The Institute for Environmental Leaning (IEL) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) is a cutting-edge educational research group working towards a sustainable future for British Columbia (BC).
Environmental Learning is education…
about the environment,
in the environment, and
for the environment.
With the goal of integrating environmental thinking and ideas into learner’s everyday lives.
Environmental Learning promotes:
Environmental learning can take place just about anywhere – from the formal kindergarten to grade 12 school systems to the informal learning environments, such as nature centers, parks, environmental programs, zoos or aquariums, and much more.
The Environmental Learning and Experience: An Interdisciplinary Guide for Teachers (ELE) is the provincial framework for environmental learning. It provides five core principles for environmental learning:
|ComplexityLife on Earth depends on, and is part of, complex systemsEnvironmental learning examines the complexity of natural and human-created systems, and the overlapping interplay between the two.|
|AestheticsEnvironmental awareness enables students to develop and aesthetic appreciationEnvironmental learning helps learners develop a sense of awe and respect for nature though hands-on activities in B.C.’s great outdoors.|
|ResponsibilityHuman decisions and actions have environmental consequencesEnvironmental learning explores humanity’s impact on the rest of nature, and possible solutions issues.|
|EthicsStudying the environment enables learners to develop an environmental ethicThrough examining our cultural values, assumptions, and worldviews, learners can challenge their ways of thinking and develop a new environmental ethic.|
In 2007, IEL collaborated with network members, the BC Ministry of Education, Environmental Educators Professional Specialists’ Association (EEPSA), Environmental Educators of BC (EEBC) and Metro Vancouver to co-produce this framework. The framework helps educators integrate environmental learning and sustainability concepts into their teaching practices. It has rapidly become a touchstone for provincial educators. Over 40,000 people have downloaded the document. Countless others have browsed the framework’s webpages, including the video case studies on teacher practices.