Introduction

Environmental education brings the real world into the language classroom, empowering learners to make positive changes in their local communities and in the world. Language teachers who introduce environmental topics such as rain forest destruction and endangered animal species into their lessons find that students are fascinated by the problems these issues present. Besides serving as a rich and stimulating source of real-world content, environmental education:

provides an effective framework for integrating language skills;

bridges the gap between English and other school subjects;

develops critical and creative thinking skills;

fosters the development of problem-solving skills;

provides opportunities for exploring cross-cultural attitudes and values;

engages multiple intelligences;

encourages student interaction.

Another reason, and the most important, for bringing environmental issues into the language classroom is the urgency of the environmental situation itself. If students are to participate fully in solving the environmental problems of today and the future, environmental education is essential. Problems such as plant and animal extinction are pressing. All educators have an ethical and personal responsibility to contribute to students' awareness of environmental issues and to foster in their students the development of skills that promote sustainable development.


A Global Approach

Besides offering practice on specific language skills such as speaking or reading, each of the activities presented in this volume incorporates one or more of the following global objectives related to the environment:

Awareness: Promoting awareness of a particular environmental problem and what individuals can do to help solve the problem.

Concern: Encouraging students to explore their own values and feelings of concern about the environment.

Skills: Helping students to acquire and develop the necessary skills to solve environmental problems.

Action: Providing opportunities for students to get actively involved in doing something to remedy environmental problems.



Student-Centered Activities

Many of the classroom activities in this volume take a student-centered approach that provides opportunities for students to work together in small groups or teams, pooling their knowledge and learning from one another. Students carry out a wide variety of interactive tasks such as brainstorming, discussion, values clarification activities, debate which encourage analysis and interpretation of environmental issues. During the activities, students have the opportunity to examine the issues in the context of their experience, their culture, and the world as a whole.


A Positive Attitude

Motivated by the excitement of using their English language skills to solve real-world problems, students are engaged, observant and active learners.

Environmental problems such as ocean pollution and global warming may seem overwhelming, but learning about them doesn't have to be ponderous or depressing. By using classroom activities that take a positive approach and focus on what individuals can do to help save the earth, teachers can provide students with an enjoyable and satisfying learning experience.


I hope you find the contents of this volume to be informative, enjoyable and useful. If this is your first time visiting this site, I hope that you'll come back for another visit very soon.

Susan Stempleski

 

 


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