2011 WCES ISTANBUL: The Infusion of EE in Chemistry Learning
The Infusion of Environmental Education(EE) in Chemistry Teaching and Students’ Awareness and Attitudes Towards Environment in Malaysia ARBA’AT HASSAN (PhD) Southern Illinois University, USA MOHD ZAID ISMAIL (MSc) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
INTRODUCTION The increasing of environmental problems has arisen many unanswered questions about environmental education (EE) program including EE through school’s curriculum. The EE in most schools is still dissatisfied and practiced only through cross curriculum (Scoffham 2000) Miles et al. (2006) found that the teachers’ belief and degree to infuse EE in schools were still low besides having limited knowledge in the field.
INTRODUCTION Mohammad Zohir (2009) found the aim of introducing EE in schools was to inculcate environmental knowledge, awareness, positive attitudes and behavior in long term. Taylor et al. (2003) reported that teachers in primary and secondary schools had limited knowledge and understanding about sustainable development and its goals. Jekayinfa & Yusuf (2005) found majority teachers in Nigeria infused EE in their teaching. They found no significant difference between teachers of different gender and school locations in infusing EE.
INTRODUCTION Mohammad Zohir (2009) conducted a study about the infusion of EE in Geography to 340 teachers in Kedah found knowledge on environmental concepts was high. Majority of them had positive attitudes but not seriously planned to infuse EE in their teaching. There was no specific study to find out relationship between the infusion of EE in curriculum and students’ awareness and attitudes towards environment. Therefore, this study was to identify this relationship and students’ level of knowledge, attitudes and teaching practices of EE among chemistry teachers in Terengganu, Malaysia.
AIM OF STUDY This study was to identify the relationship between the infusion of EE in Chemistry teaching and students’ awareness and atitudes towards environment.
METHODOLOGY Quantitative study Samples: 127 secondary schools teachers and 367 students in chemistry in Terengganu, Malaysia. Data analysis : Descriptive (frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation) Inferential (t-test and Pearson Correlation)
RESULTS A. DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS Table 1: Knowledge about environmentalItem concepts mean SD Mean N Interpretatio nBiodiversity 127 3.64 1.021 HighOzone layer 127 4.26 0.607 HighEnvironmental pollution 127 4.46 0.546 HighRecycle 127 4.31 0.626 HighAcid rain 127 4.39 0.606 HighWaste product 127 4.15 0.605 HighSustainable development 127 3.17 1.001 ModerateBiodegradable polymers 127 3.69 1.029 HighEcosystems 127 4.14 0.687 HighRenewable energy 127 4.22 0.689 High
RESULTS Table 2: Attitudes towards environmentalItem educationmean SD Interpretatio N nTake course 127 4.03 0.872 HighProvide opportunity to students 127 4.18 0.635 HighTaught as a single subject 127 3,60 1.122 HighHelp students to inculcate sensitivity and 127 4.38 0.562 Highpractice positive attitudes towardsenvironment 127 4.24 0.614 HighHelp students the best way of solvingproblems skills 127 4.14 0.639 HighHelp students the best way of decisionmaking skills
RESULTS Table 3: Teaching practices in infusing environmental educationItem N Mean SD Interpretatio nGeneral practices among teachers 127 4.19 0.331 HighTeaching planning 127 4.02 0.638 HighTeaching methods 127 3.40 0.645 ModerateAssessment methods 127 3.67 0.551 High
RESULTS Table 4: obstacles in infusing environmentalitem education N Mean SD Interpretatio nInsufficient time to make preparation 127 3.90 0.853 HighInsufficient time in classroom teaching 127 4.03 0.796 HighLack of teaching materials 127 3.49 0.805 ModerateLack of support from school’s authorities 127 2.94 1.086 ModerateLack of knowledge about environmental 127 3.00 0.864 Moderateissues 127 3.14 0.814 ModerateLack of knowledge to teach EE 127 3.54 0.982 HighBig class size 127 4.39 0.724 HighTeaching give more focus on examination 127 3.20 0.926 ModerateEE is not related to the topics that I’msupposed to teach 127 2.77 0.875 ModerateEnvironmental issues are difficult to teach 127 3.59 0.971 HighI’m not interested to teach EE 127 3.02 0.934 ModerateDifficulty in assessing students’performance
RESULTS B. INFERENTIAL STATISTICS Table 5: t-test of knowledge about EE concepts by genderGender No Mean SD t-value p-levelMale 52 4.03 0.482 -0.201 0.841 (n.s)Female 75 4.05 0.504 P=0.05; n.s=not significant Table 6: t-test of knowledge about EE concepts by school locationSchool No Mean SD t-value p-levellocationUrban 58 4.02 0.464 -0.400 0.690 (n.s)Rural 69 4.06 0.519 P=0.05; n.s= not significant
RESULTS Table 7 : t-test of teachers’ attitudes towards EE by genderGender No Mean SD t-value p-levelMale 52 4.12 0.473 0.361 0.719 (n.s)Female 75 4.08 0.533 P=0.05; n.s= not significant Table 8: t-test of teachers’s attitudes towards EE by school locationSchool No Mean SD t-value p-levellocationUrban 58 4.06 0.482 -0.720 0.473 (n.s)Rural 69 4.13 0.530P=0.05; n.s= not significant
RESULTS Table 9: t-test of teaching practices in infusing EE by genderGender No Mean SD t-value p-levelMale 52 3.74 0.457 -0.915 0.362 (n.s)Female 75 3.81 0.397 P=0.05; n.s= not significant Table 10: t-test of teaching practices in infusing EE byt school locationSchool No Mean SD t-value p-levellocationUrban 58 3.74 0.393 -1.072 0.286 (n.s)Rural 69 3.82 0.445 P=0.05; n.s= not significant
RESULTS Table 11: Relationship in chemistry teaching and students’ awarenessRelationship between Infusion of EE p-levelvariablesStudents’ awareness r = 0.006 0.950 (n.s) P=0.001; n.s= not significant Table 12: Relationship in chemistry teaching and students’ attitudesRelationship between Infusion in EE p-levelvariablesStudents’ attitudes r = 0.021 0.817 (n.s) P=0.001; n.s= not significant
DISCUSSION Findings showed that the level of knowlege about EE concepts among chemistry teachers was high but some of them didn’t know about the concept of sustainable development. This concept might be new and never been used in teaching by chemistry teachers. These findings supported Taylor et al. (2003) who found most teachers in primary and secondary schools had limited knowledge and understanding about sustainable development concepts and the goals.
DISCUSSION Most chemistry teachers knew terminology about environmetal pollution which they used often as most chemical substances could harm environment if not disposed properly. Aram & Manahan (1995) study stated that chemical substances must be managed systematically because they could pollute environment.
FINDINGS Findings from t-test showed no significant difference between male and female teachers in urban and rural schools about EE concepts. The result might be teachers received same exposure through their experience during studying in university. This is in line with Hanunah (2004) findings to pre- service teachers in Keningau Teachers’ College, Sabah. However, it showed opposite finding from some researchers (Vlahov & Treagust 1998; Gambro & Switzsky 1999; Kuhlemeir et al. 1999).
FINDINGS Teachers showed positive attitudes especially about helping students to inculcate sensitivity of environment and agreed to attend courses. These findings supported Ozden (2008) study on pre-service teachers in Turkey who took Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Science and Technology. They revealed positive attitudes towards environment. However, some teachers diagreed about making EE as a single subject.
FINDINGS Hanunah (2004) agreed that making EE as a single subject would intefere the existing curriculum as it was already crowded. In contrast, Puk & Behm (2003) disagreed and said that results from their study to Science and Geography teachers in Canada showed the failure of infusion model. Most teachers only gave less time to teach ecology concept.
FINDINGS The t-test findings showed no significant difference on attitudes of teachers with different gender and school location. They supported Jekayinfa & Yusuf (2005) study on 200 Nigerian teachers who found no significant on attitudes between teachers of different gender and school location. Ozden (2008) found opposite findings where female teachers got positive attitudes to all dimension of EE as compared to males.
FINDINGS Findings from teachers showed practices among them were high as most of them infused EE in their teaching. They planned their teaching but totally depended on curriculum specification and textbook provided by Ministry of Education.
FINDINGS Findings also showed teachers gave less emphasize on students’ engagement in solving environmental issues. This statement supported Hudson (2001) who found students in the USA must involve in national service as a part of ‘learning-by-doing’ to produce excellence learning outcomes. The paradigm of EE in the 21th century should be shifted from awareness to action.
FINDINGS Finding also found teachers did not practiced outdoor learning which was most suitable on EE teaching method. Tekzos et al. (2010) study showed opposite findings on chemistry teachers in Turkey (most teachers focused more on field work in infusing EE). Through fieldwork activities, students gained direct experience from environment and at the same time improved their awareness.
FINDINGS Teachers used traditional assesment by observing their students during activities. Teachers should use authentic assesment by asking students to produce porfolio about environment. Feuer & Fulton (1993) said porfolio is students’ learning outcome carried out systematically in certain period of time.
FINDINGS Findings about obstacles in infusing EE supported by Puk & Behm (2003) showed most teachers agreed that teaching focused on examination was the main obstacle, hence, teachers got less time to infuse EE. Findings also showed high awareness and attitudes among students. The finding supported Suriati (2009) study which revealed high environmental awareness among Form 4 and 5 students in Bandar Baru Bangi, Malaysia.
FINDINGS The main findings showed no relationship betweeen the infusion of EE and students’ awareness and attitudes towards ennvironment. These findings described that infusion of EE did not affect students’ awareness and attitudes but there were other factors influencing them. Ozden (2008) listed few factors influencing awareness among students (e.g.: outdoors activities and media [newspaper, magazine, internet and so on]). The result also indicated that students did not get more input from infusion practices in chemistry because the content was so limited and the timetable was already crowded. Ajiboye & Silo (2008) found the infusion of EE in classroom in Botswana gave less outcomes as the existing timetable was already enough besides limited time.
IMPLICATION the infusion of EE cross curriculum should be value added in increasingly promote students’ awareness and attitudes towards environment. Therefore, the EE subject is recommeded be using more topics related to environment or making it a separate subject in the existing national education curriculum.
RECOMMENDATION Researcher proposed qualitative study by interviewing teachers and students or making this as a case study. Study can also be conducted to all schools in Malaysia involving other subjects like Biology, and Physics, instead of Chemistry. Future study should also consider other factors like sosio- economy status, roles of media and geographical background. Other suggestion is to the stakeholders to review the curriculum of environmenta education to make it relevant for the 21st century.