Integration of environmental education in science curricula in secondary schools in Benin, West Africa: Teachers’ perceptions and challenges

Raphael R. Kelani

Abstract


The first purpose of this descriptive study was to provide information regarding implementation of the compulsory science curricula in secondary school settings in the Republic of Benin in West Africa in which were infused elements of environmental education (EE). The second was to investigate science teachers’ attitudes towards teaching environmental topics, as well as specifics regarding self-efficacy, teaching practices, and perceived barriers in teaching EE. A Likert-style survey was administered to a total of 537 secondary school science teachers composed of two subpopulations with ten teachers were interviewed. A mixed methods research design was utilized to provide a fuller understanding of participants’ responses. The findings of this study showed that: (1) all teachers indicated strong support for the importance of EE for secondary science students; (2) biology/earth science (BES) teachers reported significantly greater Personal Efficacy than did their physical science (SPCT) colleagues; no significant difference between BES and SPCT  on the Teaching efficacy scale; (3) teachers indicated use of a diverse set of instructional strategies; (4) teachers had a mean response in the moderate range to perceived barriers; and (5) the BES teachers had a statistically significant lower mean for perceived barriers than did the SPCT teachers.  Science teachers’ empowerment to teach EE issues in their class and the requirement for these topics in teacher education and professional development programs are the major implications derived from the study. Finally, suggestions for further research related to these topics are offered.


Keywords


environmental education, teacher beliefs, science education, teacher attitudes, teacher self-efficacy

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