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Exploring the potential for an alternative teacher education programme for pre-service teacher education in the Environmental Related Activities Curriculum in Sri Lanka through the Problem Based Learning approach used in one university in New Zealand : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Education at Massey University, Palmerston North
The researcher’s aim was to explore the potential for an alternative teacher education
programme for the Environment Related Activities Primary Pre-service Teacher
Education curriculum on the basis of the Problem Based Learning approach as used in
the Integrated Curriculum: Science and Technology course conducted by one University
in New Zealand.
In this study, three methods of data collection were used in order to understand the main
features of the Problem Based Learning approach used in the above course. Semistructured
interviews helped to capture the ideas from teacher educators involved in this
particular course. To triangulate the data, a questionnaire was used to obtain the
students’ views on the Problem Based Learning approach and how it helped them in
preparing to be quality teachers in the integrated primary school curriculum in New
Zealand. Further, the researcher carried out a document analysis on several curriculum
materials found in New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
From this study, the researcher found that the Problem Based Learning approach used in
this particular primary teacher education course is a curriculum model based on the
principles of constructive learning theories. The Problem Based Learning approach used
problems as a context for students to acquire knowledge, and the students were actively
engaged in learning which is authentic to the environment as all problem scenarios are
from real life contexts.
The Environment Related Activities primary curriculum in Sri Lanka consists of major
themes and learning activities focus on learning through the environment. All themes
are related to the everyday life of the children. Similarly, in New Zealand, the primary
school curriculum is based on an integrated approach. From this study, the researcher
found that the Problem Based Learning approach used at one university in New
Zealand, suits the integrated nature of the primary school curriculum in New Zealand.
Therefore, the researcher highlights the main features of Problem Based Learning
approach and explores the potential for an alternative teacher education programme for
the Environmental Related Activities Primary Pre-Service teacher education curriculum
in Sri Lanka.