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Environmental education and the issue of nature

Bonnett, Michael (2007) Environmental education and the issue of nature. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 39 (6). pp. 707-721. ISSN 0022-0272. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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Much official environmental education policy in the UK and elsewhere makes scant reference to nature as such, and the issue of our underlying attitude towards it is rarely addressed. For the most part such policy is preoccupied with the issue of meeting ‘sustainably’ what are taken to be present and future human needs. This paper considers a range of issues posed by this anthropocentric approach and will explore the view that environmental education -- indeed any education -- worthy of the name needs to bring a range of searching questions concerning nature to the attention of learners, and to encourage them to develop their own on-going responses to them. It is argued that our present environmental predicament not only provides an exciting opportunity to re-focus education on the issue of our relationship to nature, but positively requires the exploration of this issue for its long term resolution. Extensive implications for the curriculum and the culture of the school are raised.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: a) Environmental concern and education b) Philsophical investigation c) Reviews and develops ideas that I have previously published concerning the significnce of nature and our relationship with it for education by, for example, relating them to aspects of John McDowell's position in his influential 'Mind and World'. It is argued that the environmental crisis is as much one of our spiritual as of our physical survival and that addressing it requires the engagement of feeling as well as intellect. d) The paper is a revised version of an invited presentation initially given at the University of Bath and subsequently at the Von Hugel Institute, Cambridge and at the University of Sheffield, and in amended form as an invited keynote address at the University of the Aegean. Peer reviewed Sole author This is an electronic version of an article published in Bonnett, Michael (2007) Environmental education and the issue of nature. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 39 (6). pp. 707-721. Journal of Curriculum Studies is available online at:
Controlled Keywords: Philosophy of education , environment; , education; , nature; , sustainable development
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Education Foundations and Policy Studies
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2015 15:54
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2015 15:54

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