Investigating an environmental education curriculum to a developing society's needs: a case study of the programme offered at the Pilanesberg National Park, Bophuthatswana

Johnson, Steven Robert (1994) Investigating an environmental education curriculum to a developing society's needs: a case study of the programme offered at the Pilanesberg National Park, Bophuthatswana. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The Environmental Education programme offered at the Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre (GFEE Centre) in the Pilanesberg National Park, Bophuthatswana, was initiated in response to requests from schools in Bophuthatswana to visit game reserves as 'syllabus related school activities'. Evaluative research into the GFEE Centre programme by an external researcher indicated that the learning experiences largely concentrated on cognitive development, and neglected to influence affective and psychomotor development. After a number of adaptations to the programme, which emphasised a more child-centred approach it was realised that little was known about the background and learning needs of the predominantly BaTswana school children. It was felt by the researcher that the learning activities provided at the GFEE Centre could also possibly be biased by a Western, scientific orientation which possibly lacked relevance to the cultural backgrounds of the pupils. The researcher used an action research approach in a number of workshops with a purposive sample of BaTswana primary school teachers, to gather data. The teachers were encouraged to critically reflect on the background and learning-needs of BaTswana children, with specific regard to environmental issues and worldviews. The information provided by the teachers' reflective deliberations and a seperate research project with school children, indicated that primary school children in Bophuthatswana tend to follow accepted human development patterns in their perceptions of the environment. The influence of either a predominantly rural or urban upbringing during a child's early formative years was considered by the teachers to be significant in determining worldviews, and culture was considered to have an influence on children's learning processes. Their beliefs and experiences were used by them in generating suggestions to correct the GFEE Centre programme. The teachers' also highlighted the fact that there were a number of socio-cultural and institutional issues which influenced the effectiveness of the GFEE Centre programme.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Environmental education, Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre, GFEE, Pilanesberg National Park, Bophuthatswana, South Africa, Learning experiences, Cognitive development, Affective development, Psychomotor development, Primary school, Children, BaTswana, Relevance, Culture, Teachers, Worldviews
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Irwin, P.R. and Gilbert, A.
ID Code:3630
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:11 Oct 2012 14:56
Last Modified:11 Oct 2012 14:56
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