Perspectives on environmental education, citizenship, and assessment: A case study of elementary school teachers and principals in Israel
Keywords:Environmental education, civic education, environmental citizenship, constructivist-positivist approach to knowledge construction, assessment and accountability, pro-environmental behavior
Environmental education (EE) is recognized as an important way to improve the environmental crisis. It seems that international and national educational assessment and accountability ideas are working against EE. By examining the perspectives of Israeli teachers, who are important change agents in society, this qualitative case study seeks to understand the potential of EE, when paired with citizenship, to foster a more equitable society in the context of the global educational reform movement. The study focuses on EE implementation in two Israeli schools, asking, “How do Israeli elementary school teachers understand EE’s role in fostering citizenship in the context of assessment and accountability?” The findings contribute to the literature by exploring the relationship between EE, assessment, and citizenship. They also suggest that a school’s ontological perspective on knowledge, namely the constructivist approach, enhances pro-environmental behavior, while the positivist approach matches the EE scientific approach that focuses more on assessment. A whole-school approach to EE deepened the active involvement of participants and enhanced their sense of citizenship more than an inquiry-based learning approach. This study recommends integrating the social component of EE and developing action skills for citizenship, taking into consideration the global assessment movement and accountability context.
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