Issue 112 / July - August 2016
Environment and Values Education
My grandmother did not waste anything; she always repaired our clothes not to waste any of them. My mother follows in her motherâ€™s path; she washes plastic bags and uses them again and again until they are no more reusable. I do not remember if my grandmother was literate. My mother is literate, but only graduated from primary school.
Both of these ladies were ecologically conscientious, even though they never received an education about the environment. Despite this, I would have thought that by now, decades later, there would be more of a focus on environmental education (EE) in schools. And though a search on Google Scholar shows a lot of research about EE, it doesnâ€™t show a ton of applications of EE in contemporary schools.
EE perspectives are present in many ideologies, such as ecopedagogy, egocentrism, anthropocentrism, autopoiesis intrinsic value theory, ecofeminism, green socialism, eco-Marxism, etcetera (Lummis, 2002). And yet I am interested in EE programs, and there are shockingly few of them.
Value education is based on cognitive and affective development. The main aim of education, according to value education, is to create a â€śgood citizenâ€ť for a â€śgood societyâ€ť (Lickona, 1999; Rest, 1974). The most important side of these education programs is to develop self-awareness, helping people to become aware of the larger world (Kollmuss and Agyeman, 2002, p.257; Rest, 1974, p.461).
Awareness is directly related to ego development, and to thinking critically. Experimental programs are needed, and a personâ€™s cognitive structure needs to interact with the environment to develop their ego. The main subject here is being â€śinteractionistâ€ťÂ (Rest, 1974). I would like to define this term, environmentally, as â€śto have an interaction with the natural environment and to have individual outputs.â€ť I understand that in terms of EE, value education should trigger environmental awareness.
There are experimental studies ongoing in the hopes of achieving environmental awareness. Unfortunately, none of these studies mention value education. This is a shame, as the typical properties of value education (Rest, 1974) and EE overlap: to develop responsibility and awareness, cooperative learning, to think critically, and to develop behavioural changes in the long-term.
Value education should be an important part of EE because educational philosophy plays a critical role in shaping teaching programs. Teachers and administrators should first think about the philosophical roots of their aims. Rest (1974) says that value education is based on the thoughts of Plato, Hegel, Dewey, and Piaget; in other words, â€śprogressivistâ€ť approaches. Pierre Walter (2009) also mentions the progressivist origins of EE.
We should not forget that we first encounter value education in our families. Value education and EE may also be evaluated in terms of education children learn from watching adults/parents. A lot of research highlights the importance of parental education (Kasapoglu and Turan, 2008; Gokdere, 2005).
Unfortunately, current research shows there is a gap between theory and practice in EE (Bolstad and Baker, 2004; Elliott, 1999; Hart and Nolan, 1999; Mansaray, Ajiboye and Audu, 1998). This gap may close with the use of value education, but there is significant overlap between the two disciplines. Using one to develop the other is a method that has not yet been tried, but could lead to future improvements in both disciplines.
Gokdere, M. (2005). â€śA Study On Environmental Knowledge Level Of Primary Students In Turkeyâ€ť. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 6, Issue 2.
Hart, P. & Nolan, K. (1999). â€śA Critical Analysis Of Research In Environmental Educationâ€ť. Studies in Science Education, Volume 34â€™ Issue 1, p. 1-69.
Kasapoglu, A., & Turan, F. (2008). â€śAttitude Behaviour Relationship In Environmental Education: A Case Study From Turkeyâ€ť. International Journal of Environmental Studies, Volume 65, Issue 2, p. 219-231.
Kollmuss, A., & Agyeman, J. (2002). â€śMind The Gap: Why Do People Act Environmentally And What Are The Barriers To Pro-Environmental Behaviour?â€ť. Environmental Education Research, Volume 8, Issue 3, p. 239-260.
Lickona, T. (1999). â€śCharacter education: The cultivation of virtueâ€ť. In Charles M. Reigeluth (Ed.), â€śInstructional design theories and models (Volume II)â€ť. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey.
Lummis, G. (2002). â€śGlobalisation: Building A Partnership Ethic For A Ecopedagogy In Western Australiaâ€ť.Â Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 27, Issue 1, Article 2, 1-1.
Rest, J. (1974). â€śDevelopmental Psychology As A Guide To Value Education: A Review Of "Kohlbergian" Programsâ€ť. Review of Educational Research, Volume 44, Issue 2 (Spring, 1974), p. 241-259.
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