Identities Matter: A conceptual framework for understanding and analysing teacher educators' experiences in implementing environmental education in India

Year: 2012

Author: Almeida, Sylvia Christine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This paper discusses the conceptual framework applied for analysing teacher educators' practices and experience in implementing environmental education reforms in India. It draws upon a larger PhD study aimed at understanding how teacher educators' understand, determine and negotiate environmental education particularly in the context of intense global and national reforms in the field. Teacher educators identities are complex and shaped by the various interpretations their 'personalities, values, actions, and sense of self' present to their social relationships (Thomashow, 1996). Understanding their identities is crucial in understanding their teaching practices. This study focuses on three particular aspects of their identities namely their professional identities, their cultural identities and their ecological identities. This paper argues that these determinants are vital in understanding how teacher educators view environmental education, which in turn influences how they implement it in their personal practices. Teacher educators' professional identities shaped by their own experiences as students, student teachers, and teachers impacts their practices as teacher educators, which directly influence their views of environmental education. Their cultural identities shaped by the values and traditions of their society influences their views of the environment and its education. Finally their ecological identities ranging from technocentric to eco centric also influences their views about the environment and teach environmental education. Analysis through these three lenses sheds light on factors that enable/constraint the implementation of environmental education.


Thomashow, M. (1996). Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.