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Green Teachers & Brown Rivers

Originally appears in the Spring 2015 issue

Green teaching has gone global. But developing an understanding of threats to our local environments is basic to engendering awareness which may lead to action on behalf of our rivers and streams, our woods and fields. Indonesians depend on a local fish to partially provide sustenance for their large population. But, the fish population is declining, so what’s a teacher to do?

In February 2009 in Medan, Indonesia, green teacher training was implemented with the support of the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment. That same year, Bengkulu University in Sumatra, Indonesia started a masters program in science education for practicing teachers with the motto of “Natural Conservation Education for a Better Life.”

Green teachers can and should be involved in research projects on local environmental issues, and this article aims to show you how this can be done by way of the research project conducted by three exemplary teachers in Bengkulu University’s graduate teacher education program. By educating themselves about local environmental issues, teachers are able to involve their students in these or similar projects. Each step of the research study: initiating, implementing, completing and sharing a project with middle and secondary school students, is modeled by using the projects that the Bengkulu teachers conducted.

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Aceng Ruyani is a biology educator at the Graduate School of Science Education, Bengkulu University, Indonesia. Erna Affiani, Fenty Sufyerny, and Suryana are biology teachers at a secondary school in South Bengkulu, Indonesia. Catherine E. Matthews is a professor of K-12 science education and environmental education at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. They began their collaborative work in 2012. The authors are grateful to Professor Endang Widi Winarni, Dr. Choirul Muslim, Dr. Agus Sundaryono, and Dr. Kancono for their support and valuable suggestions to improve the quality of science education in Bengkulu. The authors are also grateful to Mr. Tim Spruill, hydrologist, and Ms. Lacey Huffling, science educator for their editorial comments.


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