CHAPTER 3THE INFLUENCE OF PARADIGMS IN PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE LIVING
This chapter focuses on the role played by paradigms in promoting sustainable living in secondary school learners. It unfolds, by defining the concept “paradigm” as perceived by different authors. There are numerous paradigms used to guide research, however, the study identifies four paradigms playing a pivotal role in the promotion of sustainable living, namely behaviourism, constructivism, social critical theory and positivism. These paradigms are selected because they are broad and encompass other paradigms and they are some of the most commonly used in social sciences and in education in general (Lebeloane, 1998: 69). Each paradigm is further discussed under the following sub-headings:
- characteristic of a paradigm;
- Criticism of paradigm;
- implications of paradigms to the study;
- application of paradigm to the study and
- example of paradigm in practice.
- Robottom and Hart, (1993: 51-52) posit that the appropriate form of environmental education research is the one which includes consideration of both human conscious and political action and thus can answer moral and social questions about education programmes. They add that, it is the one which is more consistent with the eco- philosophical view which encourages individuals to be autonomous, independent critical and creative thinkers. It also encourages people to take responsibility for their own actions and participating in the social and political reconstruction required to deal intelligently with social/ environmental issues within mutually interdependent and evolving social situation. Thus Fien, (2002: 147), adds that each of these identified paradigms has an appropriate role to play in educational research depending on the type of problem being investigated. For example, all three are used in environmental education research although the empirical-analytical paradigm has been the most dominant until recent years (Robottom and Hart in Fien, Schreuder, Stevenson & Tilbury, 2002: 147). However, in recent years there has been a shift from behavioristic approaches which seek to change learners’ behaviour through awareness and knowledge gaining to the one that asserts that knowledge is constructed through interactions in the social world. These new approaches promote critical thinking, problem-solving, development of metacognitive skills and information processing skills.
Paradigms are of paramount for any research study to be conducted. The current study strives to promote sustainable living by eliminating unsustainable lifestyles of youth and the community. Thus Schleicher, (1989) elaborates on the need for a new ecological ethic… an ecologically oriented value system based upon fundamental changes in human attitudes and actions towards ourselves and the environment (Fien, et.al. 2002: 8). The scope of such change in social values is linked to a particular paradigm one identifies with. This chapter also discusses the contribution of other researchers on the influence of paradigms to environmental education as well as sustainable living and concludes by briefly discussing evaluation research.
DEFINITION OF PARADIGM
Many authors such as Kuhn, (1970); Robottom (1990); Robottom & Hart (1993); Dill and Romiszowski, (1997), Lebeloane, (1998) Mertens, (2005); McGregor and Murnane, (2010); Denzin and Lincoln, (2013) to name a few have attempted to define the concept of paradigm. The concept ‘paradigm’ derives from the Greek word ‘paradeigma’, which means a pattern or a model of something (Sterling, 2003: 90). However, it was Kuhn (1962 and 1970) who made remarkable contributions to the concept of paradigm. The following are some of the definitions made by various authors:
Kuhn, (1970: 175) describes the concept ‘paradigm’ as a framework or constellation of beliefs, values and techniques shared by the members of a given community such as environmental education community and serves to define a proper way of asking questions, those puzzles that are defined as the tasks for research in normal science. The paradigm helps the members to identify problems which they see as important and also provide them with possible solutions. In interpreting Kuhn’s definition of a paradigm, (1970) to environmental education, it could be stated that environmental education specialists (community) differ in their views about environmental education. Their different views are influenced about the paradigm they identify themselves with. In environmental education a paradigm can be used to investigate environmental problems and to conduct research. Guba and Lincoln (1985) state that paradigm represent what we think about the world (but cannot prove). Our actions in the world, including the actions we take as enquirers, cannot occur without reference to those paradigms (as we think so we act). Whereas Van Manen, (1990: 27) describes the concept “paradigm” as comprising the fundamental assumptions about the general orientation to life, the view of knowledge and the sense of what it means to be human that direct particular modes of enquiry. Thus paradigm includes those theories about the nature of reality and knowledge, ways of discovering knowledge and making judgment about the validity and authenticity of findings. This definition gives an indication that a paradigm can be a framework people construct for looking more closely at environmental education and for doing research in environmental education.
Neuman, (2000: 81) refers to the concept “paradigm” as a general organising framework for theory and research that includes basic assumptions, key issues, models of quality research and methods for seeking answers. Neuman, (2000) concurs with van Manen, (1990) by defining the term “paradigm” as a framework people construct for conducting research to solve environmental issued identified by environmentalists in environmental education. Furthermore, McGregor and Murnane, (2010: 1) define the concept ‘paradigm’ as a set of assumptions, concepts, values and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline like environmental education. For the purpose of this study, ‘paradigm’ is defined as a set of assumptions, concepts and values shared by the members of the community in their quest for a sustainable livelihood.
Behaviourism focuses on the relationship between the actor (learner) and the surroundings (environment), thus emphasising the functional relationship between behaviour and changes in the environment (Ritzer, 2001:71). Behaviourists posit that human and animal behaviour can be explained in terms of external stimuli, responses, learned histories and reinforcement (Maree, 2013: 21). The behaviourist sought to change people’s behaviour by making them aware of problems they are facing on daily basis. It is aimed at shaping human behaviour in a particular desirable way through natural scientific methods (Hungerford and Volk, 1990: 12). According to this view, by observing peoples’ behaviour one is able to formulate laws concerning such behaviour. This in turn enables people to predict and even control human behaviour (Loubser, 2005: 61).
The characteristics of behaviourism
Several authors discussed the characteristics of behaviourism starting back from its pioneers’ Skinner Pavlov, Vygotsky and Thorndike, to current authors such as Ritzer, (2001), Le Roux, (2001), Sterling, (2003) and Maree, (2013).
- Behaviourism is characterised by a concern to ‘fill up’ people with information. Therefore, learners are often seen as ‘empty ’vessels’ to be filled through education, with experiences.
- It assumes that a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli,
- It focuses on the functional relationship between behaviour and changes in the environment of the learner,
- Knowledge and awareness will lead to behaviour change,
- Behaviourism is concerned with observable behaviour and experience (Le Roux, 2001: 59).
- Behaviourism emphasises responsible environmental behaviour the nature of which is often determined by ‘experts’ (Sterling, 2003: 315).
- Behaviourists argue for integrative, i.e. corrective behaviour in the system to fit with larger systems (this may be in the family, in the classroom or in the environment, on integration into systems of belief, for example (Sterling, 2003: 331).
- Behaviourists posit that humans and animals behaviour can be explained in terms of external stimuli, responses, learned histories and reinforcement (Maree, 2013: 21). This explains that all human behaviour can, therefore, be understood in terms of cause and effect.
These characteristics will further be explained in the implications of behaviourism paradigm for sustainable living.
Criticism of behaviourism paradigm
Those who are not in favour of behaviourism argue that behaviourism:
- Has a short view of the learner;
- Educator is seen as remedial of ignorance and thereby also of ecological ‘ills’;
- Focuses on the individual and gives insufficient weight to social and economic conditions and forces which constrain action and to the possibility of social learning (Sterling, 2003: 315);
The dominant deficiency of behaviourist approach is that it does not encourage critical and systematic thinking required by environmentally responsible citizenry. Rather it seeks to integrate the individual into a deterministic pattern of thought or behaviour deemed desirable by the environmentalists (adapted from Sterling, 2003: 315; Loubser, 2005: 62).
Implications of behaviourism paradigm to the study
The aim of this study is to assess the role of environmental education in promoting sustainable living in secondary schools in uMkhanyakude District, whereas environmental education in terms of behaviourist approach emphasises:
- The development of environmentally responsible behaviour and active citizens, who live in harmony with one another and their surroundings.
- Environmentally responsible behaviour which leads to sustainable living,
- Helping learners become environmentally knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated citizens who are willing to work individually or collectively towards achieving and maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between- the quality of life and the quality of the environment (Loubser, 2005: 62) which is the cornerstone of sustainable living.
The study seeks to help learners become environmentally knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated to the total improvement of environment. Behaviourism is the best approach in cascading and delivering environmental awareness programmes in schools and communities. It is essential for the acquisition of skills and knowledge to identify, investigate and contribute to the resolution of environmental issues and problems. It aims at changing peoples’ unsustainable behaviour to a more sustainable ones. Behaviourist approach assumes that additional knowledge and awareness would on their own and immediately, change people’s behaviour and that environmental problems would, therefore, be addressed and overcome (Loubser, 2005: 60). Hungerford and Volk, (1990: 18), contends that the real challenge of making a change in learner behaviour lies in willingness to do things differently than the way they did in the past. They argue that increased knowledge about the environment and its associated issues lead to favourable attitudes which in turn lead to action promoting better environmental quality.
CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.2 THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS
1.3 ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS IN SOUTH AFRICA
1.4 SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
1.5 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
1.7 RESEARCH SETTING
1.8 EE AS A PATHWAY TO SUSTAINABLE LIVING
1.9 RESEARCH QUESTION
1.10 HYPOTHESIS AND NULL HYPOTHESIS
1.11 MOTIVATION OF THE STUDY
1.12 AIMS OF THE STUDY
1.13 RESEARCH METHOD
1.14 DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1.15 THE STRUCTURE OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 2 THE EVOLUTION OF SUSTAINABILITY
2.2 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF EE: AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE
2.3 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF EE: THE SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE
2.4 THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF EE: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
2.5 ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE LIVING
2.6 LITERACY, ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY AND ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP
2.7 EDUCATION PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE LIVING
2.8 CREATING SUSTAINABLE SCHOOLS
2.9 MEASURING ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
2.10 EMS IN THE SCHOOL CONTEXT
2.11 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EMS IN SCHOOLS
CHAPTER 3 THE INFLUENCE OF PARADIGMS IN PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE LIVING
3.2 DEFINITION OF PARADIGM
3.3 BEHAVIOURISM PARADIGM
3.4 CONSTRUCTIVISM PARADIGM
3.5 SOCIAL CRITICAL THEORY
3.6 POSITIVISM PARDIGMS
3.7 THE INFLUENCE OF THE PREVIOUS STUDIES
3.8 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.9 EVALUATION RESEARCH
CHAPTER 4 EMPIRICAL STUDY
4.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
4.3 THE MIXED METHODS APPROACH
4.4 RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS
4.5 POPULATION AND SAMPLING OF THE STUDY
4.7 DATA COLLECTION PROCESS
4.8 DATA ANALYSIS
4.9 PILOT STUDY
4.10 ROLE OF THE RESEARCHER
4.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATION
4.12 EE PROGRAMMES PROMOTING SUSTAINABILE LIVING
4.13 BENEFITS OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMME
4.14 CHALLENGES FACING ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION
4.15 EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMME
4.16 SOURCES OF ERROR IN EVALUATION
CHAPTER 5 PRESENTATION OF THE RESULTS
5.2 QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS QUESTIONNAIRE
5.3 DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS
5.4 SCHOOL PROFILES BY LEARNERS
5.5 SCHOOL PROFILE BY EDUCATORS
5.6 FINDING OF THE STUDY: QUESTIONNAIRE
5.7 EDUCATOR RESPONDENTS
5.8 ADMINISTRATIVE CLERK
5.9 QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS, REFLECTIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
6.2 DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS
6.3 TESTING FOR HYPOTHESIS
6.4 REFLECTIONS ON RESEACH PROCESS
6.6 RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE STUDY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
AN EVALUATION OF THE ROLE OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE LIVING IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS, UMKHANYAKUDE DISTRICT, KWAZULU-NATAL