Reasons and Resources for Teaching Environmental Education

Environmental awareness is becoming more and more important in these times of obvious climate change and expanded global economic growth. In this day and age, being environmentally aware means, having sufficient knowledge about how the small seemingly insignificant actions on the part of one or many, can lead to major environmental issues, such as: climate change, habitat destruction, species extinction, soil erosion, resource depletion, overgrazing, desertification, pollution, and contamination.

It seems that with all the potential that a single person or company has to impact or affect the environment these days, that environmental awareness would be a higher priority in the eye of the public than we now experience it to be. Regardless of how society has perceived the environment in the past, it is important now, to ensure that every single individual has the chance to be educated on the various ways in which their daily choices and actions can influence the environment, and thus the world.

So what is environmental education? Well, to begin, it is ultimately a learning process that heightens a person’s knowledge and awareness about the environment, including all the challenges that exist in relation to it. Environmental education essentially helps to develop the essential awareness, skills, and capabilities of the individual, so that they are better prepared for addressing and dealing with the environmental challenges that currently exist in our world.

This environmental education can be taught to a person or student at any age in their life. Unfortunately, environmental education seems to get most attention from an age group that has already experienced 18 to 21 years of education bereft of learning about the environment, before they learn of their power to affect environmental change. The 18 to 21 yr-olds that I speak of are essentially university level students. I mention this unfortunate likelihood from my personal experiences, as I was midway through my higher education studies before I was exposed to the grand idea, that my every day actions actually have the ability to influence the environment and in essence the world.

The good news is that there are now resources being made available, which allows individuals to get exposed to the ideas at an age that is far younger than the much more mature age of which they were exposed in the past. This is definitely a beneficial opportunity, as students of a much younger age, can now engage in the conversation, of what is important or not important in tackling the challenges that come with being environmentally aware. This is an opportunity that can ultimately lead to more individuals being available to come up with the good ideas, and the much action needed, to positively impact the environment in this day and age.

One specific resource created especially for young students, is called Teaching Hoot. This resource consists of Lesson Plans for Hoot, which teachers can utilize to educate their students, on the importance of environmental awareness and activism, as it is a primary theme in Carl Hiaasen’s book, Hoot. This resource is highly recommended for all teachers interested in exposing their students to environmental awareness and for informing them early on in their life, of their individual responsibility to be good stewards of our planet.

Of course, there are many other resources available out on the net that many teachers can tap into to teach their students environmental education. The most important thing to remember; however, is that we can and should begin to educate our society early, on ways that they can manage their behavior and ecosystems. Why do we want to do this? Simply put, it is so that they and we can all live in a more sustainable world now and in the future.

Common Educational Philosophies, an Overview For HomeSchoolers – Part 1

When I started homeschooling over twelve years ago, I was so wet-behind-the-ears when it came to any formal understanding of the whole teaching process that I was not even aware that there were common educational philosophies carving the end results of what was being delivered by teachers and instructors. About a year or so into the homeschool journey, I overcame my ignorance by reading summaries, definitions, and outlines of four common educational philosophies influencing education – Perennialism, Progressivism, Existentialism, and Essentialism. The most common homeschool teaching methods (or styles) include components of these four common educational philosophies, or “thought-processes”.

Hooby dooby what-y? Yes, exactly. I said the same thing. Then, I dug a little deeper for clarity. I’ll break it down in simple layman’s terms, so all of us novices can chew, digest, and understand.

First, a simple summation of “What is an educational philosophy” is this – Educational philosophies represent the underlying thought processes or theories about what encompasses an education. It also addresses what concepts, ideas, facts, etc. that the teaching materials should cover within the course of study. Ask yourself this – What defines a good education? What defines a quality education? An educational philosophy would address these questions by giving definition to what constitutes a good education.

Let’s start with Essentialism. This philosophy, in a nutshell, would assume that there is a certain list of knowledge characteristics to be mastered in order for the student to be considered educated. Perhaps a standard list of subjects, concepts, or drills to learn and master would be mandated. This philosophy has emphasis on the “essential” things to be learned, or the “basics”. Some would phrase this philosophy as “back to the basics” or “traditional”. Essentialism concentrates on the “information” and is focused on subjects. Someone that teaches with this thought process might tell his students that the key to a successful education is proper or sufficient “information”.

Essentialism and many other educational philosophies are relevant in today’s homeschool curriculum. This brief overview should serve only as a springboard to getting familiar with common educational philosophies as there are several others to be introduced before having a “general” understanding. Please continue with Part 2 of this overview for completion.

Career Education Institutes

Career education essentially means vocational education that develops basic skills required to execute jobs in technical fields. There are many career education institutes that guide students who are looking for the right opportunities to enhance their careers.

Individuals exploring different fields of work, changing professions, or simply looking for a career description are briefed about different vocational careers. The counselors or qualified specialists at career education institutes inform potential students about various colleges and institutions imparting vocational courses that can prepare them for fruitful careers. They also enlighten students about financial aid programs from various sources and summer job programs – both locally and nationally.

Career education resources that offer an extensive assortment of circulating books, pamphlets, audiovisuals, electronic databases, software and periodicals. They assist students in dealing with job search strategies, resume and letter writing, making the right career choices, employment and academic test preparation. They conduct pre-employment tests to determine the skill and personality of the candidates to analyze whether they are fit for a particular job.

Career education institutes also provide assistance to people who are unhappy with their career or job choice. An assessment is done using a series of questions. Answers to the questions are evaluated and students are giving the appropriate advice to help them take effective steps in planning for a job or career change.

There are websites of vocational centers that provide details on career exploration, career and education, work opportunities, trade and technical schools and career related reference resources. People can register and seek necessary guidance from professionals. The sites also provide information on several career descriptions. They also give information on educational sites relating to a particular career such as tutorials, directories, industry news, glossaries and associated academics. Career education institutes have proved to be a boon for people on the look out for suitable jobs.