Date of Award

6-2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Science Education, Mallinson Institute

Abstract

Students bring with them to the classroom a wide variety of beliefs and attitudes about the environment and its associated issues. One worldview belief structure prominently discussed in ecological discussions is the worldview of orthodox Christianity. This study uses both quantitative and qualitative measures to analyze the degree to which the orthodox Christian worldview of students influences their environmental attitudes and beliefs. Surveys were conducted with 281 undergraduate pre-service elementary teaching students enrolled in a science methods course to determine the degree to which orthodox Christian worldviews and ecological worldviews interact with one another. From this pool of students, 16 students representing both positive and neutral-negative orthodox Christian worldviews and ecological worldviews were interviewed to determine how orthodox Christian students may differ from non-orthodox Christian students in their attitudes and beliefs about the environment. Analysis revealed that students with orthodox Christian worldview beliefs do not as a general rule use their orthodox Christian worldview beliefs in the discussion of their environmental beliefs and attitudes. Exceptions to this may occur when environmental issues touch on orthodox Christian worldview beliefs which have a bearing on matters of origin, life purpose, or destiny. These interactions between ecological and orthodox Christian worldviews have implications for the teaching of environmental issues to students in that the orthodox Christian worldview of students is not likely to hinder the appropriation of concepts associated with environmental issues. However, moving students with an orthodox Christian worldview to a view where they become actively involved in environmental issue resolution may require educators to situate curriculum in such a way as to invoke the students' orthodox Christian worldview beliefs.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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