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International research concerning environmental education: a brief review by Ioan Manuel Ciumasu, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, Iasi, Romania Leonardo.

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Presentation on theme: "International research concerning environmental education: a brief review by Ioan Manuel Ciumasu, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, Iasi, Romania Leonardo."— Presentation transcript:

1 International research concerning environmental education: a brief review by Ioan Manuel Ciumasu, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, Iasi, Romania Leonardo da Vinci pilot project RO/05/B/PP175010, European Curriculum for Methodological Training in the field of Environmental Education February 27, 2007, Munich

2 Environmental education: where to? (1) There is a growing acknowledgement among researchers and educators that the final aim of EE is the creation of the psychological and social conditions for a transition to sustainable development (Kemp et al., 2005). Kemp, R., Parto, S., Gibson, R.B., Governance for sustainable development: moving from theory to practice. International Journal of Sustainable Development 5(1-2):

3 Environmental education: where to? (2) The immediate aim of EE is ecological literacy (e.g., Orr, 1992; Oskamp, 2000) → efficient knowledge systems capable of mobilizing science and technology for sustainability action (Cash et al., 2003; Colucci-Gray et al., 2005). Cash., D.W., Clark, W.C., Alcock, F., Dickson, N.M., Eckley, N., Guston, D.H., Jager, J., Mitchell, R.B., Knowledge systems for sustainable development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100(14): Colucci-Gray, L., Camino, E., Barbiero, G., Gray, D., From scientific literacy to sustainability literacy: an ecological framework for education. Science Education 90(2): Orr, D.W., Ecological literacy. SUNY Press, 210 pp. Oskamp, S., Psychology of promoting environmentalism: psychological contributions to achieving an ecologically sustainable future for Humanity. Journal of Social Issues 56(3):

4 Environmental education: EU context The European dimension of EE is essential. Given its complex development history and current high standards, Europe has a global responsibility in the transition to sustainability (e.g., Meadowcroft et al., 2005; Ruddy, 2005; Turnock, 2001; Wolf, 2005) Meadowcroft, J., Farrell, K.N., Spangenberg, J., Developing a framework for sustainability governance in the European Union. International Journal of Sustainable Development 8(1/2): Ruddy, T.F., Europe's responsibility to govern trade and investment sustainability: climate, capital, CAP and Cotonou. International Journal of Sustainable Development 8 (1/2): Turnock, D., Environmental problems and policies in East Central Europe: A changing agenda. GeoJournal 54: Wolf, F.O., 'But doth suffer a sea-change…' the need for a change of perspective for a realistic sustainability strategy in an enlarged EU. International Journal of Sustainable Development 8(1/2):

5 Environmental education: which way? (1) Transition to sustainable development → more citizen involvement in multistakeholder decision (governance). Governance in the European Union: socio-economic dynamic called “societal metabolism” → Environmental protection is efficient when based on a mix of available policy options and instruments (Giljum et al., 2005). Giljum, S., Hak, T., Hinterberger, F., Kovanda, J., Environmental governance in the European Union: strategies and instruments for absolute decoupling. International Journal of Sustainable Development 8(1/2):

6 Environmental education: which way? (2) Necessary: community-based EE, aiming towards socially cooperative choices for achieving viable trade-offs between ecological, social and economical variables (Forbes, 1987; Crance and Draper, 1996; Donahue et al., 1998). Trade-offs: not zero-sum games, but new prosperity. Community-based EE: the need of complementarity between formal & non-formal EE. Forbes, J., Environmental education – implications for public policy. The Environmentalist 7(2): Crance, C., Drapper, D., Socially cooperative choices: an approach to achieving resource sustainability in the coastal zone. Environmental Management 20(2): Donahue, T.P., Lewis, L.B., Price, L.F., Schmidt, D.C., Bringing science to life through community-based watershed education. Journal of Science Education and Technology 7(1):

7 Non-formal EE – some examples In botanical gardens, etc, EE research: surveying visitors’ environmental behaviour, ethics and values, then: → designing specific EE programs (e.g., Negra and Manning, 1997); → checking and updating teaching beliefs and competences of non-formal educators (Taylor and Caldarelli, 2004). Negra, C., Manning, R.E., Incorporating environmental behaviour, ethics, and values, into nonformal environmental education programs. Journal of Environmental Education 28(2): Taylor, E.W., Caldarelli, M., Teaching beliefs of non-formal environmental educators: a perspective from state and local parks in the United States. Environmental Education Research: 10(4):

8 The knowledge-values relationship (1) Sustainable development is knowledge-based, but transmission of knowledge is useless without appropriate values. According to the theory of planned behaviour, attitudes and social norms are central to the implementation of sustainability science into practice (e.g., Breslin et al., 2001; Sinclair et al., 2003; Oreg and Katz-Gerro, 2006). Breslin, C., Li, S., Tupker, E., Sdao-Jarvie, P., Application of the theory of planned behaviour to predict research dissemination. Science Communication 22(4): Oreg, S., Katz-Gerro, T., Predicting proenvironmental behaviour cross-nationally. Environment and Behaviour 38(4): Sinclair, J., Mazzotti, F., Graham, J., Motives to seek threatened and endangered species information for land-use decisions. Science Communication 25(1):

9 The knowledge-values relationship (2) Particularly at early childhood levels, EE is about value building: fostering a sense of appreciation and caring (Wilson, 1994) Public debates upon preserving biodiversity are not about science, but about values in general, about social and economic aspects of biodiversity, and about politics (Dybas, 2006) Wilson, R.A., Environmental education at the early childhood level. Early Childhood Education Journal 22(2): Dybas, C.N., Biodiversity: the interplay of science, valuation, and policy. BioScience 56(10):

10 The knowledge-values relationship (3) Ecological literacy should integrate environmental knowledge and attitudes (e.g., Sauvé, 1999; Bonnett, 1999) Ecological literacy should integrate environmental knowledge and attitudes (e.g., Sauvé, 1999; Bonnett, 1999) → Formation of citizens capable of responsible moral deliberation and intelligent choices, international context included (Scott, 2004; Power, 2006). Bonnett, M., Education for sustainable development: a coherent philosophy for environmental education? Cambridge Journal of Education 29 (3): Sauvé, L., Environmental education between modernity and postmodernity: searching for an integrating educational framework. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 4: Scott, D., Transforming the "market-model University": environmental philosophy, citizenship and the recovery of the humanities. Worldviews 8(2-3): Power, C., Education for the future: an international perspective. Education Research for Policy and Practice 5:

11 The knowledge-values relationship (4) Ecological literacy is the necessary (but not sufficient) condition for "a new social contract" for science and scientists : the contract for sustainable development (Lubchenco, 1998). Efficient education is needed to integrate science and public interests and welfare, and to develop new political identities, relationships and institutions (McMichael et al., 2003; Miller, 2005). Lubchenco, J., Entering the century of the environment: a new social contract for science. Science 279(5350): McMichael, A.J., Butler, C.D., Folke, C., New visions of addressing sustainability. Science 302(5652): Miller, C.A., New civic epistemologies of quantification: making sense of indicators of local and global sustainability. Science, Technology & Human Values 30(3):

12 The knowledge-values relationship (5) While attitudes may have a greater importance in shaping a personal environmental-friendly way of life (grass root level), sustainability requires socio-economic involvement on the grounds of knowledge. Ignoring the importance of environmental knowledge is a fatal shortcoming in environmental education (Cutter-Mackenzie and Smith, 2003), because an effective attitude is an informed attitude. Cutter-Mackenzie, A., Smith, R., Ecological literacy: the 'missing paradigm' in environmental education (part one). Environmental Education Research 9(4):

13 The knowledge-values relationship (6) For effective EE, make clear that ecology is not a dogma – ecology is a science with competing views and theories, with many answers yet to be found (Korfiatis, 2005). For example, there is no unified theory o biodiversity – but this is no mandate nor excuse for destroying biodiversity. Caution is essential when talking about “green” political parties. Ecology is not a political preference. Green parties may even be harmful (The Economist, 2005). Korfiatis, K.J., Environmental education and the science of ecology: exploration of an uneasy relationship. Environmental Education Research 11(2): The Economist, Rescuing Environmentalism (and the Planet). Market forces could prove the environment's best friend – if only green could learn to love them. Issue April 23rd – 29th: 11; related article at pages

14 The knowledge-values relationship (7) However, ecologists need to upgrade their social and political literacy However, ecologists need to upgrade their social and political literacy so that their work is not being ignored (danger from excessive disciplinarity). ( Way too often, highly placed ecological illiterates take decisions concerning ecosystem resources and environmental sustainability (e.g., Cairns Jr., 2004). For this, academics from various backgrounds need to (1) exercise communication among themselves and (2) constantly co-work toward concrete, mutually agreed objectives (like we do here today and along our project ). Cairns Jr., J., 2004b. Ecosystem health through ecological restoration: barriers and opportunities. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery 3(1): 5-14

15 Educating the EE educator (1) Writing is an integral part of the EE research (e.g., Lotz- Sisitka and Burt, 2002). Innovative methods in the formation of EE teachers should include writing EE texts (Bradley et al., 2004) : - conducting literature reviews, - interviewing decision-makers and scientists, - synthesizing and documenting management problems (science, legislation, social pressures, politics, etc) Bradley, M.P., Hanson, R., Walbeck, E.S., Innovative environmental education contributes to improved management practices in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 94: Lotz-Sisitka, H. Burt, Being brave: writing environmental education research texts. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 7(1): 9.

16 Educating the EE educator (2) The institutional strategy and the curricular strategy must be complementary: EE is not effective if the institutional strategy contradicts the curricula (Sureda and Calvo, 2001) → Any EE curricula (also for educators themselves) must begin with: 1. what is sustainable development (Giddings et al., 2002) and, 2. what is institutional sustainability (Pfahl, 2005). Giddings, B., Hopwood, B., O'Brian, G., Environment, economy and society: fitting them together into sustainable development. Sustainable Development 10: Pfahl, S., Institutional sustainability. International Journal of Sustainable Development 8(1-2): Sureda, J., Calvo, A.M., Organization of school centres and environmental education: in search of action models for the greening of school organization. The Environmentalist 21:

17 Educating the EE educator (3) The teacher-student relationship: any curriculum must serve for educating the teacher how to educate the student. Such "rehearsal curriculum" must motivate the teacher to learn and update and diversify his/her skills (Fien et al., 2002; Schwartz, 2006), Fien, J., Poh, I. T.-C., Yencken, D., Sykes, H., Treagust, D., Youth environmental attitudes in Australia and Brunei: implications for education. The Environmentalist 22: Schwartz, M., For whom do we write the curriculum? Journal of Curriculum Studies 38 (4):

18 Educating the EE educator (4) A diversity of approaches is needed – there is no single general valid EE method (e.g., Scott, 1999), But any enhancement of teachers’ knowledge and skills needs “inquiry” (Bell et al., 2003). Various types of questions can be identified and labelled: encyclopaedic, meaning-oriented, relational, value- oriented, solution-oriented (Dahlgren and Öberg, 2001). Bell, C., Shepardson, D., Harbor, J., Klagges, H., Burgess, W., Meyer, J., Leuenberger, T., Enhancing teacher's knowledge and use of inquiry through environmental science education. Journal of Science Teacher Education 14(1): Dahlgren, M.A., Öberg, G., Questioning to learn and learning to question: structure and function of problem-based learning scenarios in environmental science education. Higher Education 41: Scott, W., Environmental education: arguing the cases for multiple approaches. Educational Studies 25(1):

19 Educating the EE educator (5) While EE methods are already very diverse, the EE results in schools can be understood as both: (1) well-established evidence: EE outcomes: environmental knowledge, attitudes and behaviour – well studied so far; (1) well-established evidence: EE outcomes: environmental knowledge, attitudes and behaviour – well studied so far; (2) emerging evidence: EE processes: perceptions of nature, experience of learning and influence on adults – not well studied (2) emerging evidence: EE processes: perceptions of nature, experience of learning and influence on adults – not well studied EE is not once-and-for-all (but a life-long process) → understanding EE processes helps better updating EE in the future (Rickinson, 2001) Rickinson, M., Learners and learning in environmental education: a critical review of the evidence. Environmental Education Research 7(3):

20 Educating the EE educator (6) Particularly in developing nations, decisions are being based not on correct evidence but on faith or ideology (Sutherland et al., 2004, 2005; Mathevet and Mauchamp, 2005). Sustainability must include political decision, but must not be let be captured by political interests (politicized) : sustainability cannot be achieved through “revolutions” (it would be too easy; note the European context) but through effective governance. Mathevet, R., Mauchamp, A., Evidence-based conservation: dealing with social issues. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (8): Sutherland, W.J., Pullin, A.S., Dolman, P.M., Knight, T.M., The need for evidence-based conservation. Trendsin Ecology and Evolution 19: Sutherland, W.J., Pullin, A.S., Dolman, P.M., Knight, T.M., Response to Mathevet and Mauchamp: Evidence-based conservation: dealing with social issues. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20(8):

21 Educating the EE educator (7) The EE educator should not try to combat cultural values – if he does, cultural resistance will undermine and downgrade EE to society margins (e.g., Rea, 1995). The educator must employ simple or more complex indices upon the resilience, adaptability and transformability of the social-economic systems and their various circumstances (Walker et al., 2004; Farrell et al., 2005). Farrell, K.N., Kemp, R., Hinterberger, F., Rammel, C., Ziegler, R., From *for* to governance for sustainable development in Europe: what is at stake for further research? International Journal of Sustainable Development 8 (1/2): Rea, J., Educating for our environment: an Australian experience. The Environmentalist 15(4): Walker, B., Holling, C.S., Carpenter, S.R., Kinzig, A., Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9(2): 5

22 Educating the EE educator (8) For example, willingness to seek information upon indirect/not-immediate/impersonal risks (like environmental risks) may be influence by the perception of a social pressure to be informed (Kahlor et al., 2006). This insight should be combined, during the elaboration of EE curricula / programs, with the paradigm of human health through healthy environment (risks: “health comes first”) (Sauvé and Godmaire, 2004). Kahlor, L., Dunwoody, S., Griffin, R.G., Neuwirth, K., Seeking and processing information about impersonal risk. Science Communication 28(2): Sauvé, L., Godmaire, H., Environmental health education: a participatory holistic approach. EcoHealth 1 (Suppl. 2):


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