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Role of partnerships in environmental education in New Zealand schools

Chris Eames and Rachel Bolstad

Between June 2002 and June 2003 a Ministry of Education research project was undertaken to investigate current practice and future possibilities for environmental education (EE) policy and practice in New Zealand schools. The research included three components: a review of New Zealand and international literature in EE, a survey of nearly 200 schools involved in EE, and case studies of environmental education practices in eight primary, intermediate and secondary schools and kura kaupapa Mäori.

This paper looks at what the research tells us about the current (and potential) role of partnerships for EE in schools both internationally, and in New Zealand.

Some evidence was found for successful or emerging partnerships at many levels, involving teachers, students, other members of the school community, and groups and individuals with a stake in environmental education. However, challenges appear to exist in many schools in realising the full potential of such partnerships. For example, much negotiation, planning, and power-sharing is required to establish true partnerships between teachers and students, partnerships across subject areas, partnerships between staff within a school, and partnerships between schools and environmental agencies.

Paper presented at the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) conference, Christchurch College of Education, 14-17 January 2004.

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Chris Eames