Teaching Children About the Environment

Do we teach children about bullying …. and then let them decide whether it’s a good thing or not, whether they want to engage in it or not? Do we ‘allow children to make up their own minds’ about genocide, racism, eugenics?

If we don’t, then I really am quite mystified by the viewpoint expressed in this Harvard Education article suggesting that when educating children about the environment we should steer clear of all judgements about what is good or bad and let the children make up their own minds:

 

Harvard Education Article

 

Of course, if such views are held strongly in the American education system, that might go some way to explain why the country so singularly fails to acknowledge the part it is playing in destroying the environment worldwide and why our own students find their peers in American universities ill-informed, complacent and dangerously dismissive.

This is a shame because, as the article highlights there’s a lot that’s good in the approaches advocated for environment education;

  1. Hands on student-centric learning approaches through which the students discover the answers, rather than simply being told things,
  2. The cross-curricular approaches that fundamentally recognize that knowledge cannot be compartmentalized in to different ‘subjects’ with rigid walls, without fundamentally diminishing the ability of learners to think effectively and to apply their learning in later life (something our own ICSE board and, sadly, many educators are prepared to sacrifice in the pursuit of another 0.1% on the board results for university admissions)
  3. Assignments and projects that exercise skills beyond rote learning and memorizing to incorporate other levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning.
  4. Focusing on a sense that the solutions to environmental issues lie in people’s hands, that we are not all powerless and that we all have a role to play – making it probably the best area of school study to enable children to begin to get a perspective on their place in society.

Environment Education needs more, not less emphasis.

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3 Responses

  1. This is not the ideal place to post this, but did not find another way…thought this would be interesting for parents and educators: the (link below) article by Amy Chua that has created great controversy on ‘Asian Parenting’ :
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html

    • You jumped the gun!! I have a separate post for the blog part written on the ‘Tiger mother’ parenting. Just need some time to finish it, probably after tomorrow morning’s flag hoisting.

      • Oops! 🙂
        I look forward to it, Mr.Parkinson – especially because for the first time I did not feel an immediate ‘aye’ or ‘nay’ as my normal opinionated self does…It rattled me for a bit and I re-read it…I shall add my two pennies worth on the next blog entry then!
        Best,
        Megha

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