1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues facing the world today. Providing adequate climate literacy to the next generation remains a challenge. Climate science has made a great progress in the last decade and also the climate system itself has shifted towards a hotter state. The interdisciplinary climate science belongs to the Earth science. The subject of the climate change research consists of all Earth spheres including the anthroposphere. Basic principles of the climatic system are described by natural sciences - mainly physics, chemistry, biology and geology. Transformation of the climate science system into the didactic system is a great challenge because of its complexity. Formal education in the climate change topic requires a systematic approach, collaboration of teachers and a good coordination during the educational process. Currently, many countries aim to implement the climate change topic into their national curricula and to improve the efficiency of education towards a climate literate society. Some universities, governmental or non-governmental organizations have been monitoring attitudes of the public towards climate change. Several international studies have investigated the state of pupils’ and students’ understanding of global climate change related issues. Studies of this kind rarely focus on teachers, who ought to deliver the knowledge to the next generations within the frame of formal education. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) reports that American teachers often face pressure to teach “both sides” of the issue - meaning they are forced to teach also the non-scientific arguments denying anthropogenic causes of the global climate change. Education about climate change differs in each country. Uherek (2008) published a paper summarizing opinions of teachers on the state of the education about climate change in their countries. Generally, teachers assess the information presented to students as scattered and not comprehensive. The climate change topic has been included at the framework curricular documents in the Nigeria education system. But there are no official rules or recommendations on who should be in charge of teaching climate change at schools. The basics of the climate change belong to the system of natural sciences, thus schools can teach the topic at scientifically oriented subjects. Many aspects of the Earth climate system have been included in the curriculum and textbooks of different school subjects. From such scattered information it is very difficult for the pupils to connect the dots and to understand how the climate system really works. The climate change topic is taught at several subjects and also in environmental education. The topic requires interdisciplinary approach and comprehensive materials. Teachers find the topic important, complicated and the lesson preparations time consuming. Over three quarter of the respondents assesses the currently available textbooks as insufficient and 87 % of the respondents seek for supplementary materials. The dominant majority of the respondents teach about the climatic cycles, influences of humanity on the climate and scenarios of the impacts of climate change. Students actively participate on the lessons. Teaching climate change topics requires climate literate teachers in the first place. Many organizations including NASA, NOAA, NSF have been providing grants to increase public awareness about global climate change and to improve the state of education by preparing extended curricula, educational materials and by educating primary and secondary school teachers. Environmental education teachers should understand climate change concepts like: Water; Ocean Acidification; Evolution and Biodiversity; Energy and Sustainable Development; Climate Change, Natural Hazards, and Societies; The Earth from Space; The Carbon Cycle; Geosciences in the City; The Polar Regions; The History of the Earth; Oceans. All the topics more or less relate to climate change. Teachers attending seminars on climate change will learn climate science directly from the scientists and share their teaching experiences. Many studies have been conducted concerning the understanding of climate change and global environmental problems. These studies highlighted the misconception and misunderstanding that people hold about climate change issues in terms of causality, consequences and cures (Naclimuthu and Vijayakumari (1993); Dove, 1996). Studies have also shown that misconceptions about climate change issues are not only held by students but by teachers as well (Papadimitrious, 2001). For example, concepts related to meteorological issues and environmental education such as elements of weather, climate, natural regions, importance of weather, human activities water sources, power use and environmental issues and management are suggested in the geography syllabus (MOEVT, 2005; TIE, 2011). However, although climate change is mentioned in the syllabus it is not linked with the sections of meteorology or environmental education. This means for effective teaching of environmental education concepts by focusing on the contemporary problems teachers need to have sound knowledge on climate change concepts and environmental education. Research shows that the enhanced teachers’ capacities help learners to address environmental problems through active learning, critical thinking and active involvement seems to occupy the focal point (Roux and Ferreira, 2005). However, studies conducted on students’ ideas about greenhouse effect in different parts of the world revealed that students almost every level have misunderstandings about the greenhouse effect (Andersson and Wallin, 2015; Bozkurt and Cansüngü-Koray, 2010; Darçin et al., 2014). Groves and Pugh (2011) state that students’ misunderstandings might arise from incorrect understandings passed along by their teachers. In Nigerian colleges of teacher education, environmental issues are addressed as a topic of ‘environmental problems and issues’ according to the geography syllabus for college teachers (MOEVT, 2009). Though various environmental issues are addressed in the syllabus for teacher education, evolving issues of climate change are not incorporated though integrated with secondary school geography syllabus. In order to fasten their awareness towards climate change it is necessary to know what level of awareness they posses. This paper therefore assesses the relationship between teachers understanding of the concept climate change and the learning outcome of students in environmental education in some secondary school in Amac Area Council, Abuja since Education has a serious role to play in helping to give out the correct message about climate change so as to mitigate and alleviate its effects.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Poor academic performance of students in Environmental education (WAEC, 2011) has been linked to poor teachers performance in terms of accomplishing the teaching task, which have been attributed to instructional strategy (Sabitu and Nuradeen, 2010; Aderogba, (2012); Rilwan, Akahomen and Gbakeji, 2014). According to Abdulkarim (2011), limited use of instructional strategies and materials by teachers and students for teaching environmental education are regarded as the major challenges of teaching climate change as a concept in environmental education in secondary schools of Nigeria. The teaching of environmental education in Nigeria has focused on the use of conventional teaching method, which always makes teachers to dominate the class while the learner remains passive. The use of conventional method often responsible for learners low interest and poor academic achievement of students in the subject. It discourages open questions, inquiry and active participation of students and makes geography classes difficult and boring (Sofowora and Egbedokun, 2010). This study aims at addressing this problem by exposing the environmental education students to Field-based Teaching Strategy. In addition, this study examines the relationship between teachers understanding of the concept “climate change” and the learning outcome of students in environmental education in some secondary schools in Amac Area Council, Abuja.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between teachers understanding of the concept “climate change” and the learning outcome of students in environmental education. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the level of environmental education student’s awareness of climate change in secondary schools.
2. To examine the factors influencing the teaching of climate change in environmental education in some Secondary Schools in Nigeria.
3. To examine the influence of teachers knowledge of the subject matter on student learning outcome.
4. To examine the knowledge and professional skills required by the teacher to teach students of environmental education climate change.
5. To examine the relationship between teachers knowledge of the subject matter and student learning outcome.
6. To examine the constraint militating against teaching of climate change in secondary schools.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of environmental education student’s awareness of climate change in secondary schools?
2. What are the factors influencing the teaching of climate change in environmental education in some Secondary Schools in Nigeria?
3. How is the influence of teacher’s knowledge of the subject matter on student learning outcome?
4. What knowledge and professional skills are required by the teacher to teach students of environmental education climate change?
5. What is the relationship between teacher’s knowledge of the subject matter and student learning outcome?
6. What are the constraint militating against teaching of climate change in secondary schools?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no influence of teacher’s knowledge of the subject matter on student learning outcome.
H1: There is a significant influence of teacher’s knowledge of the subject matter on student learning outcome.
H0: There is no relationship between teacher’s knowledge of the subject matter and student learning outcome.
H1: There is a significant relationship between teacher’s knowledge of the subject matter and student learning outcome.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant in many respects. It will compare the relationship of the variables with one another as they affect students from the schools usedfor the study. Ranking of the factors will be done according to the perception of the students to make readers have an overview of the interrelatedness of the variables used for the study. The study therefore offers empirical support to assist educational policy makers, administrators and educators in the educational planning and implementation. Finally, students would also benefit from the study through suggestions offered on ways of improving students’ academic achievement by the various interactions of the components of institutional factors identified in the study and the study will lay a solid foundation which subsequent researchers in similar studies may build upon.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the relationship between teachers understanding of the concept “climate change” and the learning outcome of students in environmental education in some secondary schools in Amac Area Council, Abuja.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Climate Change: These are changes in weather patterns attributed to increase in greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere mainly due to human activities but also due to some natural events.
Climate Change Mitigation: Human interventions aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and consequently reduce their impact on climate systems.
Academic Performance: It is the display of knowledge attained by the students in the school subject, usually measured by test scores or marks assigned by the teachers which can either be high or low.
Greenhouse Effect: It is the increase in temperature on earth as certain gases in the Atmosphere trap energy.
Greenhouse Gases: These are the gases that trap energy in the atmosphere and re-radiate the energy to keep the earth warm. Increase in their concentration causes increase in temperature on the earth.