Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Facilities as teaching tools: A transformative participatory professional development experience
by Wilson, Eric A., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Denver, 2014, 197; 3633431
Abstract (Summary)

Resource consumption continues to increase as the population grows. In order to secure a sustainable future, society must educate the next generation to become "sustainability natives." Schools play a pivotal role in educating a sustainability-literate society. However, a disconnect exists between the hidden curriculum of the built environment and the enacted curriculum. This study employs a transformative participatory professional development model to instruct teachers on how to use their school grounds as teaching tools for the purpose of helping students make explicit choices in energy consumption, materials use, and sustainable living.

Incorporating a phenomenological perspective, this study considers the lived experience of two sustainability coordinators. Grounded theory provides an interpretational context for the participants' interactions with each other and the professional development process. Through a year long professional development experience - commencing with an intense, participatory two-day workshop -the participants discussed challenges they faced with integrating facilities into school curriculum and institutionalizing a culture of sustainability.

Two major needs were identified in this study. For successful sustainability initiatives, a hybrid model that melds top-down and bottom-up approaches offers the requisite mix of administrative support, ground level buy-in, and excitement vis-à-vis sustainability. Second, related to this hybrid approach, K-12 sustainability coordinators ideally need administrative capabilities with access to decision making, while remaining connected to students in a meaningful way, either directly in the classroom, as a mentor, or through work with student groups and projects.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wee, Bryan
Commitee: Arnold, Suzanne, Caronan, Faye, Moreno, Rafael
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Educational Studies and Research
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Education, Sustainability, Science education
Keywords: Educating for sustainability, K-12 education, Professional development, Sustainability education
Publication Number: 3633431
ISBN: 9781321132564
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