Organization, Information and Learning Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-15-2019


In this study, I explored what teachers perceive as the factors that impact their teaching of environmental science in rural secondary level schools in northwestern New Mexico. I adapted Bronfenbrenner’s (1994) ecological systems model, based on four environmental subsystem levels (microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem), as the conceptual framework to address the major research question of this study, and developed 18 interview questions to explore teachers’ perceptions of factors that influence their teaching of environmental science. I investigated the perspectives science teachers have about environmental science topics and the influences they perceive that affect how they teach environmental science, and I sought to understand how these perceptions influence curriculum integration of place-based and culturally responsive environmental science material into their classrooms. My analysis exposed themes in teachers’ beliefs, experiences, and objectives for teaching environmental science topics. Each level of the ecological framework unveiled multiple-level factors, including interactions between different ecological system levels that secondary level teachers perceived to impact their teaching of environmental science in rural northwestern New Mexican classrooms. My findings revealed similarities as well as differences between middle and high school teacher perceptions in regards to factors such as, the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, building students’ core competencies versus teaching content for standardized testing, parental and community engagement, and procuring funding and resources to meet district and State science objectives.

Degree Name

Organization, Information and Learning Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Organization, Information & Learning Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Charlotte "Lani" Gunawardena

Second Committee Member

Glenabah Martinez

Third Committee Member

Vanessa Svihla

Fourth Committee Member

Greg Cajete




teacher perceptions, environmental science, rural education, culturally responsive science, Indigenous science, ecological model

Document Type