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
• 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
• 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.
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.