The Ecology of School Change: An Australian Primary School's Endeavor to Integrate Concept-based, Experiential Environmental Learning Throughout Core Curriculum
AuthorCarson, Jamie Ann
Committee ChairJohnson, Bruce
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis longitudinal study has examined an Australian primary school's change processes as it has striven to transcend government-mandated environmental education in New South Wales. Woodridge Primary School initiated "Environment Woodridge", a comprehensive reform effort, in March of 2003. Since then the staff have worked to integrate programmatic, concept-based, experiential environmental learning throughout core curriculum.Eight years of change processes have been examined through three visits to the school over the span of three years. Woodridge Primary School is a friendly place where collaborative decision-making has paved the way for many successful initiatives bringing the school much recognition. The school's dedicated teachers, who have proven themselves skilled change agents, together with an enthusiastic and driven principal, have a definite vision for their school. Beyond manifesting a caring atmosphere where technology and the environment are major foci, the Woodridge staff has worked to maintain their identity as a unique and progressive school.Several researchers feel that the application of ecological understandings to school change processes will bring more fruitful reform efforts (Cooper, 1993, Fullan, 1997, Sarason, 1971, Selby, 2000). This research offers a new ecological framework for examining school culture and change processes. The interaction of energy flow, the cycling of mater, interrelationships, and change allow a natural system to flourish. Thus, these concepts were applied to the study of this school.Earthkeepers, the first program to be implemented in the Environment Woodridge reform effort, received tremendous support and created quite a buzz among the community when it was initiated in 2003. However, in 2006, energy surrounding the program had dissipated, the principal was the only member of the staff driving the program, and curricular integration and application of Earthkeepers concepts was falling away. The ripple effects caused by a government-mandated reform had thwarted Earthkeepers curricular integration. Further, Woodridge teachers felt that the increasing pressure of mandated reforms had made it difficult for them to maintain their own vision of the school. This research offers an in-depth examination of how a successful school has dealt with the impacts of mandated monoculture.
Degree ProgramTeaching & Teacher Education