A proposed method for inspiring action:
Conservation and environmental stewardship are important topics to bring up in traditional science classes. Many of you are already taking steps to make students aware of environmental concerns. This is really exciting to me. I hope I can add a little to help foster this and help you move your students from knowledge to action.
A knowledge focused approach to stewardship education, that stresses the daunting and huge negative impacts humans have had on the environment, can sometimes overwhelm students and lead to a feeling of helplessness and ultimately inaction (Strife, 2012). This is not to say that we should avoid shedding light on the impact humans have, but it must be countered with tangible, age-appropriate, and realistic action steps (Lertzman, 2008). The focus should be on fostering an appreciation for nature while modeling pro-environmental behaviors and providing opportunities for practice (Sobel, 2007).
The call to action is the most important step for instilling change and value that will last well beyond your class. We practice other skills we need them to retain, environmental stewardship should not be any different. It is important to note however, that your call to action should be appropriate for the age group and prior experience with action steps. Before you call them to act, try and get a feel for what they have done in the past and what they are comfortable with. Push them out of their comfort zone but not so far that they get overwhelmed and turned off.
I encourage you to examine any projects you already do and assess if all four steps above are achieved. Here is a sample lesson and action ideas on Altering Habitats that you could use in your classroom right away, please check it out and let me know what you think!
Thank you for visiting, and reading, please comment below and share:
- In what ways are you already teaching environmental stewardship (I will share your ideas here so we can create a reference page for teachers)?
- Are there ways you could incorporate the four part strategy mentioned in the post to point your students towards being lifelong stewards?
- Are there any topics you would like ideas for implementing in your curriculum?