An investigation into the development of environmental education as a field of practice in South African National Parks

Taljaard, Sandra (2008) An investigation into the development of environmental education as a field of practice in South African National Parks. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

[img]
Preview
Text
TALJAARD-MED-TR09-49.pdf

1741Kb

Abstract

This study looks at aspects of the development of environmental education in South African National Parks (SANParks), in relation to the emergence of national and organisational policy frameworks. In order to put current environmental education practices into context, the study firstly looks at the historical development line of environmental education in SANParks, as well as in the broader national context. This provides a framework within which the processes of change and development can be traced in terms of social, political and economic influences on an international and national front. The study finds that the promulgation of legislation, including the Constitution, National Acts and various other policies, reflected the trends of thinking and set the pace in a democratic South Africa, which led to the emergence of more explicit processes and refined policies. Popkewitz’s finding, that education emerged in modernity, is used in the study to illustrate this tendency. It finds that these changes in South Africa resulted in the establishment of more structured environmental education processes within SANParks, and led to the expansion, diversification and strengthening of environmental education as a field of practice over time. The study traces significant processes of recontextualisation of international and national environmental education related policies according to the framework established by Bernstein (1980). These processes of recontextualisation were followed in the formulation processes of SANParks policy and strategy documents in the period from 1999 to 2005, and resulted in an official pedagogic discourse for environmental education in SANParks. The study establishes a second level of recontextualisation, that is, the official pedagogic discourse of environmental education in SANParks is recontextualised to a pedagogic discourse of reproduction. The pedagogic discourse of reproduction relates to park practices, where contextualisation within park-based programmes appears to be strong. The park-based programmes resemble a ‘curriculum in practice’, which brings us to Cornbleth’s critical curriculum approach. The study utilises this approach to explore and explain the meaning of the critical perspective taken on curriculum construction and change efforts at park implementation level (Cornbleth, 1990). The study finds that the contextualisation of park programmes and practices lead to variety in park programmes, which adds richness to environmental education programmes and activities, and further highlights the fact that environmental education practices are prolific in national parks. The study also finds that historical and contextual processes associated with specific parks strongly characterise environmental education programmes and practices in those parks, and that partnership programmes, such as the Kids in Parks programme, contribute towards, and enhance the growth of environmental education as a specialised field of practice in SANParks. The study comments on the need for environmental education practices in SANParks to be reviewed and expanded in line with the contemporary approach towards the environment as a social construct of interacting components. These components include the biophysical, social, economic and political dimensions. The study also highlights the need for the recognition and acknowledgement of the long, historical development line of environmental education in SANParks in order to build on established structures in a holistic way. The study further determines a need for strong leadership to successfully expand this specialised field of practice and encourages a participatory approach in the review and further development of this field of practice in SANParks. The study ultimately finds that environmental education in SANParks has a long and rich development profile, which has placed it in a strong position for further development. However, it concludes that there is a great need for a rejuvenated approach, which requires expert knowledge, professionalism and broad based networking approach to enable meaningful expansion within this specialised field of practice.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Environmental education, South Africa, National parks and reserves
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:2659
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:19 Apr 2012 12:28
Last Modified:19 Apr 2012 12:28
0 full-text download(s) since 19 Apr 2012 12:28
0 full-text download(s) in the past 12 months
More statistics...

Repository Staff Only: item control page