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The Journal of Environmental Education

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Environmental Education as a Model for Constructivist Teaching

Elizabeth S. Klein & Eileen Merritt
a b c a b c

Science education at the University of Virginia, USA Elementary science education at the University of Virginia, USA Educator at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, USA

Available online: 15 Jul 2010

To cite this article: Elizabeth S. Klein & Eileen Merritt (1994): Environmental Education as a Model for Constructivist Teaching, The Journal of Environmental Education, 25:3, 14-21 To link to this article:

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Journal of Environmental Education, 1994, Vol. 25, No. 3, 14-21

Environmental Education as a Model for Constructivist Teaching

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ABSTRACT: Current literature related to science instruction often includes a discussion of the philosophy of constructivism. The authors describe four main components of a constructivist science lesson or unit. A review of commonly used environmental education materials was conducted to look for these components. Parallels between teaching strategies used in environmental education and constructivist methods are discussed.

he literature on constructivist learning theories suggests similarities between constructivist techniques and teaching strategies used by environmental educators. Constructivism, a philosophy of teaching that challenges the philosophy of objectivism, was described by Ernst vonGlaserfeld (1989), and many educators have worked to apply constructivist theories to classroom instruction, especially in the fields of mathematics and science (Clements & Battista, 1990; Chaille & Britain, 1991; Jonassen, 1991b; Perkins, 1991). Because the environmental education movement has become important to many citizens across the world, a great deal of time and energy has gone into creating fields of research and curriculum development that communicate important ecological principles and skills. In this article, we describe and define the philosophies of environmental education and constructivism. After

reviewing the literature, we discuss four major components of constructivism. These components are necessary for lessons that result in meaningful learning for students. The main question that we investigated was, Are components of constructivism present in existing environmental education curricula?

Environmental Education
What is environmental education? Although many definitions exist, most environmental educators have had similar goals throughout the years. In the 1960s, environmental education programs began appearing throughout the country as a result of an increasing awareness of environmental deterioration. As early as 1974 the Virginia State Department of Education developed a K-12 environmental education curriculum guide. Several definitions of environmental education have


Klein and Merritt


havior, and constructive actions concerning wildlife and the environment upon which al life depends (p. viii). l Hungerford, Peyton, and Wilke (1980) developed a set of instructional goals for environmental education that have been validated by numerous environmental educators and used worldwide since 1980. The four major goal levels, as summarized by Hungerford and Volk (1990), are listed below:
Goal Level 1. The Ecological Foundations Level: This level seeks to provide learners with sufficient ecological knowledge to permit him/her to eventually make ecologically sound decisions with respect to environmental issues. Goal Level 11. The Conceptual A warenem LevelIsrues and Values: This level seeks to guide the development of a conceptual awareness of how individual and collective actions may influence the relationship between quality of life and the quality of the environment and results in environmental issues that must be resolved through investigation, evaluation, values clarification, decision making, and finally, citizenship action. Goal Level Ill. The Investigation and Evaluation Level: This level provides for the development of the knowledge and skills necessary to permit learners to investigate environmental issues and evaluate alternative solutions. Similarly, values are clarified with respect to these issues and alternative solutions. Goal Level IV. Action Skills Level-Training and Application: This level seeks to guide the development of those skills necessary for learners to take positive environmental action for the purpose of achieving and/or maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between quality of life and quality of the environment. (p. 13)

ary students and other interested groups (National Environmental Education Act of 1990, p. 3).

A review of the literature on traditional classroom instruction in science suggests that the teacher informs students of the facts and nature of science by lecturing or demonstrating laboratory activities. This type of instruction is based on a theory that students learn because teachers teach. An alternative approach is that of constructivism. Constructivism has been described (Lerman, 1989) as consisting of two main hypotheses: Knowledge is actively constructed by the cognizing subject, not passively received from the environment, and Coming to know is an adapative process that organizes ones experiential world; it does not discover an independent, pre-existing world outside the mind of the knower (p. 211). Jonassen (1991b, p. 9) made comparisons between objectivism and constructivism. (Excerpts from their comparisons appear in Table 1). Clements and Battista (1990) listed five tenets of constructivism that are embraced by different proponents: (a) Knowledge is actively created by the child, not passively received from the environment; (b) Children create new knowledge by reflecting on their physical and mental actions; (c) Ideas are constructed or made meaningful when children integrate them into their existing structures of knowledge. No one true reality exists, only individual interpretations of the world. These interpretations are shaped by experiences and social interactions; (d) Learning is a social process in which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them (Jerome S. Bruner); and (e) When a teacher demands a learner use set mathematical stan-

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Curriculum guides such as Project WILD and many other environmental education materials have been designed to meet these goals using an interdisciplinary approach at all grade levels (K-12). Ideally, students in every subject and grade level will expand their knowledge and clarify their values and attitudes related to the environment. Although the proponents of objectivism suggest that a teachers role is to transmit knowledge to students, the range of learning outcomes suggested by the four goal levels demands the use of methods that are far more complicated than simply transmitting knowledge through lectures to students. Although lectures may still be the primary teaching tool in most ecology classrooms, most educators realize that inquiry lessons, individual projects, and independent study are some of the more effective methods of meeting these goals (Schwaab, 1982). The National Environmental Education Act, passed in 1990, reemphasized the need to increase public understanding of the natural environment and to advance and develop environmental education and training. The act created an officeof environmental education that serves a variety of roles including support, development, and dissemination of model curricula, educational materials, and training programs for elementary and second-

TABLE 1. Assumptions Inherent in Objectivism and Constructivism


Constructivism Reality is determined by the knower. Structure relies on experiencehnterpretations. Though is embodied; grows out of bodily experience. Thought grows out of physical and social experience. Meaning is determined by the understander. Symbols are tools for constructing reality.

Objectivism Reality is external to the knower. Structure can be modeled. Thought is disembodied, independent of human experience. Thought reflects external reality

Meaning is external to the understander. Symbols represent reality.


Journal of Environmental Education classroom and lesson in a manner conducive to group learning, and monitor groups t o help them stay focused and work through difficulties (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1986). Finally, teachers must design authentic assessments to measure the learning that has occurred in a constructivist learning environment. According to Lauterback and Ochs, Performance assessments determine whether students can use concepts, knowledge, and skills they have learned by requiring them to perform a task or create a product. They list the following components for a good performance task:
1. The task is authentic. It simulates a real-world challenge and gives students a real-world role in a realworld setting. 2. The task is rich in its design. Students are allowed to develop alternative solutions; there is no right answer. 3. The task requires students to participate actively This might include working in cooperative groups similar to real-world project teams. 4. The task includes essential rather than tangential ideas. In the sciences, these essential ideas can be repre5ented by the broad based themes of science . . . and the habits of the mind (attitudes, values, and skills) outlined in Project 2061s Science for All Americans. (1991-92,
P. 9)

dards, the sense-making activity is seriously curtailed (p. 3 ) After reviewing the ideas of various authors, we 4. developed a list of four major components of constructivism to explain how teachers might implement these ideas in designing curricula.
Components of Constructivism

There are four main components of a successful constructivist lesson or unit that have been identified for use by the classroom teacher: (a) introduction of a reallife problem by the students or teacher for the students to resolve, (b) student-centered instruction facilitated by the teacher, (c) productive group interaction during the learning process, and (d) authentic assessment and demonstration of student progress. At the beginning of a lesson or unit, the teacher or students pose a question or real-life problem for students to investigate. According to Wheatley (1991), The core of problem centered learning is a set of problematic tasks that focus attention on the key concepts of the discipline that will guide students to construct effective ways of thinking about that subject (p. 16). He suggested that a teacher needs to modify questioning based on an understanding of students prior knowledge and thought processes. A problem for one person may have been previously resolved by another. After the problem has been presented to students, they must take initiative and risks in attempting to solve the problem. Students should ask questions of themselves and others that help them to clarify their positions and validate learning. As students engage in investigating problems, they are responsible for making sense of their world and constructing new relationships. Students should be actively engaged in classroom learning tasks such as experimentation, investigation, observation, and discussion. Students should be able to choose their own methods for solving problems and request the resources and materials they need to arrive at solutions. Teachers can facilitate this kind of learning by setting up the physical environment in a way that is conducive to the construction of knowledge, assigning appropriate tasks, providing guidance, making resources and materials available to students, and supporting students in their interactions with others (Chaille and Britain, 1991). Teachers also need to allow students adequate time to draw conclusions and answer questions to their own satisfaction. For learners to practice new skills, they must interact with their peers. Explaining or defending views stimulates learning (Wheatley, 1991). By working in groups, students learn listening and group-interaction skills as well as discover new insights and ideas related to the problem they are investigating. The teacher must teach and model appropriate group-interaction skills, decide on the size and makeup of the groups, organize the

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Constructivist teaching easily lends itself to the use of authentic measurement of student learning. According to Jonassen (1991a), Effective assessment should be integrated into instruction (p. 30). While students are actively engaged in solving real-life problems, the teacher has an opportunity to evaluate students on a variety of levels. A teacher can develop checklists for use during learning activities or evaluate products based on specific habits of mind and comprehension of concepts. The teacher needs to clarify the skills and processes that are being evaluated at a given time and set high standards for student performance. Students have an active role in the process of assessment in a constructivist setting. They are responsible for participating in authentic tasks and developing and defending their personal views. Students who are active learners should participate in choosing products for portfolios with evidence of the different dimensions of learning that have occurred (Chaille and Britain, 1991). Authentic assessment in a constructivist learning environment pairs the student and teacher as a team that examines the new knowledge and habits of mind. These aspects of constructivism are not new ideas; teachers have been using many of these components in their classrooms for decades. Constructivists are simply pulling together ideas from a variety of teaching approaches and incorporating them into a new philosophy of successful teaching. Environmental educators have been experimenting with concepts such as discovery learning, cooperative learning, and problem solving for some time.

Klein and Merritt


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Curricula With Constructivist Components We conducted a review of environmental education materials designed for national use to investigate the parallels in constructivism and environmental education: Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, Aquatic Project WILD, Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS), Save Our Streams Teachers Manual, and Ranger Ricks Naturescope. The four lessons highlighted in Table 2 were chosen because they represent Grade Levels 1-12, address different environmental issues, and are examples of different curricular structures. The Global Warming & the Greenhouse Effect (GEMS) publication is a complete unit ready for teacher implementation. The Save Our Streams Teachers Manual includes chapters that are designed for use as mini-units. Each lesson could also be used to supplement teacher-developed units. Project Learning Tree and Aquatic Project WILD are publications that include lessons that should be incorporated into a teacherdesigned unit. Great Explorations in Math and Science
Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) was developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. As noted in the GEMS Leaders Handbook, curriculum developers, authors, editors, artists, teachers, students, parents, scout leaders, and earthworms and many other critters (Barber, Bergman, & Sneider, 1988, p. 1) produced the hands-on, activity-based units. According to the GEMS Teachers Guide, the project has four goals: (a) to create independent learners and critical thinkers, (b) to increase students understanding of pivotal science and mathematics concepts, (c) to promote mastery of key science and mathematics skills, and (d) to build positive attitudes toward science and mathematics (Barber et al., 1988, p. 1). The GEMS series includes more than 30 publications covering different science topics for grade levels from kindergarten to 10th grade. Many of the units, such as

Acid Rain and Animal Defenses, have environmental applications. The publication Global Warming & the Greenhouse Effect (Hoking et al., 1990) is divided into eight sessions and is designed to be used as a complete unit (see Table 3). Session six, Changes in Nouas Island, has the following objectives: (a) Introduce the concept of an international forum for discussing environmental problems and possible solutions, (b) provide students with insights into the effects of global warming on a society and culture very different from their own, (c) provide the experience of looking at an environmental issue from viewpoints that may be different from their own (Hoking et al., 1990, p. 9 ) 6. In this lesson, the teacher begins by reading about an island that will be greatly affected by global warming. The people of the island have little to do with the cause of global warming. The students are asked to respond to the story. Small groups of students receive position sheets (one per group) to prepare for the international forum. Their task is to represent the point of view of automobile manufacturers, island nations, agriculturalists, conservationists, or wood and paper producers. They must discuss global warming from their point of view and try to come up with some solutions as a group. This lesson introduces the real-life problem presented by the people of Nouas Island. They are in danger of being directly harmed by global warming, yet they did little to bring it on. The lesson advises that the students work together in groups to discuss and assimilate information for their point of view. This asserts itself as student-centered and teacher-facilitated learning. Position papers provide productive group interaction. A culminating performance assessment is planned for the close of the unit in session eight, World Conference on Global Warming. Productive large-group interaction occurs as the teacher assesses the assimilation and comprehension of information related to global warming and the ability of group members to intelligently discuss the global warming issue.

TABLE 2. Sample Environmental Educaiion Curricula


Publisher Lawrence Hall of Science, GEMS The lzaak Walton League of America American Forest lnstitute Western Regional Environmental Education Council

Title Global Warming & the Greenhouse Effect Save Our Streams Teachers Manual Project Learning Tree Aquatic Project Wild

Lesson Changes on Nouas Island Underwater Explorers My Use or Your Use or Our Use Deadly Waters


In press




Journal of Environmental Education

TABLE 3. Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect Unit Outline

Session I

Title What Have You Heard Aboui the Greenhouse Effect? Modeling the Green House Effect The Global Warming Effect

Comments Brainstorming activities and handouts to serve as an introduction to the global warming issue. Students make atmosphere models to discover the greenhouse. Students investigate photons and molecular structures as they relate to global warming in a game format. This session asks students to investigate the properties of carbon dioxide. Students explore the many sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Students are introduced to some international consequences of their actions. Students explore chain reactions to seemingly small changes in complex environmental systems. Students participate in a mock world conference, taking positions on the issues as representatives from different sections of the world.


Detecting Carbon Dioxide Sources of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere Changes in Nouas Island Worldwide Effects of Climate Change World Conference on Global Warming

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Save Our Streams The lzaak Walton League of America (IWLA) is a national nonprofit conservation organization. Save Our Streams (SOS) was founded in 1969 by the IWLA as an adopt a stream program. The progrzm has grown considerably, and the IWLA is now field testing the Save Our Streams Teachers Manual (Firehock, in press). The manual was designed for use by teachers of Grades 1-12 as well as scout leaders, 4-H group leaders, and others. The manual is divided into chapters that include background information and several activities on each concept. Each activity includes procedures as well as discussion questions and extension options. Several of the activities include directions f o r addressing specific student groups. For example, chapter 2, Activity 3 (Firehock, in press, pp. 41-44), Underwater Explorers: Measuring the Health of a Stream, has this objective: Students will visit the stream to conduct their monitoring project. They will learn if the water quality they determined in class is the actual water quality of their stream (p. 41). Students divide into small groups of approximately five, and each group is given a kick-seine net. Each student in a group is given a job such as a net holder, rock rubber, stream dancer, net remover, or bug picker. After the

students collect stream water samples, they act as detectives to determine the amount and diversity o f macroinvertebrates in their samples. Clues are available to help them identify the invertebrates. After the identification and classification have been completed, the students use their data to fill out a stream survey form. The teachers manual includes three survey forms: one for use with Grades I through 3, a second for Grades 3 and 4, and a third for fifth graders through adults. Extension activities listed at the end of the activity are designed f o r kindergarten through eighth grade. The real-life problem is the assessment of the water quality o f the stream. The authors suggest that the students choose the stream they are going to test, adopt a section and continue to monitor it regularly, and submit their data to the Izaak Walton League of America to be compiled for public hearings or other uses by reseachers or government agencies. The activity is student centered because students choose the stream and collect the data themselves. They must work together to analyze macro-invertebrates and determine the stream rating. Because it is difficult for one student to collect sufficient data, the students must rely on the group. Teachers may use monitoring activity as a performance assessment. In addition, students could write letters to politicians to explain their find-

Klein and Merritt ings, sendpress releases, or use geography skills to map the watershed of the stream. A teacher might take students to the stream for practice and, on a subsequent visit, assess process skills such as macro-invertebrate identification, data analysis, drawing conclusions, or teamwork. The Save Our Streams curriculum is one example of a set of activities that is developed by an environmental organization. Many government agencies, such as national, state, and local parks, produce their own instructional units that are designed for use in a particular state or region. Soil and water conservation districts and organizations such as the Virginia Resource Use Education Council also produce environmental education units.


Problem solving can be assessed throughout the lesson by evaluating oral presentations, written position papers, or contributions to the group discussions. Teachers can evaluate specific skills related to knowledge, critical thinking, clarification of values, or cooperative learning skills. The teacher should set up clear guidelines for the assessment prior to the activity and tell students how they will be assessed.

Project Learning Tree Project Learning Tree is a supplemental K-12 curriculum on trees and forests sponsored by the Western Regional Environmental Education Council and the American Forest Institute, Inc. (1977). The activities were written for teachers to incorporate into interdisciplinary units on trees and forests. The lessons were written by teachers, professional foresters, college professors, and others. Many of the activities have a field component, requiring students and teachers to observe and investigate aspects of their natural world. The activities were field tested in 11 western states and then revised. An example, #45 in the K-6 curriculum guide, is titled My Use or Your Use or Our Use (Western Regional Environmental Education Council & American Forest Institute, Inc. 1977, p. 75). In this activity, the teacher chooses a familiar piece of land near the school and presents the following hypothetical situation: The community has acquired the land because the owner has not paid the property taxes. The city council is uncertain whether to keep or sell the land. If the council members lo decide to sell the land, they must a s decide to whom it should be sold. Students or pairs of students must choose roles ranging from housing development contractors and cattle ranchers to mining fr represenim tatives and recreational directors. Students research their positions by interviewing a community member and/or reading about the positions. Students prepare written positions supporting a particular interest group and deliver oral presentations before a mock city council of four to six students who will decide whether or not the land will be sold, to whom, and at what price. Students must consider the positive and negative implications of their decision in a subsequent discussion period. Teachers give suggestions, provide resources, help students make connections with community members, and facilitate a productive city-council meeting. Group interaction occurs through working with partners, reaching a consensus during the mock city-council meeting, and through general class discussion.

Aquatic Project WILD Aquatic Project WILD (Western Regional Environmental Education Council, 1987) is another popular resource for teachers who are looking for environmental education activities that are geared toward the student. Aquatic Project WILD is an interdisciplinary, supplementary environmental education and conservation program for teachers of grades K-12 that is similar to Project Learning Tree. Aqualic Project WILD materials are designed to serve as an invitation to explore and understand the fascinating worlds of water and the habitats they support. Some of the lessons are conducted outdoors near aquatic ecosystems. Research data suggest that the use of seven or more Project WILD activities with a group of students in one school will result in statistical significance in student learning (p. ix). A typical activity, Deadly Waters (Western Regional Environmental Education Council 1987, p. 127), focuses on the study of water pollution for students in Grades 3 through 12. The major purpose of this activity is to increase student understanding of water pollution and its potential effects on human and wildlife habitats. Initially, the teacher introduces and describes the four major categories of water pollution: chemical, thermal, organic, and ecological. Students receive additional information about pollution and divide into teams of three to analyze the pollution content of a hypothetical river. The teacher distributes, to each group, tokens that signify the different types of pollution. Students must determine which pollutants would be likely to cause the most damage to wildlife and wildlife habitat, provide examples, and discuss the kinds of damage. There are two suggested evaluation activities and several extension options. In this lesson, the teacher shares information about pollutants and presents a real-life problem for students to investigate: What effects d o different kinds of water pollution have on human and wildlife habitats? Students analyze data and create a bar graph that allows them to look at the information in an organized way. They use the information to postulate about damage. The teacher provides an initial explanation of terms, and the students use higher level thinking skills to examine the evidence and draw conclusions. Students work in research teams during this activity. This allows them to interact with others and share ideas about the river, drawing from the different strengths of

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Journal of Environmental Education The lessons we reviewed use peer interaction as an essential step in the learning process. Students participate in mock city-council meetings, World Conference on Global Warming, research teams, and streammonitoring groups. In each of these activities, students share opinions, discuss important issues, and clarify personal attitudes and beliefs by interacting with others. For a student to meet the goal of develop[ing] a dense of civil responsibility and awareness that his actions affect others just as the actions of others affect him (State Department of Education, 1974, p. 6), students need to have experienced productive group interaction, be open-minded to other perspectives and be willing to work with others to take positive environmental actions. The last component of constructivism, authentic assessment of student progress, was demonstrated in the curriculum activities in our review. The newer curriculum guides seem to have more specific assessment activities than the earlier guides. For example, the GEMS curriculum guide included suggestions for assessment within the unit, whereas in the Projecf Learning Tree guide the teacher was left to choose appropriate outcomes for students and to design an instrument or scale to measure these outcomes. This could present a problem for some teachers if they have not received training in this area. Currently, in many areas of instruction, teachers choose to construct their own assessment tools to ensure that they are appropriate For specific ages, concepts, and skills practice. Rather than including multiple-choice tests or shartanswer questions, the guides list processes and skills consistent with the lesson and give suggestions of extension options that are often open-ended questions. Suggestions for assessment include the demonstration of information about global warming, the ability of group members to discuss the issues intelligently, collection of position papers, and open-ended questions related to water pollution. Although other assessment ideas are not specified, the activities themselves can serve as performance assessments for habits of mind and conceptual understanding. Teachers could create portfolios of student progress, such as video- or audiotapes of presentations by students in council meetings, position papers on environmental problems, checklists of group interaction skills or science process skills, answers to openended questions, or anecdotal notes. According to Chaille and Britain (1991), teachers should use openended questions to encourage problem solving, perspective taking, and/or consideration of feelings. Openended questions can be used as pre- and postassessments of students knowledge and skills.

individual group members to reach conclusions. The teacher provides information and materials, monitors groups, and guides small-group discussions with appropriate questions. Evaluation suggestions are as follows: (a) Describe the effect that large quantities of the following things might have on an aquatic environment. Consider shortterm and long-term effects: hot water, fertilizer, soil (silt), heavy metals, etc. (b) Water is taken from a river, treated, used by people of a community, sent to a city sewage treatment plant, and put back into the river. Is this aquatic pollution? Defend your response (Western Regional Environmental Education Council 1987, p. 140). These questions are open-ended and require students to consider consequences of human actions orally or in writing. In addition, the program lists several science process skills for which teachers could develop checklists or scoring rubrics.
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Parallels Between Environmental Education and Constructivism

Both philosophies require students to take an active role in learning and building on factual knowledge to improve investigation and critical thinking skills. Each component of constructivism is demonstrated by the activities in environmental education curriculum guides. All of the lessons focus on a real-life problem such as land use, global warming, and the effects of water pollution on human and wildlife habitats. A variety of other real-life problems are included in the curriculum guides we reviewed. The consideration of these problems helps students meet Goal Level I11 of Hungerford and Volks (1990) instructional goals for environmental education. While investigating these problems, students should develop the knowledge and skills necessary to investigate and seek alternative solutions for other environmental and societal issues. The curriculum activities also demonstrate active learning, facilitated by the teacher. According to Virginias environmental education curriculum guide (State Department of Education, 1974, p. 7), a program that meets the goals of environmental education will be participant centered. Student participation should be encouraged by allowing the students to help determine the nature of the experiences in which they are involved and be activity centsred. Environmental experiences should immerse the student in the real world which he can see, touch, and smell. The sample lessons from GEMS, Projecr Learning Tree, Project WILD, and Save Our Streams were not teacher centered. The authors of these guides seemed to recognize that the ultimate responsibility for learning lies with the learner, and even the best presentation of information [by the teacher] may not be received and processed (Chaille & Britain, 1991, p. 11).

The four goal levels of environmental education are complex; students who make progress in reaching these goals should be rewarded. According to Jonassen

Klein and Merritt (1991a), students cannot demonstrate their skills of investigation, evaluation, decisionmaking, or environmental action through standardized testing. As Heibert and Calfee (1989) said, Citizens in the 21st century will not be judged on their ability to bubble in answers on test forms (p. 54). Constructivist teachers and environmental educators need to strive for development of alternative means for assessing higher level thinking skills. Jonassen (1991a) asks: If the students are rewarded only for outcomes that are not facilitated by constructivistic environments, are we not jeopardizing students by building them and engaging the students with them? (p. 33). Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, and GEMS are excellent examples of curricula that share many of the goals of environmental education and constructivism. Save Our Streams is an example of an environmental organization that has designed some outstanding educational activities related to a specific environmental problem. Although not all of the lessons in our review meet the four components of constructivism and four goal levels of environmental education, they meet many of the criteria. The lessons can be designed to meet goals of environmental education for a specific group of students and can include the components of constructivism. Professional educators should consider the components of constructivism when choosing instructional materials and planning instructional units in any subject. Inservice and preservice teachers need practice in using model constructivism curricula so that they can learn how to modify existing textbooks and curriculum guides. This may prove difficult for teachers who follow the objectivistic philosophy because, according to Hewson et al. and Hollingsworth, Teachers preconceptions about teaching and learning are not easily changed (Shymansky, 1992, p. 55). As Sarason said, Schools cannot create and sustain the conditions for the development of children if those conditions do not exist for the teacher (Shymansky, 1992, p. 56). Research in the use of authentic assessment activities and methods for lesson modifications would prove useful. We also believe that the most frequently used environmental education curricula should be evaluated to determine whether the goal levels of environmental education are being met.
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