Indicating forecast of Learning through Experiencing Nature (LEN) from environmental education has become an urgent task for education in Japan. In this article, discussion is reviewed reflectively to explore the direction for solving the task. In the first chapter, we organized social needs for LEN identified in domestic and overseas measures. In the second chapter, taking LEN for nurturing youth, we categorized it with regards to (1) object and practicing subject, (2) learning aims of educational fields, and (3) LEN programs. In the third chapter, focusing on training leaders, we indicated that people in the local community can be leaders as well as school teachers, and leading actor in school education. In conclusion, we stated three points; (1) the requirements for accumulation of empirical research in nurturing youth like clarification of the relationship between LEN and competence, (2) research and development with new viewpoints which are training leader as “interpreters” who can be communicators eliciting people's positive world view of nature, and (3) framing system which have a view to the relationship between LEN and local systems of environmental education for sustainable and symbiotic community development.
Sound education was developed by RM Schafer based on “soundscape”, a concept aimed at the reinforcement of hearing. The implementation of sound education in Japan is quantitatively small. This study examines the significance of sound education on environmental education through a qualitative analysis of its implementation in an elementary school. The children were given three activities; a sound search, a sound chasing game, and a sound search on the elementary school field. As a result, two goals were achieved, the cultivation of aural sensitivity and improved environmental awareness. Regarding the aims of changing behavior and life styles, the study showed that there is a need to consider &ldquoempowerment” while moving forward with the program. The significance of sound education within environmental education points to a relationship between goals and the versatility of location for sound education activities. The study pointed out that developing the program toward understanding one’s environment through the senses of the whole body remains an issue. There is a need to develop a curriculum that includes activities utilizing all five senses.
This research is a case study analyzing a practice of “education for sustainable development (ESD)” at a school. Observing the three-year-long practice of the integrated learning class, the author positions this project as a case of ESD in practice. The research reveals that involvement in the ESD practice has resulted in a relatively higher motivation to participate in the environmental programs and to improve the local community among students, and teachers and parents are convinced that the educational capacity of the local community is getting higher. The research also points out that the educational support scheme of Ushiku-city as well as the curriculum organization of Kamiya elementary school should constitute a good model case for structuring the ESD practice. On the other hand some ESD-specific challenges are identified, which include the systematization of educational contents related to “sustainability,” re-studying the concept of “development,” the way to approach “education” in partnership discussion. Marking a first footprint in the ESD case study by building on the result of theoretical research is the contribution and originality of this research
Nature conservation education has been generated since the 1950's in Japan and endeavors to help people love and preserve nature. To nurture sympathy with nature in the human mind was one of the important purposes, however, the weight of nature conservation education shifted from landscape preservation to conservation of ecosystems in the 1960's. Nature conservation education insisted that nature was public, not private. This meant a certain ethics aspect between nature and human-beings. Environmental outdoor activities involving nature watching have contributed to shorten the distance between nature and people in Japan, while little basic education about natural history has developed. Nature conservation movements demanded not only to gain knowledge on nature but also learned social aspects of environmental problems in nature conservation education programs since the 1970's. This idea was accepted in environmental education at the beginning of the 2000's. The nature conservation education noted the loss of the relationship between people, especially children and the nature or regions. Some practices to rediscover the home town for children or experiences to play in natural areas were started since the end of the 1960's. These activities have grown to the main current of Japanese environmental education in the 2000's. Through the development of nature conservation education in Japan, the following four aspects are found as important concepts: (1) Understanding of nature and its systems. (2) Sympathy with nature and awareness to stand in other persons' or organisms' standpoints. (3) Making missions and actions to solve environmental problems for building a sustainable society. (4) Importance of the influence of nature and the companion persons on growing one's sense through a long time span.
The Japanese Society for Environmental Education may consider pollution education as a sort of “demon's gate” (i.e. something to be avoided). The actual practice of pollution education falls under the category of adult education/social education, distinct from formal school education. Keeping in mind pollution education is the origin of Japanese environmental education and that it has evolved into local/community-building studies, we may reevaluate its “unlucky” status as, rather, a fortunate one. The establishment of the Japanese Society for Environmental Education (JSEE) in 1990 coincided with a turning point at the teacher-based, ground level of formal school education, whereby “pollution” moved toward “environmental” education. By the 1990s, pollution education was no longer a subject of interest for JSEE members. Assuming pollution education is essential to our view of local/community-building education, there are three cases in point that environmental education should take from pollution education: 1. The scientific nature of pollution education 2. The role of teachers in pollution education 3. The “post-pollution education” study of new community movements As environmental education's target issues of nature conservation and maintenance have become global environmental problems, the narrow sense of what constitutes environmental education expands to include the concept of education for sustainable development (ESD), encompassing development and poverty issues. Environmental education's grasp of the issues as an unambiguous human-to-nature relationship must shift to one that accounts for human-to-human and human-to-society (community) relationships. Keeping in mind the potential of pollution education from a community-building education standpoint, we should examine local community movements and pollution education in tandem.
This paper reviewed the researches on environmental education (EE) for kindergartens and nursery schools that have been conducted in the past 20 years. Throughout the history of EE, international guidelines have emphasized the incorporation of EE in early school curriculum. However, these guidelines have not directly influenced the EE-related practical activities that are adopted in kindergartens and nursery schools in each nation. Research papers on EE focusing on early childhood have been produced mainly in the USA (1990s) and Australia (late 1990s∼2000s). In Europe, although only a few English language works exist, works on the practical activities for young children are plentiful; prominent among these are Waldkindergarten in Denmark and Germany and Skogsmulle in Sweden. Further, in Japan, many research papers dealing with the same issue have been produced since the 1990s. However, only a few of these papers discussed what EE is, what significance EE has, and the practical manner in which EE can be implemented in the early school curriculum. Based on the analyses of these research papers, the author discusses the factors hindering the incorporation of practical activities related to EE in kindergartens and nursery schools.
In Environmental Education, as for this study, Suzuki and Matsubaguchi organized the research direction until 2005. The content was provided in arrangement with the specialties Home Economics Education, Agricultural Education, Consumer Education, and Teacher Education concerning school education research. However, the problem of food-agriculture in Environmental Education is as diverse as the problems of different regions and societies. In the future, the role of Environmental Education in the problem of Food-Agriculture should cover not only School Education research but also the research direction of Adult and Community Education. Here, the focus is to integrate the accumulated research in the area of Food and Agriculture in a cohesive relationship. We think that these become problems of Environmental Education research in the future, especially where consumer administration is undertaken.
In this research, I surveyed the United States' educational reform and its effect on environmental education and also the response of environmental education to reform. I tried to obtain suggestions for Japan. The score of achievement tests is valued highly in the No Child Left Behind Act. Therefore, environmental education is disregarded. Environmental education deals with this crisis by two means: first, making of standards, and second, insitence that environmental education is useful as a tool of educational reform. Through several research projects, it has been clarified that environmental education is useful for improving scholastic attainments and reducing discipline problems. This is because environmental education gives meaning to the study of subjects and develops a sense of belonging and self-efficacy for students. Schools that succeed in the improvement of scholastic attainments and the reduction of discipline problems through environmental education have common features. Such a feature is, for instance, development of an interdisciplinary curriculum by an interdisciplinary team. Finally, proposals are given for improvement of environmental education in Japan.