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Environmental Education For Sustainable Development

Introduction to Environmental Education

Environmental education is not simply a program that demonstrates to about the natural world and how ecosystems function, but it is

the process of recognizing beliefs and clarifying concepts in order to develop skills and behaviour essential to understand and appreciate the inter-relatedness of man, his culture and his biophysical area. "

(IUCN, 1970 p. 17)

Environmental education cannot be viewed as an area of study. It really is a lifelong process that is infused in a variety of other fields of study. Environmental education should be observed by using a multidisciplinary perspective. It can be thought of having three linked components:

Education about the surroundings: This handles the enlargement of knowledge. The environment is seen as a subject of exploration.

Education for the surroundings: This stresses the necessity to instil values in order to make a pro-environmental concern. Therefore develops behaviour which generate responsibility towards ecological living.

Education through the environment: This calls for the surroundings as a learning medium. The surroundings can enhance real life situations as a basis for inquiry learning. (Section of Education and Technology, 1981; Gayford, 1987)

"Since environmental education is an activity, it cannot alone increase the environment, such as by boosting local air or normal water quality. Instead, environmental education provides the capacity and skills as time passes to investigate environmental issues, take part in problem resolving, and do something to preserve and enhance the environment. Because of this, individuals are more capable of weighing various factors of an environmental concern to make prepared and liable decisions. Environmental education does not advocate a particular viewpoint or plan of action. Somewhat, environmental education demonstrates to individuals how to ponder various sides of a concern through critical thinking and it improves their own problem-solving and decision-making skills. "

(U. S. Environmental Safety Firm, 2009, p. 2)

Goals and Aims of Environmental Education

The main goal of environmental education is to empower citizens to allow them to lead to change of their societies. With the help of creative imagination and co-operation, learning can be more effective towards ensuring that all kinds are in equilibrium with the environment.

According to Harvey & Burrows (1992) empowerment can be brought about by;

Evaluation: Not only students but the community can help promote their views on the composition and the execution of the curriculum within the area of review.

Control: Being able to help students become dynamic in their own learning and concerning them in decision making will empower students to attain their goals whilst making the training process productive.

Critical considering: This calls for assisting our students to be makers of knowledge alternatively than absorbing and regurgitating it. They need to question founded norms so as to reach new levels in their considering patterns.

Boersma (1988) stated that the acquisition of knowledge, insight, awareness, skills, attitudes, worth and the changes in habits of behaviour are the key aspects in achieving a holistic method of environmental education

Through education you can increase public understanding and knowledge about present environmental issues or problems. This will provide the public with the necessary skills to make enlightened decisions and take in charge action. Environmental education will hence foster:

Knowledge: Society will be aware of its environment, the issues related to it and humanity's responsibility. This knowledge is important in order to come up with "reasoned but quick decision making" (Stevensons, 1993)

Awareness: As Bossanyi (1977) areas, becoming alert to the serious environmental problems is the first rung on the ladder towards action. This can in turn cause the necessary pressures for change to occur.

Skills: To be able to work effectively, individuals and sociable groups need to acquire the skills had a need to act towards the surroundings in conditions of the ecological, politics, economic, social, aesthetic and educational factors. For this to operate effectively, mutual value between all people of society is required, while trying to eliminate any practices which could harm the environment (Withrington, 1977).

Attitudes: Active participation in protecting the surroundings can only be caused if individuals have strong beliefs and concern and enough inspiration to act towards protecting the environment (UNESCO, 1980),

Participation: To be able to wish to act and be responsible in fixing environmental problems for a far more ecological future.

Converting Environmental Education to Education for Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development was created by the statement of the World Percentage on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987, Our Common Future. It was then boosted in 1992 by the World Seminar on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, and was the primary focus at the entire world Summit on Sustainable Development at Johannesburg in 2002.

The US, declared 2005-2014 as the Ten years for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). It also raised the difference between ESD and Environmental Education (EE). While EE "is a well-established willpower, which focuses on humankind's marriage with the natural environment and on ways to save and protect it and properly steward its resources", ESD "encompasses environmental education but places it in the broader framework of socio-cultural factors and the socio-political issues of equity, poverty, democracy and quality of life". US (as cited by Venkataraman, 2009).

As an outcome Section 36 of Agenda 21 proposes the:

Reorientation of education towards sustainable development:

Both formal and non-formal education need to be within order to effectively disseminate knowledge about sustainable development. Only in this manner can the world change its behavior towards "achieving environmental and ethical awareness, worth and behaviour, skills and behaviour consistent with lasting development" REFERENCE?

Increase initiatives towards public consciousness:

Many countries still lack the resources to effectively inform population about the "interrelated characteristics of all human activities and the surroundings" (Agenda 21). It is only through increasing general population consciousness and personal responsibility for environmental problems that commitment towards sustainable development can be achieved.

Promotion of training: The only path where the above mentioned points can be implemented is through the harvesting of skills in ecological development. Trained in these areas would target "at filling gaps in knowledge and skill that would help individuals find work and be involved in environmental and development work" (Agenda 21). Because of this, such initiatives will lead to more consciousness.

The move towards education for sustainable development was reinforced by the Department of Education and Training in New South Wales (2001), stating that:

There should be equilibrium between all Earth's natural systems. This can be as a result of educating societies to have foresight in protecting Earth's natural resources towards future years.

In accordance to this statement, the Division of Education developed an insurance plan "predicated on the ideas of ecologically ecological development". This plan can be followed into our educational system with a view to motivating and empowering students in leading a ecological life through complete understanding, positive behaviour and active contribution. This might ensure a better quality of life for future years.

According to this policy students will develop:

Knowledge and understandings about:

the mother nature and function of ecosystems and exactly how they can be inter-related

the impact of people on environments

the role of the community, politics and market forces in environmental decision-making

the concepts of ecologically ecological development and career opportunities from the environment

Skills in:

applying technical competence within an environmental context

identifying and evaluating environmental problems

communicating environmental problems to others

resolving environmental problems

adopting behaviours and methods that protect the environment

evaluating the success of their actions

Values and behaviour relating to:

a respect forever on Earth

an appreciation of the cultural history and a committed action to act for the environment by supporting long term answers to environmental problems

The Concept of Sustainable Development

Whilst the idea of sustainable development is constantly changing, its main aspects include reference to world, environment and current economic climate with culture as the common denominator.

Society: understanding how to appreciate the development of organizations within the contemporary society.

Environment: understanding the physical environment all around us, including knowledge about its resources and the potential damage brought on through use and misuse or resources.

Economy: economic development needs to be performed through awareness of its results on world and the environment, in order to regulate intake and achieve the equitable sharing of resources.

Education for Lasting Development should be included within the complete curriculum and can't be tackled as a separate subject. The issues covered in schools will include local good examples and encourage critical thinking and problem resolving techniques.

Education for Sustainable Development programs' success is achieved through the coalition of the many educational establishments within the city together with the non-formal industries. (UNESCO Associated Schools Good Methods in Education for Sustainable Development, 2009)

Obstacles and Challenges

Serious problems such as extreme inequalities among different individual races and groupings, vicious conflicts, loss of biological and ethnic diversity, pollution and environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources have led to a state of "planetary emergency". Driven by a give attention to short-term benefits, individuals and society in general are definitely not considering consequences that will impact future generations (Educators for Sustainability, 2004).

Societies tend to be alienated of such a situation and so teachers have to come up with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges currently being faced.

In order to do this, a advertising campaign, Education for Sustainable Development: A Necessary Commitment, was proposed by Educators for Sustainability to be able to incorporate the study of the status of the world's environment into educational activities stimulating:

the use of environmental resources following three R's; Lowering, Re-using and Recycling

progress of systems to better satisfy human needs without the detriment to the environment

the execution of options on both local and international scales to deter private pursuits that might damage future generations.

solidarity and global coverage of biological and cultural variety as essential requirements for a real solution to the problems mankind is facing.

Unfortunately changing the world's mentality is difficult and requires time and resources. Among the major hurdles in simple truth is that the communities often feel helpless. It is because even though almost all of the people know about the gravity and degradation of the situation, they find it difficult to offer with it because of the "complexity and global level of the problems" Guide?.

Another concern is surely pessimism. This results mainly from a "diluted responsibility within the mass" and the indecisiveness to do something (UNESCO 2005).

Communities' numbness to commit themselves arises from various factors;

Daily life concerns

Lack of your time and information

Lack of motivation and refusal to integrate systems.

Alternative behaviours are difficult to embrace credited to society's very own insufficient alternatives and the overall public's reliance on consumer products. Further troubles arise because of the perceived lack of benefits due to such change (A UNESCO, 2005)

In a workshop report issued by UNESCO in 2006, it was evidently stated that the traditional educational structure acts as another obstacle to Education for Sustainable Development. This is due to sustainable development being a wide-ranging concept provided with a rigid method of knowledge transmission.

For this reason, Wals and Corcoran state that one cannot just amalgamate ecological development with the present education frameworks. However, this technique requires "a total transformation of the educational system" ( as quoted by Venkataraman 2009, p. ??)

Exploring the Links between the Expressive Arts and Environmental Education

Introduction

Jensen preserves that research on the arts, learning, and the mind demonstrates that the arts deserve a place in public education equal to the other disciplines. Jensen compares the arts with what he considers major disciplines or essential curriculum areas that should be analyzed every day. He structures his assessment within seven basic features of major disciplines, which he says:

can be measured against success criteria

are associated with specific elements of the brain

are good for the cultural development

do not bring any risks

involve culture at large

are essential for survival

are comprehensive

Educators need to look at education as a alternative process. It is ideal that we move away from a content-based type methodology and move towards a student-based procedure. In so doing so we will tailor our teaching to suit every single pupil. Verlee-Williams (as cited by Billard, 2007) claims that, it is at night time where teachers confront their students with "a great mass of information".

Instead they should make the students alert to how to obtain the information and finally use it. They should also help the students hook up the newly obtained knowledge with previous knowledge and link it with their own lives.

In order to accomplish all the above teachers need to integrate the arts in the school system. In doing so they will be offering the opportunity to students to process and get good at their own learning.

Pedagogy: The 'Banking' Concept of Education vs the Constructivist View

In his publication Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paolo Freire (1921) mentions the banking concept of education, where teachers "deposit" the information and the students will absorb this information without handling or analysing it. This concept of education emphasises on creating passive people who are able to adapt very easily. Unfortunately this pedagogy is still in use inside our classes today.

Both parents and professors create strategies that each child must follow, which as a result

"inhibit the creative capabilities and produce individuals who tend to expand up with too little assurance in their thinking and thought operations, be uncertain of self-concepts and become dependant on others in making decisions. Such children may also fail to develop realistic self-concepts because they were never given 'safe' situations where they would have the likelihood to practise and express themselves without evaluation or scrutiny"

(Mallia, 2002 p. 8)

Egan (1990) criticizes this method of educating and compares schools that adopt this concept to "factories in which the organic products (children) are to be shaped and created into products to meet the various requirements of life" (site??).

Freire's ideal system of education is dependant on active learning. A long time before Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, John Dewey (1959) who's considered the founder of 'intensifying' education and constructivist educational theory, abolished pedagogies that offered the students as pots and instead prompted the students' active interaction with each other and with the world around them.

Dewey also stated that whenever learning proceeds within significant contexts, it'll aid students to use new knowledge to pre-conceived knowledge (Billard, 2009). The role of instructors should be considered a challenging one, where they present problems with their students and the latter have to respond using their creativity to sketching their own conclusions.

The Importance of Integrating the Expressive Arts in the School System

"It really is presumed that the provision of opportunities to web page link art-making to individuals' sense of place and experience is significant in boosting environmental and imaginative understanding. Such explorations can help individuals to build up a larger sense of community, and provide means to become familiar with the world, to appreciate its richness, to see themselves within it also to validate their experience in it.

(Savva et al. 2004, p. 247)

Helping both teachers and students in becoming alert to their local and global heritage through expressive arts will aid in their understanding of the world around them. Reflective thought can be increased through art-based study. This can induce environmental recognition which eventually will lead to better knowledge of environmental issues. For professors to help children feel closer to the environment they reside in, deepen their understanding of the environment and become more creative they can use artistic activities from the environment.

"Visual arts, used as a way of recording and analysing the experience of a place may challenge psychological replies and provoke an unlimitied exploration of space".

(Savva, 2004, p. 2)

Jensen (2002) views learning through the arts as a way of 'growing thinking' that may eventually lead to long-term knowledge. Corresponding to Billard (2009) Jensen states that the arts enhance learning because the organized integration of the arts evolves sensory, cognitive, psychological and motor capabilities that are all necessary in the training process.

Another reason that makes the arts important as an instrument in our coaching is that they appeal to all multiple intelligences. Armstrong (as cited in Billard, 2007) expresses that educators must expand "beyond the text and the blackboard to awaken students' thoughts". The more teachers get to know their students, a lot more they can cater for their needs. Integrating the expressive arts in the institution system will reach all the various intelligences through manipulating methods to scholar learning.

"The arts reach students who normally disengage from the traditional setting. Integration of the arts allows students to find, find their own level, and almost all of all experience real world learning"

(Billard, 2008 p. 1 )

Teaching through the Arts

Dewey (1959) and Greene (1991) assert that the arts have long been recognized to deeply connect people with ideas and feelings. Unfortunately up until this day the arts are slowly and gradually being released in secondary institutions, nonetheless they are separated from the primary subjects. Research demonstrates arts are an extremely useful tool to teach core curriculum themes such as knowledge.

According to Jacobs, Goldberg and Bennett (1999), infusing the arts in the school curriculum has lots of advantages:

Teaching through the arts leads students to see art rather than talking about it only.

The arts themselves are considered to be always a vocabulary. However, to the in contrast of other languages, they conquer written and verbal obstacles among students (Gallas, 1994 and Goldberg, 1997).

The arts help students to develop creative thinking skills, enhance their self-esteem, increase their willingness to take chances and develop group skills (Gallas, 1994 and Goldberg, 1997)

"Creativity plays a significant role in the internal functioning of a person in such areas as mental health, coping mechanisms, educational achievement, vocational success and in the contribution of the individual to society. A person's creativity can be viewed as one of the main weapons in dealing with life especially in times of emergencies and crises"

(Mallia, 2002 p. 8)

I assume that creativity is a simple tool in education; it must be at the heart of our educational idea and pedagogy. Because of this, the expressive arts have earned a central role within the educational system. The self-discipline, creativity and feeling of empowerment that students gain when engaging in the expressive arts is tremendous and, in my opinion, it is as important as the understanding of every other subject matter in the curriculum. The individual is encouraged to create and produce his/her own ideas without being limited with any rules and regulations.

Exercising these expressive arts in education engages the students further and makes the learning process enjoyable. A all natural approach to education is needed to be able to appreciate the necessity of utilizing arts in education totally.

The Idea's Conception and its own Aims

At an extremely young age, I got engaged in one of all these expressive arts - Dance. I used to think that dance means participating classes, passing tests, performing in front of an audience and perfecting my technique. WHEN I grew more mature and party became my passion, I shown on what boogie really provides me. It grants me a sense that I cannot really express, it alienates me from the everyday routine and problems. Dance if you ask me is also a medium by which I share my emotions without having to be judged or corrected. It's the expression of heart and soul through lines of your body and pure activity.

Till this present day, dance provides me loads of feelings and since I consider it an important part in my own life, I wanted to share such experience with others. This is the reason why I aspired to own not only party but all the expressive arts as the primary focus of this dissertation. I sensed the necessity to research expressive arts and education, endeavouring to get away from the content-based strategy and give attention to a more student-focused methodology.

Through integrating the arts in the school room, the students get the chance to involve themselves more in the teaching and learning process. It is time to move away from the traditional approach to overloading the students with content; instead teachers should help students make associations with past knowledge and associate it with their own lives.

As a result, with the aid of the expressive arts I want to draw out the opportunities these arts supply the students to process and own what they have discovered.

Embarking on this project will help students to:

develop creative and team work skills

be actively involved with their own learning and become part of decision-making processes

believe that they can be makers of knowledge not only absorbers

appreciate the difference in the end results if determination is present

learn how to control time effectively

persevere in order to beat difficulties

recognize the great things about reflective writing

realize that learning is fun

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