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Infusing Environmental Education in the School Curriculum Rosanne W. Fortner Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University Director, COSEE Great Lakes Goals for School Science (NSES, 1996) to educate students who are able to

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infusing environmental education in the school curriculum

Infusing Environmental Education in the School Curriculum

Rosanne W. Fortner

Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Director, COSEE Great Lakes

goals for school science nses 1996
Goals for School Science(NSES, 1996)

to educate students who are able to

  • experience the richness and excitement of knowing about and understanding the natural world;
  • use appropriate scientific processes and principles in making personal decisions;
  • engage intelligently in public discourse and debate about matters of scientific and technological concern; and
  • increase their economic productivity through the use of the knowledge, understanding, and skills of the scientifically literate person in their careers.
two schools of thought
Two schools of thought:
  • Environment-based education
    • Uses the environment as subject matter while focusing on academic improvements
    • Results can be seen in testing programs
  • Environmental Literacy programs
    • Focus on attitude and behavior outcomes
    • Results harder to measure, longer to achieve
the ideal courses for all students all levels
The ideal: Courses for all students, all levels
  • Reading, writing, mathematics, arts, science, social studies, environment!
  • Requires philosophical, curricular, and financial commitment
  • Requires teacher education, preservice and inservice
    • For systems-based subject matter
    • For effective use of outdoor sites/centers
    • For portraying nature’s personal & social relevance
slide6
The next best option:

Infusion

+

experiences in nature

rationale
Rationale :

Tools of the trade for academic subjects

evidence of effectiveness
Evidence of effectiveness

Confirmed impacts on science learning through integrated learning in US:

  • KY: EIC* students increased state test scores 10%
  • IL: Demonstrated higher analytical skills
  • WA: paired schools -- higher math, reading, writing, science skills with EIC
  • MN “Zoo School” students: higher ACT scores than peers in state and nation

*EIC= Environment as an Integrating Context

preventing nature deficit disorder
Preventing Nature-Deficit Disorder

Richard Louv, 2005

“staggering divide between children and the outdoors”

Connection to problems:

obesity

ADHD

depression

what we can do about it
What we can do about it

A child said What is in the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;

How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.

--Walt Whitman

Learning, or re-learning, to connect with the real world we live in, the Earth…

integrated subjects out of classroom study success
Integrated subjects + out-of-classroom study = SUCCESS
  • Inquiry based on interactions of Earth systems -- water, land, air, life
  • Relationship of environment to people
  • Relevance through place-based study
    • Not a mainland textbook
    • Not an outdated environmental issue
    • Not “their” story but OURS
ee must be delivered in a way that
EE must be delivered in a way that
  • Achieves adequate depth
  • Forms a long-term basis for environmental literacy
  • Is compatible with other curriculum benchmarks
  • Progresses year-to-year

”Scope and sequence”

research needs
Research needs
  • Baseline studies
  • Case studies, models
  • Relationship to testing
  • Curriculum infusion points
  • Teacher preparedness, priorities
  • Pilot studies
  • Pre-post assessment