Environmental Literacy And Environmental Education Essay

Environmental Literacy And Environmental Education Essay

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Environmental literacy, in my mind, is closely related to being prepared for the world. These skills extend beyond understanding the basics of the life systems of our planet; environmental literacy prepares students to bridge the gap between understanding issues and taking actions to solve and improve problems. Middle schoolers have strong questioning skills--questioning me and my teaching initiatives, questioning their parents or guardians, questioning expectations and questioning their friends. I observe that these questioning skills dissipate when I ask students to question things about what they see outside or what they think about different scientific issues. Inquiry and questioning is a sign of environmental literacy (Kennedy and Stromme, 2008). Pushing students to take the next step to process and analyze is a significant leap for students.

Environmental Education is such a large umbrella for many experiences and adventures. In my classroom, environmental education takes the appearance of:
Learning about the natural and social systems of the planet (examples: natural cycles and human roles within those cycles)
Learning about how these systems work together, impact each other and interact with other systems
Taking students outdoors to make observations and learn about different parts of natural and social systems
Using observations and experiences to infer and predict outcomes or solutions
Utilizing inquiry-based investigations in many learning settings (outside and inside)
Solving authentic problems with an engineering and environmental focus

I believe that environmental education needs to be the focus of my classroom because it’s the center of some of my most successful and engaging teaching experiences. When I think b...

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...act future environmental education. The Every student Succeeds Act was passed in December 2015 (Every Student Succeeds Act, n.d). This education act replaced No Child Left Behind and makes many new changes to environmental education actions. This legislative initiative provides some grant programs for environmental education programming and even some environmental literacy programs have increased opportunities to receive funds (A Win for Environmental Education, 2015). Another section of ESSA is that there are opportunities for STEM programs to become integrated with environmental education and environmental science programs. This could drastically impact how STEM schools work to include different teaching methods and experiences that relate to the varied contents taught. I look forward to seeing how these new plans impact formal classroom teachers across the nation!

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