Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions about Using Experiential Learning for Teaching Environmental Education: How Close is the Partnership?

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Experiential learning is considered to be a recent teaching approach in a general educational framework, which is related to learning through authentic direct experiences.However, the learning process within the educational system in India is mainly based on traditional models of teaching. Despite that fact, the NCF 2005 requires a teacher to be a facilitator of children’s learning in a manner that the child is helped to construct his/her knowledge. Thus, the current research is focused on an add on program related study on experiential learning and teaching of environmental education in teacher education institute in Mumbai. Specifically, the focal point is on pre-service teachers’ perceptions regarding the experiential learning as an approach within environmental education curriculum and the possibilities of implementing activities, in order to enhance students’ learning. Through a qualitative approach, this research included analysis of the data extracted from open ended questionnaire with 30 pre-service teachers. The data were analysed thematically and summarized in various themes related to the connections between experiential learning and environmental education. The analysis indicated that pre-service teachers had largely positive perceptions towards the experiential model. The findings showed that the pre-service teachers recognized multiple benefits of experiential learning including increased subject matter retention among students, active engagement, use of higher order thinking skills, and academic success.