Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inspiring environmental stewardship: Developing a sense of place, critical thinking skills, and ecoliteracy to establish an environmental ethic of care
by Litz, Kristin, M.A., Prescott College, 2010, 160; 1476123
Abstract (Summary)

This project based thesis explored the ways a sense of place, when guided by an ethic of care and supplemented with critical thinking and ecoliteracy skills, can inspire environmental stewardship in students. The purpose was to explore how these components might improve the efficacy of current environmental education. The author concluded that place-based education is an ideal venue for helping students develop a resilient environmental ethic, for this pedagogy ignites students' sense of wonder for the natural world. Research shows that such admiration and respect facilitate a deep bond with Planet Earth. The author suggests that by helping students build such a loving relationship, educators can help them discover intrinsic motivation to treat the natural world with respect. The key to making the welfare of the environment personally significant to students is to give them outside experiences while simultaneously developing their critical thinking and ecoliteracy skills. Through such pedagogy, the author suggests that educators can help students morph personal passion into a pro-active environmental ethic.

To advance this pedagogy, the author developed analytical rubrics as an evaluative tool for educators. These rubrics were designed to evaluate the extent to which an activity or curriculum develops a sense of place, an ethic of care, critical thinking, and ecoliteracy. These rubrics were designed as a self-reflective tool for educators to improve their personal curriculum's effectiveness.

Keywords: Sense of Place, Ethic of Care, Critical Thinking, Ecoliteracy, Environmental Stewardship.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mitten, Denise
Commitee: DeZeeuw Spencer, Jordana, Leach, Shari
School: Prescott College
Department: Adventure Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 48/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental education, Sustainability, Curriculum development
Keywords: Critical thinking, Ecoliteracy, Environmental stewardship, Ethic of care, Place-based education, Sense of place
Publication Number: 1476123
ISBN: 978-1-109-76967-8
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