There is little doubt that the use of EFS curricula, resources, and programmes in publicly provided education has been controversial.
This paper will examine the dilemmas, for educators involved in EFS, relating to the politics and conservative forces underpinning national curriculum development in a free market capitalist
economy such as Aotearoa / New Zealand.
Concerns have been expressed both within and beyond the developing field of EFS that it has the potential to be narrowly utilitarian and indoctrinatory. A useful response to this critique is to advocate for critical reflection around the ways in which language in the developing field of EFS is, and has been, constructed. It is argued that taking the meanings that are implicit in the terminology used in EFS to be self-evident will endanger its potential to be truly empowering. One consequence might be that the field becomes indoctrinatory and uncritically transmissive.
The area of pre-service teacher education is explored as one that can model environmental education and EFS usefully as educative.
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