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Rooted in Teaching: Does Environmental Socialization Impact Teachers' Interest in Science-Related Topics?

Rooted in Teaching: Does Environmental Socialization Impact Teachers' Interest in Science-Related Topics?
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Author(s): Lisa A. Gross (Appalachian State University, USA), Joy James (Appalachian State University, USA) and Eric Frauman (Appalachian State University, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 19
Source title: STEM Education: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch070

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Abstract

Research in Environmental Socialization (ES) and the impact of significant life experiences suggest that childhood play in outdoor environments shape later adult activities or career interests. Few studies have investigated how childhood experiences influence curricular interests of preservice and inservice teachers. This preliminary study examines what ES factors of teachers raised in rural and/or non-rural environments reveal about their interests in science topics and field-based learning opportunities. Results suggest that teachers growing up in rural areas were slightly less interested than non-rural teachers in field-based learning and expressed less experience with environmental education. Teachers with more ES experiences (e.g., played in the woods, built forts) expressed greater interest in science-related topics than those who had indicated fewer experiences. Rural teachers tended to have more ES experiences than non-rural teachers. The authors discuss how environmental socialization factors influence teacher preference for curricular programs specific to environmental and ecological topics and raise questions about the changing environmental socialization experiences of preservice and novice teachers.

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