Problematizing Enquiry In Environmental Education: Issues of Method In A Study Of Teacher Thinking and Practice

Paul Hart


Although environmental education activity has increased greatly in Canadian elementary schools in recent years, very little is known about the nature of this activity or about the teacher's rationale for inclusion in the school program. This paper addresses the question of how educational researchers find out about what happens in schools and why. Based on the notion research methods must be compatible with methodological and philosophical rationale, the paper examines first the compatibility of environmental education and teacher thinking research and second the appropriateness of narrative forms of inquiry for examination of teacher thinking and practice in environmental education. Using the epistemological claim that teachers' knowledge is ordered by story and the methodological claim that stories are best accessed by conversations, the paper raises several issues of method concerning voice, language, and relationships. These issues, while common to several forms of qualitative and autobiographical method are particularly relevant to the debate in environmental education about the politics of method as well as the role of practitioners in goal setting and professional development.

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