Importance Of Environmental Education For Sustainability

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Environmental education for sustainability (EfS) has a central purpose of developing students’ habits and actions, in a sustainable way. EfS encompasses many values, visions, principles, key competencies and the essential nature of learning areas in the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) from its core components. The components of environmental EfS are important to achieving the goals of environmental education in the curriculum (Tilbury, 1995).

Relevance is the prominent component of environmental EfS (Tilbury, 1995). It is to do with making a link between the student’s everyday lives to their learning in school. A student will be more engaged with the learning content when they can understand the relevant connections between theoretical material and the present local and global issues surrounding them (Tilbury, 1995). The relevance component directly links to the NZC’s principle of community engagement as it incorporates the learners wider lives by bringing positive attitudes towards improving societies environmental issues which they can pass on to their family and community (Ministry of Education, 2007). There is an important place in the curriculum for EfS because many citizens such as students feel a concern about environmental issues and through community engagement they can be exposed to a variety of these issues in their local area (Tilbury, 1995). Including local and global contemporary issues in teaching can intrinsically motivate and develop student knowledge and custom towards sustainability (Nolet, 2009). Individuals will have some knowledge of an issue occurring in their community, country or planet, therefore the content needs to be relatable to students so that they are able to have to knowledge to influence ...

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... human interference (Tilbury, 1995). This EfS component links to Continuity and Change in the Social Sciences learning area in the NZC as learners can identify the change in the gap between the present and the past (Ministry of Education, 2007). Due to the changing ways from the past to present, learner’s can imagine a preferable future as they understand past experiences and events have influenced society today (Ministry of Education, 2007). A future perspective is important to improving the quality of sustainability as individuals are able to envision a better future. This can motivate and alter learner’s choices and values so their imagined future can become a reality. Teaching EfS through continuity and change provides students to critically reflect on their decisions and highlights the obstacles society needs to face before a desired future can become reality.
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