Influential factors leading individuals into environmental education
Fincher, Elizabeth Carolyn
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One's choice of a career is often the result of an influential person or experience in their life. Prior research from Chawla explored significant life experiences with environmental educators and identified variables which motivated individuals to advocate for the environment. However, there is little research exploring the effect of sense of place and empathy towards said place on the manifestation of a significant life experience (SLE) within environmental educators. Within this qualitative study, the empathy-altruism hypothesis, sense of place, and SLE frameworks are used to help understand what motivates individuals to become environmental educators. Findings indicated that those who influence others to pursue EE inspire them less with their content knowledge and more with their relationship building skills. Collegiate programs which prepare students for EE careers should consider placing greater emphasis on the mechanics of teaching and less on the content to be taught.