What do environmental educators most need to learn to advance their own performance, as well as the field’s credibility? Dr. Lynette Fleming thinks she knows. More than 400 environmental educators from across the United States contributed to her 2009 Environmental Education Professional Development Needs and Priorities Study, an assessment that Fleming says gives the field “an opportunity to reshape professional development to respond to current needs.”
According to Fleming, who started conducting teacher workshops in the early 1970s, “The typical approach to professional development has been mostly someone saying, ‘This is what you need.’ The dialogue about what is really needed and how to provide it is often missing.”
The study, funded by the Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP), offers plenty of fodder for that dialogue, identifying specific priorities and laying out an ambitious slate of recommendations for responding to them.
Fleming, whose decades of experience with evaluation, program development, and training uniquely qualified her to spearhead the study, said, “It was heartening to see that a lot of things we’ve said are important for 30 years are at the top of the priority list. But as we continue to analyze the data, it’s clear that much more needs to be done to compile what we know as a field and make that knowledge more broadly accessible.”
To read and download the complete article click on the related document below. In addition, two follow-up reports completed in 2010 describe the professional development needs of educators working in formal and nonformal settings (see related link below, Teachers' and Practitioners' PD Needs).