|Ph.D Student||Eilam Efrat|
|Subject||Evaluation of Environmental Schools' Influence on their|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Dr. Tamar Trop|
|Full Thesis text|
The doctoral thesis has two major aims, as follows:
A. To develop a theoretical framework for the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) within the formal education systems; and,
B. to develop and test an evaluation methodology for assessing schools’ influence on their immediate community (e.g. school children, their parents, and school children’s friends who do not study in the same school).
The theoretical framework consists of pedagogical principles and strategy for implementation in a whole school approach.
The evaluation methodology that was developed includes a set of 12 indicators and data collection methods, that were aimed at isolating the out flowing influences from schools from within the intricate networks of influences and feedback loops that characterize the system of school-community relationships. The key characteristics of the evaluation are relativity and relevancy, which create a flexible tool that is structurally self readjusting to any school - community system worldwide.
The indicators were applied to six environmental schools located in urban communities in Israel, with children in grades 5 to 9.
The main results indicate that: (a) Schools are operating in a community atmosphere of “high demand for environmental education”; (b) with regards to influence on children, schools are effective in influencing “attitudes” and “behaviors”, however with regards to influence on parents, schools are not effective in influencing “sustainability agenda” and “attitudes”, yet they are effective in influencing “behaviours”; (c) schools’ EE program is mostly based on the 1970’s - 1980’s concepts of “environmental education” and does not include “climate change” as a central theme, while parents have a broader view of sustainable development, which includes “environmental”, “socio-cultural”, and “economical” themes; and, (d) schools do not operate as community centers for thought, discussion, and construction of local knowledge regarding sustainable development.
The main conclusions are that: (a) Influence processes affect differently adults and children and have different effects on different personality domains; (b) contrary to the accepted model, which states that influences on “attitudes” precede influences on “behaviors”, the study suggests that “attitudes” constitute a more firm trait than “behaviors” and are less easily influenced.
The study provides recommendations for farther implementation of the methodology and implication of the results for education for sustainable development research and practice.