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ERIC Number: EJ764229
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 57
ISSN: ISSN-1350-4622
Schooling and Environmental Education: Contradictions in Purpose and Practice
Stevenson, Robert B.
Environmental Education Research, v13 n2 p139-153 Apr 2007
A number of authors have observed a pronounced discrepancy between the problem-solving and action-oriented goals associated with the contemporary philosophy of environmental education and an emphasis on the acquisition of environmental knowledge and awareness in school programs. Content analyses have revealed that curriculum materials commonly used for environmental education in Australia and the United States of America deviate from the rhetoric in a similar way. In this article, the author argues that this rhetoric-reality gap is to be expected given the traditional purpose and structure of schooling. A discussion of its historical development sets the contemporary concept of environmental education in the context of the political activism of the environmental movement. The socially critical and political action goals of environmental education are contrasted, first, with nature study and conservation education, and then with the uncritical role of schooling in maintaining the present social order. The need for students to engage in ideological and critical inquiry is indicated by an examination of the different ideologies which underlie proposals for environmental reform. According to Stevenson, such educational ideals, however, conflict with the dominant practices in schools, which emphasise the passive assimilation and reproduction of simplistic factual knowledge and an unproblematic "truth". These practices are then explained by examining the structural organisation of schools, the primacy of demands on teachers to maintain order and control, and teachers' presuppositions about knowledge and teaching. (Contains 2 notes.) [This article is reprinted from I. Robottom (Ed.) (1987) "Environmental Education: Practice and Possibility" (Geelong, Victoria, Deakin University Press.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia