Environmental Concerns in the Geography Curriculum: Perceptions of South African High School Teachers
As the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) (2005 to 2014) ends, a lot of progress has been made at policy level in re-orienting geography education at Further Education and Training (FET) (Gr 10–12) level in South Africa, towards the teaching of environmental education (EE) and education for sustainable development (ESD). However, there is limited research on conceptual issues facing geography teachers, regarding the meaning of EE and ESD. This paper, based on my PhD research, seeks to address this gap. The PhD project focused on how geography teachers from diverse contexts in Western Cape secondary schools are implementing EE and ESD through the geography curriculum at FET level. In this paper, I use the qualitative data generated from my PhD study to show how three of the geography teachers grapple with the meaning of environmental education, sustainable development and education for sustainable development. The data reveals that the three teachers have conceptual difficulties regarding these terms. I argue that unless these conceptual difficulties are addressed through pre-service teacher training and in-service professional development programmes, the implementation of EE and ESD through the geography curriculum is not likely to be effective.
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