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Awaken 101 student experiences in transformative environmental education.
[University Park, Pa.]
Pennsylvania, Univ., Ph. D., 2012
Abstract: Sustainability, the possibility that human and other life might flourish on the planet forever, implies a fundamental transformation of worldviews at both personal and societal scales. For educators, a significant site of engagement is the classroom, where learners can be invited to examine, challenge, and transform personal and societal values associated with (un)sustainability. At the core of such education is transformative learning, which involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. Transformative environmental education prompts learners to reshape the unsustainable identities and worldviews they have inherited, with the goal of fostering more sustainable personal and societal ways of being.

To better understand the process and potential of transformative environmental education, this dissertation uses a case study approach to examine the outcomes of a college-level transformative environmental course. Through a mixed-methods mode of inquiry that combines qualitative semi-structured interviews with quantitative measurements of participants′ values and behavior, I address the following research questions: (1) How does transformative environmental education affect learners′ sense of self? (2) How does transformative environmental education affect learners′ everyday lives? (3) How can environmental educators best implement transformative learning in their own teaching? In addressing these research questions, this dissertation paints a picture of transformative environmental education from the perspective of learners′ lived experiences.

This work is part of an ongoing conversation with scholars and educators who are concerned with helping bring about a sustainable world. It draws from and contributes to the traditions of nature-society geography, transformative learning, feminist pedagogy, feminist environmentalism, and emotional geographies. Importantly, it also contributes to the pedagogy and practice of environmental educators across disciplines. Through an analysis of ecological identity, the social and relational dimensions of learning, and the internal/external landscape of transformation, this dissertation demonstrates that transformative environmental education is promising way for higher education to engage the challenge of sustainability.
Inhaltsverzeichnis :



Chapter 1 Introduction
Research Questions
Case Study: BiSci 3
Significance of the Study
Chapters of the Dissertation
Preview of Chapter Two: Literature Review
Preview of Chapter Three: Research Methodology
Preview of Chapter Four: Identity and Transformation
Preview of Chapter Five: Transformation and Learners′ Everyday Lives
Preview of Chapter Six: Implementing Transformative Environmental Education
Preview of Chapter Seven: Conclusion

Chapter 2 Literature Review
Nature-Society Geography
Green Human Geography
Transformative Learning
Transformation as Consciousness-Raising
Transformation as Critical Reflection
Other Transformative Approaches to Environmental Education
Feminist Pedagogy
Feminist Environmentalism
Feminist Environmental Philosophy
Feminist Environmental Pedagogy
Emotional Geographies

Chapter 3 Research Methodology
Study Site and Populations
Population Demographics
Methods: Overview
Qualitative Methods
Semi-Structured Interviews
Survey Methods
Surveys: Fall 2009
Nature Relatedness
Learning Activities Survey (Fall 2009)
Surveys: Fall 2010
Active Caring
Pro-Environmental Action and Pro-Environmental Beliefs
Social Connectedness
Learning Activities Survey (Fall 2010)
Surveys: Control Groups
Quantitative Analysis
Supplemental Methods
Ethical Considerations

Chapter 4 Transformation and Identity
Defining and Recognizing Transformation
Ecological Identity
Nature Relatedness
Nature-Focused Worldview
Comfort With and Appreciation for Nature
Critical Self-Reflection
Relationship with the Self
Emotions and the Transformative Process
Transformation and Restoration

Chapter 5 Transformation and Learners′ Everyday Lives
Active Caring
Pro-Environmental Action
Pro-Environmental Beliefs and the Belief-Action Gap
Relationships with Others
Support and Dismissiveness in Social Networks
Social Connectedness
Confidence and Courage

Chapter 6 Implementing Transformative Environmental Education
Course Activities: Overview
First Tier: Reflective Action
Second Tier: Reflective Reading and Writing
Teaching Assistants and Support
Learning About Life
The Landscape of Transformation
Heterotopian Spaces: Beyond a Single Course
Discussion and Five Lessons for Educators
Reflection, Reflection, Reflection
Former Students Make the Best Guides
Engage Learners as Whole Beings
Make it Active; Make it Relational
Move from Intention to Action

Chapter 7 Conclusion
Summary and Findings
Ecological Identity and Nature Relatedness
Self-Reflection, Self-Compassion, and Transformative Emotions
Empowerment and Pro-Environmental Actions and Beliefs
Support, Social Connectedness, and the Social Dimension of Transformation
Transformative Course Activities and Heterotopian Spaces
Real Life, Real Learning and the Landscape of Transformation
Five Lessons for Transformative Educators, Revisited
Limitations and Future Research

Works Cited

Appendix A: Most Common Interview Codes

Appendix B: Surveys and Instruments

2010 Pre and Post Survey
2010 Post Survey
2009 Pre and Post Survey
2009 Post Survey
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