Using the Arts to Teach Environmental Education through Self-Directed Learning
Keywords:Environmental education, Visual art education, Early childhood education
To enhance students’ environmental knowledge, art helps to transcend the classroom while incorporating academic content in multithemed lessons that integrate and meet academic standards. As Inwood remarks, this approach expands creativity and applies real world critical thinking skills to environmental problems, issues, and future sustainability. This study describes interdisciplinary instruction using environmental arts education, which encourages students to help community and local environments. The authors frame this experience for the youngsters by showing them how to create their own art so they can make immediate and personal connections to the natural environment. While participating in the educational lessons, students learn how their actions affect the environment, and through their own artistic contributions, they essentially become “environmental artists” who enrich the world at large. Students apply their understanding of these issues through self-directed learning experiences of the type described by Grava and Pole, and they discover direct connections between themselves, others, and the environment.
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