Environmental Education: Interdisciplinarity in Action

By Emily McMillan and Liette Vasseur.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The education system is a significant and essential part of developing in our children a connection with and feeling of responsibility for nature. The disciplinary structure of our school system may give the impression to students that different environmental problems are not connected; whereas, effective environmental education is interdisciplinary, addressing social, historical, political, and aesthetic aspects, not simply focusing on natural science. Environmental education can build motivation to learn by increasing relevance, integration of topics, and allowing decision making to be in the hands of the students. This style of teaching can eventually lead to feelings of responsibility toward the Earth and feelings of competence to take action on sustainability. If more environmental education programs can shift toward contexts that are integrated, inquiry driven and student centered, we may see an increased sense of belonging and self esteem, as well as benefits to ecological literacy and; therefore, benefits to society at large.

Keywords: Environmental Education, Interdisciplinarity, Connection to Nature

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.435-446. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.369KB).

Emily McMillan

PhD Student, Human Studies, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Emily McMillan is working toward a PhD in the interdisciplinary Human Studies program at Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada. Her research is striving for a better understanding of the manner in which forms of schooling shape a conscious critical and reflective attitude towards the environment. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University. Her extensive background in non-profit environmental organizing has led to an interest in environmental values and links with attitudes and behaviour, educational reform and public perception of environmental issues.

Dr. Liette Vasseur

Full professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Vasseur is a Professor at Brock University. Her research focuses on climate change, sustainable development, and community-based ecosystem/conservation management (including ecological restoration and biodiversity assessment). Projects have been or are carried out in Canada or other countries such as China (where she is an adjunct professor at the Fuijian University of Forestry and Agriculture) and Burkina Faso, in Africa. She has extensively published in various sectors related to these topics (including lead author of the Atlantic chapter of national climate change assessment). Funding is coming from various sources (e.g. NSERC, CIDA, Parks Canada, etc.). She is involved in many scholarly and professional activities related to environmental issues (e.g. CEM of IUCN, Science Advisory Council of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans). In Sudbury, she was also member of organizations such as the Nickel District Conservation Authority. She is one of the Associate Editors of Botany.

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