The relationship between biology teachers' identities and their integration of the outdoors

  • Author / Creator
    Delos Santos, Julieta
  • The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the identities of biology teachers and their integration of outdoor settings with their practice. In the context of this study, teacher identity is considered as enacting and being recognized as a particular kind of teacher at a particular time and place for pedagogical purposes while simultaneously co-constructed with discourse, socio-cultural-historical context, and practice (or activity). Additionally, outdoor education is taken to mean education about and for the outdoors, working in conjunction with indoor classroom instruction. The theoretical framework laid the foundation for the following research questions: (1) What is the relationship between identities of biology teachers and integration of the outdoors? (1a) In what ways does identity influence biology teachers’ pedagogical decisions towards their outdoor practice? (1b) In what ways does biology teachers’ identities and outdoor practice influence each other? The answers to these questions will help educators and others better understand the relationship between identity and teaching practice. A qualitative, multiple case study design (n=3) was employed, and purposive sampling was used to identify ideal participants who are: secondary biology teachers in Alberta, have had more than three years of teaching experience, and who incorporate the outdoors with their teaching. Teachers began by completing an open-ended questionnaire asking about their outdoor teaching practices. Questionnaire results were used to generate questions for the initial interview and then those results were used to formulate questions for the final interview that was forty-five minutes. Discourse analysis, with an emphasis on its social context and as a representation of teacher identity and context, was used to examine the transcripts. Results indicated key characteristics of their identity including: fulfilling curriculum, viewing teaching as helping iii students, using multiple methods of teaching, valuing different aspects (ex. students, other learning settings, natural environment, and others). To determine underlying coherences of these teachers’ connections between identity and integration of the outdoors, a cross-case analysis was used. Big “D” Discourse was used as a framework to organize the cross-case analysis since it transcends small “d” discourse by combining those results with characteristics that extend beyond language such as attitudes, values, and others. Overall, there were two coherences: (1) these teachers appear to have a flexible view of teaching methods and learning environments; and (2) it seems that these teachers also implement the outdoors as a setting for developing students’ attitudes. These coherences may contribute towards other ways of understanding biology teaching practice. Together, these coherences suggest a Discourse of flexible teaching and pedagogical practice so that it naturally includes the outdoors with science.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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