The Environment: Teaching and Learning
The draft of voluntary national standards for environmental education uses the following areas as a framework:
Affective dimensions Ecological knowledge Sociopolitical knowledge Understanding of environmental issues Problem-solving skills Sense of personal responsibility Knowledge of citizen-action strategies
In addition, a team of environmental educators has completed a draft of guidelines for what should be considered high-quality environmental-education materials. Following are examples of those guidelines from the draft of "Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence":
Fairness and accuracy
- Environmental-education materials should reflect sound theories and well-documented facts about subjects and issues.
- Where there are differences of opinion or competing scientific explanations, the range of perspectives should be presented in a balanced way.
- Materials should encourage students to examine the possible consequences of their behavior on the environment and to be willing to help resolve environmental problems and issues.
- Materials should aim to strengthen students' sense of their ability to influence the outcome of a situation.
- Materials should offer opportunities for different modes of teaching and learning.
- A variety of means for assessing student progress should be included in the materials.
- The overall structure (purpose, direction, and logic of presentation) should be clear to teachers and students.
- Materials should have a life span that extends beyond one use.
- If intended for in-school use, environmental-education materials should fit easily within state or local standards or curricula.
- Environmental concepts should be set in a context that includes social as well as ecological aspects.
- Environmental issues should be explored using a variety of scales, as appropriate--for example, short-term to long-term time spans, localized global effects, and local to international community levels.
Emphasis on skills building
- Students should learn to arrive at their own conclusions about what should be done, rather than being taught that a certain course of action is best.
Vol. 15, Issue 20