Science Teachers' and Senior Secondary Schools Students' Perceptions of Earth and Environmental Science Topics
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This article presents an evaluation of a new upper secondary Earth and Environmental Science (EES) course in Western Australia. Twenty-seven EES teachers were interviewed and 243 students were surveyed about the degree of difficulty, relevance and interest of EES topics in the course. The impact of the course on students’ views about EES topics was also explored. It was found that more than two thirds of the students chose to study EES because of personal interest. However, students perceived that some Earth science topics were difficult, boring or irrelevant. A lack of content knowledge from lower secondary science contributed to these perceptions. Nevertheless, teachers and students perceived that their understanding and attitudes towards environmental science topics such as climate change was improved. With the advent of a new Australian senior secondary science curriculum that includes EES, the implications of the findings for curriculum development and teacher professional development are discussed.
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