Young children’s ideas about environment: perspectives from three early childhood educational settings

Young children’s ideas about environment: perspectives from three early childhood educational settings

  • article in the current issue

Lauren Madden & Jennifer Liang

Pages: 1055-1071 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1236185

Abstract

Many efforts have been made around the globe to advocate for and encourage environmental sustainability education (ESE). As many as 15 fields can serve as ‘currents’ on the greater field of environmental education, including environmental education and education for sustainability. We acknowledge that each is a separate and distinct field of inquiry, but choose not to limit our perspective to any one field or the other. Thus, we have elected to use the term ESE to refer to work that falls into any or all of these categories throughout this manuscript for learners of all ages. Yet, there is a dearth of information at the early childhood level, defined as toddlers through eight-year-olds. Our exploratory study focused on better describing young children’s understandings of ESE. Young children (ages three-eight) from three different suburban early childhood education settings (public school pre-kindergarten, church-based cooperative preschool, and private daycare center) participated in focus group interviews before and one week after a brief ESE learning activity. Findings revealed that children were able to describe nature in more sophisticated ways after the intervention than before, suggesting that learning in early childhood ESE is possible and fruitful.

Keywords: Early childhood, environmental education, conceptions

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2016.1236185

#EERcurrentissue

The philosophies, contents and pedagogies of environmental education programs in 10 Israeli elementary schools

The philosophies, contents and pedagogies of environmental education programs in 10 Israeli elementary schools

  • article in current issue

Tali Tal & Einat Peled

Pages: 1032-1053 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1153047

Abstract

In this study, our aim was to understand how environmental education has been implemented in Israeli elementary schools. We selected ten schools that had implemented Education for Sustainability programs and analyzed their mission statements and curriculum documents. We observed each school’s activities and interviewed teachers. Our analysis shows ambiguity with respect to the rationales and the theoretical foundations of the programs. It also shows much didactic teaching of content, a strong focus on behavioral outcomes, especially with respect to reducing resource consumption and to increasing the levels of recycling, as well as some degree of working with the community. The unclear status of environmental education in Israel, in terms of its structure within the education system, prevents it from having sufficient resources for teacher education and curriculum development. It is suggested that this lack of clarity is the main cause of the ambiguity and for the use of the traditional pedagogies we found in our analysis.

Keywords: curriculum, education for sustainable development, environmental education, professional development, Elementary schools

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2016.1153047

#EERcurrentissue

Botany and environmental education in elementary school in Brazil: articulating knowledge, values, and procedures

Botany and environmental education in elementary school in Brazil: articulating knowledge, values, and procedures

  • New EER Article Alert

Jerônimo de Oliveira Loureiro & Rossano André Dal-Farra

Pages: 1-14 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1343280

Abstract

The increasing urbanization and alienation from nature reduce children’s opportunities to interact with plants and challenge teachers to devise educational practices that contribute to learning botany. This study presents the results of activities developed in a Brazilian school through explorations, drawings, dried and pressed specimens, and semi-structured interviews. The data were evaluated using mixed methods analysis. Leaves were the structure that was most frequently drawn by 1st- and 2nd-year students, followed by stems. Among students in their 3rd, 4th, and 5th years, more emphasis was on flowers and their detailed morphological structures. The 1st- and 2nd-year students included non-living elements and the surrounding environment in their drawings, whereas the older students focused on the plant itself. These particularities point to methods of teaching botany in context and link students’ specific knowledge to values and practices that contribute to an environmental education that aims to minimize the utilitarian view of nature and move towards a view of human beings as integrated and interdependent with other living and non-living elements.

Keywords: Elementary education, botany, herbarium, science education, environmental education

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2017.1343280

#newEERpaper

Changes in experiences with nature through the lives of environmentally committed university faculty

Changes in experiences with nature through the lives of environmentally committed university faculty

  • New EER Article Alert

Nicolette L. Cagle

Pages: 1-10 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1342116

Abstract

Previous work has identified time spent in nature as a child as a precursor to active care for the natural world (i.e. environmental commitment), but a paucity of data exists on what happens to environmentally committed people’s relationship to nature over time, including the time spent in nature and the quality of that experience. In addition, previous work has not more finely categorized these nature experiences, with the exception of natural history-oriented professionals. I address these gaps by conducting in-depth interviews with 12 faculty in the environment at Duke University regarding relationships with nature throughout their life. The interviews reveal that the amount of time spent in nature, and the quality of that experience, changed for this cohort over time. Moreover, these interviews revealed nuanced aspects of relationships with nature that changed with life stage, complementing that work which was conducted on natural history-oriented professionals. This work suggests that more research is needed on the changing relationship with nature among adults and environmental educators.

Keywords: Higher-education, environmental education, nature, significant life experience, nature deficit disorder

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2017.1342116

#newEERpaper

Immigrant children promoting environmental care: enhancing learning, agency and integration through culturally-responsive environmental education

Immigrant children promoting environmental care: enhancing learning, agency and integration through culturally-responsive environmental education

  • paper in the current issue

Natasha Blanchet-Cohen & Rosemary C. Reilly

Pages: 553-572 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1153046

Abstract

This paper examines the potential of culturally-responsive environmental education to engage immigrant early adolescents. Our study suggests that environmental involvement can become a means and an end for children to bridge their school and home in agential ways. Drawing from a multi-phase study involving focus groups with children, parents, and teachers from three culturally-diverse schools in Montreal, as well as a green action research project, we examine children’s role as environmental educators and ambassadors. The role of environmental ambassador allowed children to take on positions that departed from conventional parent-child social scripts, and enhanced the communication between school-student-home, between generations, and spoke to their sense of place. We contend that culturally-responsive environmental education offers a unique space for enacting democracy, knowledge creation and integration, but this opportunity is often squandered. Bi-directional, responsive, and consistent home-school-community-place relations need to be actively supported.

Keywords: environmental education, immigrant children, learning, culturally-responsive, agency, intergenerational

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2016.1153046

#EERcurrentissue

Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in The Netherlands: a critical approach

Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in The Netherlands: a critical approach | Open Access

  • New EER Article Alert

Helen Kopnina

Pages: 1-16 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1303819

Abstract

One of the main outcomes of the Rio + 20 Conference was the agreement to set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The most common terms in the17 goals are economic growth, resilience and inclusion, all of which are critically examined in this article. This article discusses how these goals are reflected within existing sustainability programs at a vocational college, and at the undergraduate and postgraduate university levels in The Netherlands. Within all three institutions the author has integrated lectures on sustainable development with specific emphasis on the SDGs. The aim was to engage students in critical discussion, allowing reflection on the issues and paradoxes that characterise the larger discourse of sustainability. The case studies illustrate how curriculum aimed at this awareness can be developed stimulating the students’ recognition of critique of economic development, inclusion and resilience. As a result of the courses, the students were able to develop a certain degree of critical, imaginative, and innovative thinking about sustainable development in general and the SDGs in particular. Cradle to cradle and circular economy approaches were named as more promising for current production systems. This article concludes with the recommendation as to how the SDGs can be critically taught.

Keywords: Economic growth, sustainable development, environmental education, resilience, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2017.1303819

#newEERpaper