Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Teaching Environmental Education across the Science Curriculum

Integrated Curriculum for Primary School

                 The Integrated Curriculum for Primary School, which well-known as KBSR (Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah) was introduced in 1993. The main thrust of KBSR is the concept of integration. Among the elements integrated across the curriculum are basic skills, knowledge and values; language; environmental education; science and technology; patriotism; thinking skills; and study skills.

                 I shall discuss about an aspect of integration namely Teaching Environmental Education across the Science Curriculum. I’ll start with discussing about the Teaching Environmental Education across the Curriculum follows by the Primary School Science Curriculum for Level Two. The environmental education parts in the science curriculum also will be discussed.

Teaching Environmental Education across the Curriculum

                    Environment is defined as denoting the surroundings or external conditions with which an individual (person or other living organism) or community interacts while natural environments include the earth's physical features, flora and fauna.

                     To disseminate the knowledge on environmental issue, one method is through environmental education. This kind of education is started back in 1972, as the result of the Human Ecology Conference held in Stockholm. The conference had discussed and produced an action plan to upgraded the environment quality. The 1975 International Conference  on Environmental Education held in Belgrade and the Government Heads Conference in 1997  at Tbilisi, USSR also support this kind of education. It was also being discussed during the 1991 UNESCO Environmental Education Training Seminar held in Malta and during the 1992 World Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro under the Agenda 21, Chapter 36.

                    As for Malaysia, environmental education has been made an element to be integrated across the curriculum because it is apparent in all subjects taught in schools. The teaching-learning strategy for education across the curriculum emphasizes the following learning stages:

Awareness = arouse students’ awareness of environmental status, issues and problems.

Knowledge = expose students to basic knowledge and concepts as well as help them        understand the relationship between various environmental components.

Attitudes = inculcate social attitudes and values so as to live in harmony with the environment.

Skills = enhance students’ problem-solving and decision making skills on environmental issues.

Involvement = encourage a responsible attitude towards the environment through activities involving students.

The Primary School Science Curriculum for Level Two

                   Science education aims to produce human beings who are experienced, skilful and morally sound in order to form a society with a culture of science and technology, and which is compassionate, dynamic and progressive so that people are more responsible towards the environment and are amazed at the creation of the nature.

                  The objectives of science as a subject are achieved by giving pupils a chance to:

develop thinking skills so as to enhance the intellectual ability

develop scientific skills and attitude through inquiry

enhance natural interest in their surroundings

gain knowledge and understanding of scientific facts and concepts to assist them in  understanding themselves and the environment

solve problems and make decisions responsibly

handle the latest contribution and innovation in science and technology

practice noble values and scientific attitudes in daily life

appreciate the contribution of science and technology towards the comfort of life

appreciate arrangement and order in nature

                 Concurrent with this aim and objectives, the Primary School Science Curriculum for Level Two was developed and introduced in 1994 based on the integrated approach. The curriculum emphasises the following aspects: 

learning by experience and relevant to the everyday life of the pupil

inquiry approach

research and problem solving

development of scientific skills and thinking skills

application of scientific principles

inculcation of intrinsic values of science and noble values

to be continued......


For more details on environmental education and science, please surf these websites:

1) http://assets.wwf.org.my/downloads/eeasa_paper.pdf

2) http://www.ciroap.org/ce/doc/CE_Chelliah.doc

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