Do Books Teach How To Plant A Tree? Is Environmental Education Really Useful?

Posted on April 14, 2013 in Education, Environment

By Nimisha Jain:

Gone are those days when books were considered to be the only source of learning in schools. When theoretical explanations for everything held the attention and practicality was looked upon as of no importance at such a level of education. But the notion is different today. The present world cares about realism. And to make students aware of different actualities, various ‘compulsory’ subjects have been tied to their curriculum. Leading the list is Environmental Education. But is it justifying its role?

environmentEnvironmental Education- a subject full of pragmatism, is unfortunately allotted the most boring and undesirable position in the students’ syllabus. The subject was introduced with the goal of making the young minds cognisant of the environment and its deterioration, and inculcating within them an enthusiasm to preserve it. But despite being a compulsory subject it’s awarded a tertiary importance, making its inclusion of no advantage. The abstract course and incredible tradition of learning the definitions and producing the same in examination adds to its boredom and ineffectiveness.

An amazing subject with a much larger potential deserves more than this. It deserves creativity, passion, rational thinking and freedom, with no constraints of marks and grades. Schools should re-structure their courses and develop innovative methodologies of teaching. They should attempt to implant the desire among the students to learn and rouse their passion to put the learning into practice.

Many institutions have taken a little but successful step towards this change. They’ve started ‘tree plantation’ programmes in which students plant saplings every year. But there exists a larger scope. Exciting documentaries concerning different environmental issues should be screened by schools. Active group discussions on current dig-outs and glitches can uphold the curiosity and concern. Various activities related to ‘recycle’ and ‘reuse’ should be undertaken to enhance students’ creativity. And making students visit related local institutes on a regular basis can also contribute considerably.

But there can also be a different and novel approach. It’s often highlighted- “experience is the best teacher”. What if the learners get an opportunity to have a real experience of the problem as well as solution in the premises itself? School authorities can install, within the premises, suggested environment-friendly techniques like water harvesting system, solar heaters etc. and therefore, can successfully impart real knowledge. This small-scale picture would not only provide a vivid view of the reality but also fuel pupil’s thought-process in this discipline.

Thus, by exiting the cage of marks and compulsion and entering an open field of innovation and practicality, a subject can be offered justice. A little change in attitude and modification in tactics can enhance the learning process and bring about genuine results.