'n geneigdheid tot 'n sekere optrede. Dit is duidelik dat die klem in onderwys toenemend sal moet verskuif na 'n meer holistiese benadering wat die rol van hierdie fasette in die leerproses erken. Dit word algemeen aanvaar dat evaluering 'n uiters belangrike rol te vervul het in onderwys en opvoeding. Nie alleen word inligting ten opsigte van 'n kind se groei en ontwikkeling daardeur gegenereer nie, maar dit verskaf noodsaaklike inligting ten opsigte van sekere leemtes en leerbehoeftes wat by kinders mag bestaan, en wat 'n bepalende invloed op die ontwikkeling van kurrikulums behoort te he . Dit word voorsien dat omgewingsopvoeding 'n baie belangrike stimulant vir onderwysvernuwing oor 'n wye front sal bied. Die gebied van klaskamerevaluering is een van die areas wat sal baat by die implementering van die benadering, mits tegnieke ontwikkel word om die onderwyser in staat te stel om soveel as moontlik inligting oor sy leerlinge se ingesteldheid teenoor die omgewing en bewaring te genereer. Dit sal hom nie net in staat stel om meer doeltreffend te kurrikuleer nie, maar ook om op kontinue basis die vordering van sy leerlinge veral ten opsigte van die ontwikkeling van positiewe houdings te monitor. Daar is aanduidings dat in die komplekse suider-Afrikaanse samelewing kultuur en etnisiteit 'n baie belangrike invloed op die ingesteldheid en houdings van mense ten opsigte van die omgewing het, en dat dit deeglik verreken behoort te word in die ontwikkeling van kurrikula . Om die rede behoort hierdie evalueringstegnieke van so 'n aard te wees dat dit oor 'n wye spektrum van samelewings effektief aangewend kan word. Die doel van hierdie navorsing was dus om 'n evalueringsinstrument te ontwikkel wat in die klaskamer aangewend kan word om tersaaklike inligting vir die onderwyser te genereer. Dit behoort onderwysers in staat te stel om meer doelgerig te werk te gaan ten einde die volgende generasie voor te berei om die talryke probleme wat die mens se verhouding met die natuuromgewing kenmerk meer doeltreffend te hanteer as wat tot op hede die geval was. Met hierdie ontwikkeling word dus 'n poging aangewend om te verseker dat omgewingsopvoeding op natuurlike wyse in skole ingedra word, om sodoende te voldoen aan van die aanbevelings wat in die Witskrif vervat is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/68700
This item appears in the following collections: