Academic journal article International Education Studies

Environmental Education in the Teaching and the Learning of Scientific Disciplines in Moroccan High Schools

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Environmental Education in the Teaching and the Learning of Scientific Disciplines in Moroccan High Schools

Article excerpt


In this work we investigate the place and the importance of environmental education (EE) in Moroccan high school education with a focus on Physics/Chemistry and Biology/Geology classes. It is performed within a comparative method by using an interdisciplinary approach in order to understand the presence and the pedagogical styles adopted for the implementation of EE in both disciplines. This study is accomplished via an anthropological theory of knowledge to analyze textbooks and a questionnaire administered to 90 teachers of these disciplines throughout different high schools in Oujda academy, Morocco. The analyses of collected data were performed by adopting a statistical descriptive method. Results show that the presence and the importance of EE are mediocre and its contribution to learning activity is dominated by informative pedagogical style. Similarly, questionnaire results reveal that the implementation of EE in their practices cannot enable learners to construct competencies and skills that would help them adopt a positive behavior towards the environment because first, the presence of EE in their classes is almost absent especially in P/C classes, second, teachers' practices are overwhelmed by the informative pedagogical style. Furthermore, respondents have never benefited from basic and in-service training and their interdisciplinary professional collaboration is totally lacking.

Keywords: environmental education, textbook, teaching, learning, experimental science, high school

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Research undertaken by the Arab Forum for Environment (AFED, 2009; Mahmoud, 2009) depicts the risky impacts of global warming on both Arab countries including Morocco. Arab countries may run the risk of high negative effects of climate change due to a shortage in freshwater supply, decreasing food production, diminishing biodiversity and decaying human health (AFED, 2009).

In Morocco, according to a report presented by Laouina (2006) to High Commissariat Plan, which analyzed the actual environmental situation, introduced a prospective of the state of environment in 2030 which depends on the effect of demographic pressure on natural resources, urbanization rhythm and its effects, industrial development, water shortage, liquid and solid waste, and social behavior change.

Recently, a major body of scientists from various disciplines agrees that the environmental dilemma is based on people's behaviors and patterns of thought (Tikka, Kuitunen, & Tynys, 2000). EE is defined as "a learning process that increases people's knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges, develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, and fosters attitudes, motivations, and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible action." (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], 1978) Many researchers and practitioners think that EE is an outdoor classroom practice such as school environment clubs; however, it increasingly becomes an integral part of school curricula since its benefits have been widely noticed in learner development.

Environmental education mobilizes various participants, including associations, academic institutions, businesses and communities. In Morocco, more and more of these local communities develop environmental education actions and projects. Moreover, the global intensity of their commitment is increasing. At the educational level, Morocco has adopted a global pedagogical reform in the beginning of this century via inaugurating a National Charter for Education and Training (1999). This reform puts into focus the integration of EE in educational curricula and programs. In 1999, a study realized by the state secretary charged of water and environment in Morocco and recommended promoting EE in school life (Banque Africaine de Développement [BAD] et Royaume du Maroc, 2007). …

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