School of Education

Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education

To frame, or not to frame: using a typology to analyse teachers’ conceptions of environmental education

Date: 23 February, 13:00 – 14:00

Ana Benavides Lahnstein, University of Leeds

Throughout the last 40 years, environmental education (EE) has become an inclusive, multi-faceted, and complex field of study. There have been a wide array of aims, priorities, values and pedagogies offered within different types or approaches to education in, about and for the environment (Lucas, 1972). Recently, to respond to current environmental crises, international agendas and various policies have been mainly encouraging education for sustainable development; yet, there are also other types of EE that can offer different interpretations and responses to global and local environmental issues. Thus, depending on the type of EE, an educational aim or environmental strategy might emphasise, for instance, preserving biodiversity, cultivating fondness for nature, supporting sustainable economic development in societies, and so on.

In this seminar, I will present the work I have done to understand how a small group of Mexican primary school teachers conceptualised EE when prompted to describe it. My research involved an exploration of the relation between EE and the Natural Sciences curriculum for Mexican primary education; hence, the teachers were predisposed to reflect about EE in relation to primary science. However, in most instances, the participants of my study discussed EE beyond the bounds of Natural Sciences. For the analysis of the teachers’ conceptions about EE, I used Lucie Sauvé’s EE typology (2005) to study a set of their interviews, which allowed me to identify the types of EE within these data. The results are that the participant-teachers communicated rich conceptualisations of EE because in their accounts they combined various aspects (aims, concept of environment and teaching strategies) that are relevant to different types of EE. Besides presenting a part of the results from my research and discussing the analytical framework I employed, this seminar is an opportunity to learn about EE pluralism and comment on its significance for teaching and beyond.


Lucas, A. 1972. Environment and Environmental Education: Conceptual Issues and Curriculum Applications. Ph.D. thesis. Ohio State University, ERIC Document ED068371.

Sauvé, L. 2005. Currents in Environmental Education: Mapping a Complex and Evolving Pedagogical Field. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE). 10(1). Pp.11–37.


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