My personal perspective on what environmental education means to me as a future teacher, and how I will implement it in my classrooms, is constantly being challenged and is always in a state of change. However, when it comes to the environment, I believe it is crucial that environment educational views do change, for our world is never in an unchanging state. As humans grow and adapt, so does nature. Environmental issues that affected humans 50 years ago are much different from the issues we face today. In reality, everyone’s perspectives should be changing, and teachers should be finding ways to bring these new perspectives into the everyday learning of their students.
Throughout my experiences over the semester, I have come to understand why the topic of environmental education should not have to be limited to the physical outside environment. Evidently one of the best ways to experience and grow a strong connection with nature is to be outside appreciating the wonders of the outdoors, as Gelter (2000) proves when he states, “Sensing myself as part of the [current] landscape I experience the processes and evolution of this place unfolding itself inside my consciousness. I get a strong feeling of knowing the ways of things around me” (p.78). However, especially as a teacher, if you only address environmental education outside, then your student learn that this topic is only relevant when in an outdoors settings, which is extremely false. As my group’s lesson plan revealed, there are numerous ways to bring environmental education into every subject student’s deal with on a daily basis. Being able to understand how I can apply environmental knowledge to all areas of my future students learning experiences has really helped me redefine what environmental education means to me, and I feel better equipped and excited to utilize this in classrooms.
I sincerely appreciate and agree with Gelter (2000) when he says, “The overall goal [in environmental education should] be a healthy soul in a healthy body in a healthy society in a healthy world, where respect and responsibility would be the new foundation of human interactions” (p.90).
Gelter, H. (2000). Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Philosophy of Outdoor Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 5(1), 77-90.