- Department: Education
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. Lynda Dunlop
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: I
- Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
We are living at a time of unprecedented environmental crisis. Climate change, pollution, deforestation and degradation of the land are no longer vague threats on the horizon; they already affect the quality of life, worldviews and existential choices of a majority of the Earth’s population. In this interdisciplinary module, we draw on literary, philosophical and scientific approaches to explore the relationship between education and nature, the environment and sustainability, globally as well as locally.
|A||Semester 2 2023-24|
We are living at a time of unprecedented environmental crisis. Climate change, pollution, deforestation and degradation of the land are no longer vague threats on the horizon; they already affect the quality of life, worldviews and existential choices of a majority of the Earth’s population. It is now clear that if crucial changes are not made urgently, humans and many other species will, in the very short term, cease to exist in their current state.
In this context, how can education effect real change? How can it help young people understand fully those questions, and the ways in which they will shape their future? The debate is so heated, and the issues so pressing, that creating the conditions for rational discussion and informed decision-making is a challenge in itself. In this interdisciplinary module, we draw on literary, philosophical and scientific approaches to explore the relationship between education and nature, the environment and sustainability, globally as well as locally.
The module will develop students' conceptual knowledge about nature, the environment and sustainability in relation to contexts and theories of education, both formal and non-formal/informal. Through this, it will also strengthen students' analytic, creative and critical skills. There will also be a focus on praxis, through which students will gain experience and understanding of graduate-level skills in the enactment of theory in educational practice. On this module, students will do philosophy, examine and/or write texts for young adults based around nature and observation and experience scientific approaches to education.
The module will be taught weekly through lectures, practical workshops and independent reading. There will be regular reading tasks with which you will be expected to engage, and you will need to draw on your understanding of texts in class discussion.
By the end of this module students will be able to:
Draw upon and apply a broad, critical understanding of environmental educational theory and the contexts of schooling
Analyse policy with reference to young people, nature, the environment and sustainability and debates at local, national and international levels.
Critically analyse dominant discourses in relation to education in, about and for nature, the environment and sustainability (NES)
Support and/or challenge educational practice and policy based on evidence from scientific, literary and philosophical approaches to NES and develop educational practices in relation to NES.
Identify uncertainties, ambiguities and limits of knowledge about nature, the environment and sustainability, and gain experience of educational practices that bring these to the fore.
Develop well-structured, evidenced arguments and present such arguments in written, oral and digital formats to support educational initiatives and projects.
Contribute effectively to interdisciplinary groups by communicating confidently, professionally and persuasively with others.
Academic and graduate skills
Academic: students will hone their research, reading and writing skills at the undergraduate level, and their analytical and synthesis skills.
Self-directed learning: each class session requires preparation and follow-up work. Students will develop the skills to work independently and plan their time accordingly.
Graduate skills: students will learn to work and refine their ideas in groups, present their ideas formally and informally, contribute to debate and reach collective decisions.
IT skills: The module is being taught in conjunction with the learning materials available on the Virtual Learning Environment. Students will develop the skills to navigate on and engage with the platform and to manage their learning online as well as face-to-face.
The following is indicative of the different topics that will be covered
Philosophical approaches to education about NES - philosophy for children
Literary approaches to education about NES - ecocriticism, creative writing
Scientific approaches to education about NES - observation, modelling, field work; emergent science and controversy
Praxis: principles of planning; reflective practice; practical approaches to education in and about NES.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
Essay : Essay
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
Essay : Essay
Individual written feedback reports, with follow-up tutor meeting, if necessary. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information
Braund, M., & Reiss, M. (2012). Learning science outside the classroom. Routledge.
Garrard, G. (2004). Ecocriticism. Routledge.
Kerridge, R., & Sammells, N. (1998). Writing the Environment: Ecocriticism and literature. Zed Books.
Lewis, L., & Chandley, N. (Eds.). (2012). Philosophy for children through the secondary curriculum. London:Continuum.
Macfarlane, R., & Morris J. (2018). The lost words. London: Hamish Hamilton.
Nixon, R. (2011). Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Harvard University Press.
Rousell, D., & Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, A. (2020). A systematic review of climate change education: Giving children and young people a ‘voice’ and a ‘hand’ in redressing climate change. Children's Geographies, 18(2), 191-208. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2019.1614532
United Nations. (2021). UNEP in 2021. Planetary Action: Climate Action, Nature Action and Chemicals and Pollution Action. https://wedocs.unep.org/20.500.11822/37946
Environmental Education Research