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Development of environmental education in the Korean kindergarten context.
Victoria, Univ., Ph. D., 2008
Abstract: Many environmental educators insist that environmental education (EE) should be started from a young age. The Korean Ministry of Education (1999) has also emphasized the importance of environmental education in early childhood by including content and objectives regarding EE in the 1999 National Curriculum of Kindergarten. However, many Korean kindergarten teachers do not sufficiently implement environmental education in their teaching practice. To address this issue, this study aimed at investigating and overcoming barriers to fully implement EE in the Korean kindergarten context. Four experienced Korean kindergarten teachers were involved in a fourteen ivweek critical action research project that included weekly group meetings. At these group meetings, teachers reflected on the barriers preventing the full implementation of EE in their classrooms and discussed possible environmental education actions to be attempted in the following week. These actions, individually implemented in teachers' classrooms, were reviewed at subsequent group meetings. Data from group meetings and teacher lessons were used to analyze the effectiveness of this critical action research project for developing environmental education. At the beginning stages of this study, Korean kindergarten teachers felt strongly uncomfortable participating in group communication. However, through the continuous encouragement of the researcher and with the involvement of participants who have similar educational backgrounds, age, and working experiences, participants came to actively engage in group communication. Participants in this study identified the following barriers to fully implement EE in kindergartens: insufficient understandings and awareness of EE, reluctant attitudes towards the environment, lack of educational support and resources, low parental involvement, and discomfort about going on a field trip to environments. Teachers came to understand the importance, objectives, potential topics, and teaching methods of early childhood environmental education. While implementing environmental education in their classrooms, teachers recognized possibilities for environmental education through connections with children's daily lives and previous activities conducted in their classrooms. Teachers also identified that critical action research through group communication provided practical and useful knowledge of their educational practices. Teachers' improved pedagogical knowledge and awareness about EE increased their confidence to teach environmental education. To lessen the burden of going on a field trip to environments, teachers provided children direct experiences in the environment surrounding schools and during school picnics. Teachers also actively participated in environmental activities with children. These direct experiences of the environment helped teachers and children appreciate the beauty of the environment and change their reluctant attitudes towards the environment. By providing parents children's products produced during EE, teachers were also able to help parents develop an interest in environmental education. While most educational research in Korean kindergartens is conducted by university-based researchers, this research inquiry revealed that action research by the effective partnership with a university-based researcher can encourage the confidence and passion of Korean kindergarten teachers to reflect and resolve issues arising from their experiences and to change educational practices.
Inhaltsverzeichnis :
Supervisory Committee


Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


Chapter 1:Understanding Environmental Education in a Korean Context
Concerns for Environmental Education in the Curriculum of Korea
Efforts to Develop and Generalize Environmental Education in Korea
Current Situation of Environmental Education in Public Education of Korea
Understanding the Importance of Early Childhood Environmental Education

Chapter 2: The Background of Environmental Education
International Development of Environmental Education
Development of Environmental Education in Korea
The Implementation of Environmental Education in Korean Public Education
Environmental Education in Korean Kindergarten
Rationale of Early Childhood Environmental Education Regarding Early Childhood as the Critical Period for Environmental Education
Satisfying the Philosophy and Objectives of Early Childhood Education
Physical development
Cognitive development
Emotional development
Social development
Language development

Chapter 3: Research Methodology
Toward a Critical Approach
Action Research Informed by Critical Approach
Dialectical analysis
Group communication
Being an Outside Researcher
Research Design
Korean Kindergarten Context
Data Collection and Analysis

Chapter 4: Tensions and Possibilities when Conducting Critical Action
Research in the Korean Kindergarten Context
Tensions to Participating in Group Communication
Possibilities and Benefits of Being Involved in Group Communication
Tensions to Authentically Participating in Research

Chapter 5: Barriers to Fully Implementing EE and Actions taken by Korean Kindergarten Teachers
The Awareness and Understandings of EE in the Beginning of the Research
Reflection on Additional Barriers to Fully Implementing EE during the Research
Actions to Overcome the Barriers to Fully Implementing EE and Changes in Teachers, Children, and Educational Practices of EE
Improving the awareness and understandings of EE
Developing the implementation of EE
Changing attitudes toward the environment
Involving parents in EE

Chapter 6: Implication
Adaptation Critical Action Research to the Korean Context
The Necessity and Importance of Early Childhood Environmental Education
The Professional Development of Korean Kindergarten Teachers in EE
Recommendations for EE in the Korean kindergarten
Developing EE through critical action research
Supporting teachers to be experts in EE
Emphasizing EE in the national curriculum and environmental literacy
Including EE as an essential subject in the exam of higher education
Including EE into the curriculum of department of early childhood education
Introducing EE in workshops and seminars of early childhood education
Supporting environmental camps for kindergarten teachers
Implications for Future Research


Appendix A : Environmental Contents in the 6th Korean Kindergarten National Curriculum

Appendix B : Interview Protocol of Pilot Study 235

Appendix C : Twelve principles for the development of international environmental education in Action Plan for international Environmental Education

Appendix D : Letter of consent for participants 237

Appendix E : Description of action research and roles of participants in this critical action research

Appendix F : Summary of recommendations 242

Appendix G : Summary of proposal 243

Appendix H : Proposed Timeline for Completion of the Dissertation 249

List of Tables
Table 1: The numbers of middle and high schools implementing EE by the district

Table 2: Exemplary schools of EE (1985-1999)

Table 3: The topics of early childhood environmental education

Table 4: The possible topics and contents of EE selected by the research participants from the Physical Health of the National Curriculum of Kindergarten

Table 5: The possible topics and content for EE selected by the research participants from the social relationships of National Curriculum of Kindergarten

Table 6: The possible topics and contents of EE selected by the research participants from the Expression of the National Curriculum of Kindergarten

Table 7: The possible topics and contents of EE selected by the research participants from the Inquiry of the National Curriculum of Kindergarten
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