Teachers’ Conceptions of Environment in Sarawak, Malaysia
The biodiversity of Sarawak, Malaysia with a very original nature under a tropical climate, despite having one of the most extensive protected area networks in the country is constantly threatened by development. The environmental components in the education system exist in various sources on a multidisciplinary infusion method into single subjects. As teachers play a key role, more knowledge of the teachers’ conceptions of environment is therefore a crucial goal to improve their training and their involvement in Environmental Education. A study was conducted to identify if the teachers’ conceptions of environment are diversely related to three poles: anthropocentrism, ecocentrism and anthropomorphism; and analyze if their variation can be correlated with some demographics and characteristics. Questionnaires from the Biohead-Citizen research project (Carvalho et al. 2008) were used with a total sampling of 263 teachers. Classical statistics and multivariate analyses used the free software “R” with thirty questions related to Environment consisting of eight for ecocentred attitudes, seven for anthropocentred attitudes, five related to opinions about GMO, three about anthropomorphism and seven to practices for environment or for environmental education based on a Likert scale. Fifteen questions related to each teacher’s demographics and characteristics. A Principal Components Analysis shows diversity of conceptions, structured along three oppositions: firstly, an axis pro or against Preservation indicating ecocentric attitudes; secondly, an axis pro or against Utilization indicating anthropocentric attitudes and pole Utilizations being correlated with several opinions pro-GMO and less involvement in some practices for the Environment and thirdly, an axis for more or less anthropomorphism, some opinions anti-GMO being correlated with lore anthropomorphism. Inside the same environmental and socio-cultural context, diversity of conceptions related to environment is not correlated with most of the controlled teachers’ characteristics as age, gender, instruction and religion but is linked to some of their social or political opinions.
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