|M.Sc Student||Daniel Lilian|
|Subject||Towards Education for Sustainability in an Arab School in|
Israel - A Case Study
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Tali Tal|
|Full Thesis text|
This study followed the process of transforming an Arab school in Israel into an environmentally oriented school, while focusing on eighth-grade students. We investigate the effect of the program on the school environment, the eighth-grade students and staff. We believe that since the school’s staff is involved in the process of developing and adjusting the education for sustainability (EfS) program to the students, and also by having the students learn and debate about their local and global environment while using socio-scientific issues, the awareness of the students and the teachers towards the complex relationships between society and the environment evolves.
The research questions were:
1. What are the characteristics of the EfS program in the Galilee school?
2. How do students, teachers and staff view the EfS program?
3. What is the students’ performance in socio-scientific issue tasks in relation to: (a) identifying an environmental problem (explaining the meaning of environmental damage while providing example of another); (b) reflecting the complexity of environmental problems; and (c) suggesting applicable environmental solutions?
To answer the questions semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten students and six adults, and socio-scientific tasks were developed and administered to the entire class. In addition, class and school activities were observed and documented. Our findings indicate that the students, teachers and principal found the action component of the program most significant while highlighting the project-based and place-based learning and the outdoor activities. Using socio-scientific issues in EfS program was found useful by means of increasing interest and engagement of students in classroom discussion and activities. The socio-scientific tasks indicated some improvement in the students’ performances that was retained after the program has ended. The students stated throughout the program that the local residents and their activities and norms contributed to the deterioration of the local environment while reflecting some understanding of the complex socio-environmental issues. The findings indicate that the engagement of the teachers and students in mutual design of the programs helped in meeting the needs of the target population. The program was successful in altering the traditional teaching methods practiced in Arab schools in Israel towards more active and learner-centered ones. We argue that in order to promote a more sustainable-culture, the school needs to promote a more sustainable agenda in teachers' practices and in the school management, hoping that this will lead to a better collaboration between teachers in developing and implementing EfS programs.