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Handbook on methods used in Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development.
The educational community worldwide in the light of the forthcoming UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) seeks for new educational methodologies not only for revitalizing Environmental Education (EE) but also for reorienting the entire educational systems towards the principles of sustainable development. Generally, the educational systems have gradually changed the view through which they were dealing with environmental issues: from a knowledge deficiency problem in the early years, to a conflict and reconciliation issue between the interests of humans and nature, to today's resolution of conflicts between different human interests. This evolution had a direct effect in the approaches and practices that have been used. In the early years of EE the transmission of scientific fact and knowledge was a very common method. This was further developed and combined with elements such as the active involvement of students and problem-solving approaches. Nowadays, the conflict-oriented perspective of ESD implies a focus on participatory and democratic processes, seeking consensus and mutual understanding. To this end, M eetings and Conferences, Researches and Consultations at all levels (local, national, regional and international) have as subject the educational methods for teaching and more appropriately, learning in the framework of EE and ESD. The ôHandbook on methods used in Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Developmentö aims to provide an ensemble of elements, both theoretical and practical, for the implementation of educational materials EE and ESD. The handbook is not exhaustive of all the educational methods and possible ways of their implementation, but it rather aims to introduce educators to the basic ideas relevant to the various methods, while trying to highlight some noteworthy or ô tricky " points concerning their application and outcomes. Therefore it does not intend to provide ôpre-packaged recipes", but is designed to facilitate educators to plan, in cooperation with their students, their own working methods in the framework of EE/EfES/ESD programmes. In order to develop the practical elements of the methods the handbook ôusesö some specific activities for students which derive almost entirely from the MEdIES educational material ôWater in the Mediterranean ö. However, because of its structure, the handbook could be used as a reference guide when implementing any other educational material relevant to EE, EfES and ESD. The authors team The handbook has the following structure: Chapter A: where the necessary general theoretical framework is presented. It starts with an overview of the evolution of environmental education towards education for sustainable development, including its components and perspectives for the 21 st century, as they emerge from the different, but closely related movements and initiatives. In addition, theoretical and research issues regarding the responsible environmental behaviour are presented. The constructivism theory is analysed as the contemporary context for the better interpretation of the learning processes, its links with EE and ESD, as well as the educator's role in students' learning within the above contexts (constructivist and ESD learning approaches). The chapter closes with a brief presentation of the general teaching model, which is compatible to all educational levels. Chapter B: provides the necessary theoretical framework on the methods used in EE, EfES and ESD. Thus, the chapter presents various studies exploring: which methods teachers use and why ; the factors that influence the choice of a method, with an emphasis on the learning objectives. The current trends and characteristics of the ESD methodological approaches are also presented. Reference is also made to cooperative learning and group work , since they are strongly recommended and commonly used within the implementation of EE, EfES and ESD programmes and activities. Chapter C: explores how the various teaching methods could be implemented, trying to highlight some ôriskyö points in each one rather than addressing all the possible ways for their implementation. The basic theoretical and practical characteristics of methods, as well as indicative ways of their implementation are elaborated, using as examples activities from the educational package ôWater in the Mediterranean ö. The methods that are presented are, namely: various techniques of discussions, concept mapping, bibliographic research, experiments, analogies and models, simulation methods including case studies, role-playing games, computer simulation and other games; surveys, field teaching and field research. The last subchapter addresses the use of educational kits as important teaching and learning tools within ESD Programmes. Chapter D: addresses the two widely used methodologies of EE, EfES and ESD: problem-solving and projects , also known as umbrella methods. These methodologies offer important frameworks that can include and integrate the various methods analysed in Part C. The chapter closes by presenting the ways by which a particular topic, the one of the ôwater cycleö, could be implemented using the different methods elaborated in the previous paragraphs.
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