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CURRENT THEMES, STRATEGIES AND METHODS IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Adrian GROZAVU Geography Department of the Faculty of Geography and Geology, Al. I. Cuza.

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Presentation on theme: "CURRENT THEMES, STRATEGIES AND METHODS IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Adrian GROZAVU Geography Department of the Faculty of Geography and Geology, Al. I. Cuza."— Presentation transcript:

1 CURRENT THEMES, STRATEGIES AND METHODS IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Adrian GROZAVU Geography Department of the Faculty of Geography and Geology, Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi

2 Some of the aspects of a complex phenomenon generically entitled the Problems of the Contemporaneous World (PCW): - the rapid evolution of knowledge and technology - the demographic explosion - the amplification of situations like poverty, famine, unemployment, social exclusion, environmental degradation, ethnic or religious conflicts etc. PCW are characterized by universality, globality, complexity, emergent character, incorporating tendencies, phenomena, new aspects that occur simultaneously or successively in all the regions of the world. The great majority of the PCW components have a severity character

3 Amongst the answers proposed on the international scale for these problems, one of the most original and efficient is represented by the new educations that are introduced or is desired to be introduced in the educational plans: -education for technology and progress; -education for exchange, participation and democracy; -education for peace and cooperation; -environmental education; -education for sustainable development; -inter-cultural education etc. These new educations bear new messages and objectives, being at the same time answers given to some provocations

4 In Environmental Education (EE), the formative person desires that the one who studies to be able to: - define and understand the concept and importance of EE - identify and understand the specific objectives of EE - know and apply the methods and specific processes of EE

5 From the geographical perspective, some themes are imposed as being the most important to be included in the curricula of Environmental Education: 1. Understanding the concept of environment, as a system resulting from the inter-functionality of several components 2. Component elements of the environment (primary, derived and anthropic components) 3. Relations between the environmental components (types of relations, relations of abiotic nature, relations of biotic nature, man-nature relations) 4. Types of geographic environments (warm environment, temperate environments, cold environments, anthropic environments) 5. The influence of the human activities on the environment (environmental degradation: causes, degradation forms) 6. Environmental protection and conservation (forms of environmental protection, priority domains of environmental protection, international collaboration for environmental protection)

6 From the educational strategies or techniques used to increase the learning quality, to motivate students, to create better citizens, some are imposed as being more important : Constructivism : Building on what students know Cooperative learning : Working in group to solve problems, promote cooperation, build relationship among students and get a taste of how the real world works. Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Teaching : Helping students to understand the interconnectedness of knowlwdge and to use knowledge from several disciplines to examine individual and societal problems Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking : Exploring issues to give students experience investigating and defining problems, identifying solutions, implementing action plans and designing ways to measure succes Community Learning : Using the community to explore real issues that promote learning and, at the same time, benefit the community Values and Ethics : Examining and reflecting on the underlying values that influence individual and societal actions with regard to issues and building a personal ethical framework that helps distinguish right from wrong

7 Among the most important methods and procedures included in the system of teaching-learning methods applicable to the Environmental Education, we mention: -Informative methods, for transmitting and acquiring the information (enouncing, conversational or dialogue) -Methods of exploration and discovery (direct exploring, exploring through substitutes of reality) -Formative, active or simulative methods, based on action (exercises, case studies, didactic and simulative games, Phillips debate, projects method etc.). Presently, two findings stand out: - It is visible a diversification of the teaching-learning methods, that allows a notable displacement of the educational process from information to formation, from memorizing to rationalizing and from mechanical learning to the creative, participative and anticipative one; these mutations determine the modification of the position of the educator in relation to the person that studies, in the sense of the occurrence of new functions: advisor and mentor, animator, discoverer and stimulator of the efforts of the learner, of the self-instruction and self-education activity, promoting active, participative strategies of learning, the student becoming an agent of its own formation. - Also may be observed the preoccupation for the effective integration in the system of educational methods and techniques of the modern means, of the type of multimedia audio-visual and IT systems. More and more often we are talking about educational technology, conceived as a systematic model of projection, realization and evaluation of the entire process of teaching and learning.

8 Exercise 1. What type of lesson for Environmental Education? Purpose: To help participants critically thinking, clarifying opinions regarding the purpose and objectives of EE, about methods and strategies Target group: Teachers, other categories of educators Group size: 20 to 30 participants Time needed: 1 hour Place: Clasroom Materials, tools: Copies of the presentation of 7 hypothetical lessons on A4 sheets of paper, flip-chart Directions: I. Divide your participants into groups of 3 to 4 people and distribute to each group copies of abstracts of some hypothetical lessons of environmental education, developed in different contexts: 1. The students in this class have just finished watching a video tape that presented the archeological / biological / ecological diversity of an area neighboring the school and that is in the center of a dispute regarding the property of this surface. The students have already analyzed an editorial from a local newspaper that underlines the importance of the debated problem: the interests of a company of wood exploitation; the opinions of the locals; the position of the local authorities and of a nature conservation organization. The students prepare a list of questions for the representatives of one of the four previously mentioned categories (company, locals, authorities, conservation organization). 2. The students in this class are at the end of a period of four weeks in which they studied industrial pollution and now they present their conclusions according to the model of a debate from a parliamentary commission. They have just found out the intention of the government to increase the taxes on the pollutant emissions. A group of students represents the companies that might lose according to these measures present their arguments. 3. The students read a material produced by the Commerce and Industry Union of the county regarding soil conservation. The teacher asks to write down a list of five methods through which the farmers might reduce soil degradation. The students are interested in a diagram from a brochure that shows that for a kilogram of bread to be produced may be registered the erosion of 7 kilograms of soil – if wheat cultivation is conducted inappropriate. 4. The students in this class have oriented their attention on territorial planning of their town. After they have documented regarding the way in which the built surface has been exploited in the past; and now, divided into two groups, they monitor the action of a company that proposed the township a business plan for an increase of the residential areas with 40 hectares, through the acquisition of the terrains of some farmers around the town. The students try to find pros and cons arguments for this initiative.

9 5. The students in this class are in the laboratory and are studying biologic productivity. In this purpose they have sampled all the plants from a surface of one square meter, have dried them and measured the biomass increase realized during three summer months, comparing it with an increase realized on a similar surface after three spring months. The purpose is that of evaluating the success of an ecologic reconstruction action of a neighboring area. 6. The students from this class have just finished a project regarding the attraction of several forms of wildlife in a pond situated nearby the school. At the beginning of the project the students have studied as artists, gradually gathering information and carefully drawing what theyve observed. Later they became field biologists, systematically surveying the pond and discussing about how it could be more attractive to wildlife. After they have decided to introduce/plant species of humidity loving/tolerant animals/plants, the students have chosen the appropriate species following ecology lessons and then theyve calculated how many of them are necessary. Also, they have justified on paper their choices, have advanced a budget and have addressed a wetland expert to receive suggestions. Finally, they wrote their own proposal regarding the materials, plants and animals needed. 7. The students in this class participate at a plastic arts course – create collages using leafs, rocks, wood pieces, papers, bottles, metal cans etc. The artistic collage is meant to express their opinion regarding the way in which people treat nature. The materials used must be obtained / gathered from the schoolyard or from its vicinity. II. After the participants read the seven examples / types of lessons, ask each group to answer the following questions: 1. Which of the seven lessons would you teach and why? 2. Do you consider as inadequate one of the seven lessons? If yes, which and why? 3. How does each of the seven lessons contribute to the formation of a positive attitude towards the concept of sustainable development? 4. Classify the seven lessons according to how they address education in, for and about environment. 5. What objectives does each of the lessons propose? III. Ask the liders of each group to present the results IV. Ordinate on the flip-chart the answers to each of the 5 questions and organize a plenary discussion.

10 Exercice 2. Seeing an Environmental Issue from a Sustainability Perspective A hands-on group activity that helps participants see the effects of a local activity on the economy, society and environment. Purpose: To help participants view a local activity with an eye toward the three components of sustainability - economy, society and environment Target group: Teachers, other categories of educators Group size: 12 to 36 participants Time Needed: 1 to 1 1/2 hours Place: Classroom Materials: Three large sheets of paper for each group Tape One marking pen per participant Extension: chalkboard and chalk Directions: I. Divide your participants into groups of 3 to 6 people. II. Ask each group to identify a local, annual activity (e.g., festival, parade, or sporting event). III. Construct a concept map using this activity as the focal point (see Figure 1). IV. Ask participants to think of ways the activity affects the local economy, the society and the environment. Participants should write these primary factors on the paper and use connecting lines and words to show relationships (see Figure 2). V. Ask participants to identify secondary factors that affect or are affected by the primary factors. VI. Identify third-and fourth-level factors and beyond, if possible. VII. Using another sheet of paper, repeat Steps 3 to 6 for global factors that affect or are affected by the local activity. VIII. Prepare a chart on the remaining sheet of paper. Write the headings Environment, Economy and Society across the top. Write Local and Global on the left side of the page (see Table 1).



13 EnvironmentSocietyEconomy Local Fertilizer Use Pesticides Groundwater Landfill Reservoir Urban Sprawl Riverfront Park Public Health Education Landmarks Heritage Culture Migrant Workers Events Values Tourism Shipping Service Industry Government Subsidy Seasonal Jobs Private Support Taxes Property Values Global Acid Rain Ozone Depletion Logging Fishing Air Source Community Workers Child Labor Disease Poverty Government Big Business International Trade Agreements Farming Wages Cost of Living

14 IX. Instruct participants to write factors from both concept maps on the chart where appropriate. The results should indicate that the factors reflect society, economy and environment, both locally and globally. Our local actions can have global impacts. Sustainable development means balancing the environment, society and economy now and in the future, beginning locally. Extension: X. Begin a discussion of the local concept map. Ask each group to identify a negative trend in the community (e.g., increased population, housing shortage, poorer living conditions). How many years can this trend continue before the situation becomes intolerable? Should action be taken now to counteract this trend so future generations enjoy the same quality of life found in the community today? Can the quality of life be improved now and for the future? How? XI. Ask the group to identify a local natural resource depleted by human activity and write it on the chalkboard. As a group, create a concept map of probable factors, both local and global, that a shortage of this resource may affect, create or necessitate. XII. Discuss the concept map. What does it imply for your community?

15 Exercise 3. Finding Solutions to an Environmental Issue (an Ecologic Disaster Case: Calimani Mountains) Purpose: To determine the participants to critically think over an environmental problem, to look for answers, to propose solutions for remediation and re-introduction of the affected area in the economic and social circuit. Target group: Teachers, other categories of educators Group size: 10 to 16 participants Time needed: 2 hours Place: Informatics laboratory Materials, tools: Copies with the presentation of an environmental case on A4 sheets of paper, thematic maps of the analyzed area, photographs, computers, software (vectorial drawing programs - Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, a library of conventional signs), flip-chart Directions: I. Group the participants in 2-3 person teams, preferably according to their specialization, and allocate each team a computer. II. Distribute each team copies with the presentation of an environmental problem (foe example the open pit exploitation of sulphur in Calimani Mountains), a set of thematic maps of the respective area, photographs. The same materials in digital format will be downloaded from a previously created FTP site especially for this purpose. The site will also contain a digital map of the analyzed area and a library of conventional signs. III. Ask each team to study the materials and to answer the following questions: 1. What are the main historical and current causes (i.e., physical/biotic, social/cultural, or economic) of the issue? 2. What are the geographic scale, the spatial distribution, and the longevity of the issue? 3. What are the major risks and consequences to the natural environment? 4. What are the major risks and consequences to human systems? 5. What are the economic implications? 6. What sentiments does this problem arouse you? 7. How can be this situation changed to minimize its impact on the ecologic and social environment? How may these modifications be realized? 8. What are the concrete solutions you propose? 9. How could you convince others to act in the same direction as you? IV. Ask each team to propose rehabilitation solutions for the area and to complete the blank digital map of the region, by drawing in vectorial drawing software (Corel, Adobe Illustrator) and using the conventional signs library. V. In the end, ask each team to present the results, organize a plenary discussion, ordinate on the flip-chart the most adequate answers, establish on a common basis with the participants the final content of the blank map through the synthesis of the most realistic proposals.

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