TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCES IN ENGAGEMENT WITH PARTNERS IN ENVIRONMENTAL AND SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION
This thesis is an assessment of how Canadian teachers and principals engage with organizational, business, corporate, and individual partners to enhance environmental and sustainability education (ESE) practice in K-12 schools. The research of this thesis was drawn from data collected for a national comparative case study by the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN). This thesis study analyzed interview transcripts, numerical ratings, and survey questions. Conclusions were drawn through the comparison of teacher comments and ratings to current education policy regarding partnerships in their regions. Results suggested the influence of policy or lack of policy on practice in a variety of contexts. Data showed most teachers and principals mentioned a specific partner by name when discussing their ESE teaching, implying that partnering with out of school entities is common practice despite little to no policy guiding partnership activities. Teachers tended to mention more partners by name in rural divisions when compared to teachers in urban settings. Some teachers were ‘super-connectors,’ noting far more partnerships than others. Results suggest that teachers tend to be the primary initiators of ESE school-based partnerships. A wide variety of partners were mentioned, but non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were by far the most prevalent. There was also a great diversity in the activities and outcomes resulting from partnerships, though a common theme was that partnerships allowed for lessons that were experiential and regionally specific. This thesis concludes with suggestions for teachers who desire to work with organizations, and recommendations for policy makers regarding how policy could better facilitate and optimize partnerships in furthering environmental and sustainability education.
Sustainability Education, Partnerships
Master of Education (M.Ed.)