You are here:

The status of environmental education in elementary and middle public schools of east Tennessee: A teacher perspective

, The University of Tennessee, United States

The University of Tennessee . Awarded


Worldwide efforts are being made to improve the quality of human life and the quality of the environment. In or to achieve these ends, educators must prepare individuals to become environmentally literate citizens and well-informed decision-makers in a fast changing technological world. This descriptive study used surveys to determine the status of environmental education in East Tennessee school systems as perceived by elementary and middle school teachers. Through this study, information was provided about what is being done and what needs to be done to improve environmental education in the State of Tennessee. A valid and reliable instrument, developed and used in Wisconsin, was mailed to 958 elementary and middle school teachers who were randomly selected from 316 schools in 33 East Tennessee public school systems. Out of the 958 surveys mailed, 432 were returned.

The research findings suggest that teachers believe that it is important to take time to integrate environmental concepts and issues into subjects and at all grade levels of elementary and middle schools. Teachers indicated that a lack of resources/funding was the primary reason they do not infuse education about the environment into their curriculum. Over two-thirds of the respondents never received either pre- or in-service training in environmental education. In addition, this study also revealed that teachers would infuse environmental education into their curriculum if they had better access to resources/aids for teaching environmental concepts.

In light of the results of this study, most teacher education programs in East Tennessee are not providing environmental education courses to pre- and in-service teachers who, in general, have positive attitudes toward teaching environmental education concepts in elementary and middle schools. Moreover, teachers in East Tennessee generally are not equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully integrate environmental education into their curricula.


Sall, A.B.C. The status of environmental education in elementary and middle public schools of east Tennessee: A teacher perspective. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Tennessee. Retrieved May 18, 2022 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or