Influences on US middle school teachers’ use of environment-based education

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The term environment-based education (EBE) describes a form of school-based environmental education in which an instructor uses the environment as a context for integrating subjects and a source of real world learning experiences. Despite the growing body of evidence that supports the educational efficacy of this instructional approach and its grounding in high-quality environmental education, relatively few US teachers seem to practice EBE (University of Maryland Survey Research Center 2000). In the context of encouraging more widespread adoption of this formal instructional approach, the author used survey research with a random sample of fifth–eighth grade teachers in US public schools to investigate influences on their decisions to use EBE and barriers to EBE implementation. The study also investigated how perceived influences on and barriers to EBE teachers differed from perceptions of teachers using other forms of environmental education and teachers using neither approach. Results suggest the importance of the following in teachers’ decisions to use EBE: positive environmental attitudes; environmental sensitivity; receptiveness to EBE; teaching context; and environmental literacy knowledge and skills. The influence that best discriminated between EBE teachers and teachers using other forms of environmental education was evidence of positive outcomes. The barrier that best discriminated among EBE teachers, teachers using other forms of environmental education, and teachers not using any form of environmental education was lack of training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • environment-based education
  • formal education
  • professional development
  • teachers


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