Coordinating environmental education in New Zealand : applying the concept of integrated environmental management to environmental education in secondary schools
Environmental education (EE) has been growing as a field of study since the 1960s. EE includes interdisciplinary subject matter and learning approaches based on the environment as a context. Environmental issues are used as an integrating concept between traditional disciplines. EE has been identified as part of a comprehensive environmental policy, and has been described as a vital part of our society's progress towards sustainability. The New Zealand Government released Learning to Care for Our Environment, a national strategy for EE, in 1998. Definitions, objectives and priorities for EE were established for New Zealand. One of the priorities in this document was to encourage the integration and coordination of environmental education activities. While there is support for EE on a national level, due to the Tomorrow's Schools reforms of the last 10 years, schools in New Zealand are partially autonomous, and have control of their syllabi within guideline set by the Ministry of Education. For this reason, schools need to implement changes themselves to improve their EE programmes. Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) is an interdisciplinary research and management approach that takes an ecosystems approach to environmental issues. Applying IEM to a system results in the selection of strategic "pressure points" that are open to manipulation and can produce a chain of significant effects. An IEM approach was applied to the concept of coordination as way of improving EE in schools. Secondary schools were chosen as they are the last part of the compulsory education framework, and EE objectives must be partially achieved before students leave school. The IEM approach revealed a number of key issues and pressure points related to improving EE through coordination. A strategy was designed to address these pressure points. The following preliminary strategy is designed for implementation by secondary schools with limited availability of resources within the school. Coordination Strategy for Environmental Education 1. Establish a Cross-Curricular Committee 2. Compile a Register of Available Resources 3. Designation of an Environmental Coordinator 4. Active investigation of communication links 5. Write a School Environmental Policy 6. Action on an Environmental Issue 7. Locate or Create a Broker to Mediate a Dynamic Network 8. Mobilise Network for Lobbying... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsenvironmental education; environmental policy; Integrated Environmental Management (IEM); secondary schools; curriculum
Fields of Research050203 Environmental Education and Extension
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