Role of Teacher in Environmental Education and Protection:
Our planet is currently in dire need of monumental efforts to protect its environment. We can no longer overlook the devastating effects of human activities on the environment, such as;
Massive reduction in biodiversity due to deforestation, pollution and environmental imbalance.
Climate change has a drastic effect on the whole of the planet resulting in erratic weather and rainfall.
Rise in temperature, resulting in heat waves, more forest fires and melting of polar ice caps.
Given the situation, environmental education is a modern-day necessity. The aim is to make individuals aware of the importance of nature and everything that encompasses it. In this regard, schools are the perfect place to begin environmental education. Likewise, teachers play a huge role in creating environmental awareness amongst kids and nurturing the new generation for more respect and responsible behavior towards the environment.
Let’s explore in more detail what role teachers play in environmental education and how they are essential in creating morally responsible individuals with a mature and respectful attitude towards the environment.
Why Are Teachers Critical for Environmental Education?
Only knowledge could empower individuals to take beneficial actions. The same is valid for protecting the environment too. Environmental education aims to impart knowledge for the protection of the environment.
But it’s the teachers that actually have to teach, what environment means and what importance it has in our lives. Therefore, teachers have a huge role to play in environmental education. With proper education, students become aware of how to lead a more sustainable life.
The ultimate goal is to reduce human impact on the environment to a minimum so that the planet can heal and rejuvenate. For this, awareness from an early age is essential, and who will be more suited for environmental awareness than a teacher.
Role of a Teacher to Protect Our Environment
Environmental education is now an essential part of all education stages. The objective is to achieve environmental awareness, reduce ecological footprints, develop respect for nature and take actions that help preserve the environment. The primary responsibility lies with teachers. They are the ones with an immediate and long-lasting impression on a kid’s life. Therefore, the role of teaching in protecting the environment is crucial.
Here is how Teachers contribute to environmental protection through education;
A teacher’s role is to transfer knowledge and act as the facilitator, a role model, and a mentor.
Teachers develop through practice that links the learner with the community, attitudes and values.
Teachers promote behavior directed towards environmental protection and lead to transformation that overcomes that reality, both in its natural and social aspects.
They help develop learners the skills and aptitudes necessary to understand ecological issues and take necessary actions.
Teachers help their students develop an awareness of creative, dynamic, effective, and efficient environmental protection and management responsibilities.
How Can Teachers Play a Bigger Role in Environment Protection?
The most challenging part of environmental education is to teach students the values of the environment in a way that is easy to understand. Therefore, special attention is needed towards the teaching methodology for a better understanding of environmental issues. To begin with, at the primary level, the visual and creative learning approach can be highly effective for children to understand the basic concepts of the environment.
The following approach can help teachers to play a more prominent role in environmental education and protection;
Connect With the Nature
There is no better way to inculcate respect for nature than to encourage learners to spend some time with nature. A visit to the countryside, mountains, lakeside, and natural parks can hugely impact young minds. The little minds will acquire the awareness of nature and understand the need for a clean environment. It is easier to protect something you have a direct connection with.
Organizing Small Cleaning Events of Natural Areas
Teachers could collaborate with local NGOs and arrange events for cleaning natural areas like beaches or forests. Students participating in these events will understand the gravity of the situation and learn that taking care of the natural environment is necessary for both humans and wildlife.
Introduce Students to Recycling
Waste generated by humans has a drastic impact on the environment. Therefore, it is essential to introduce recycling to students early on so that they can learn ways to limit waste generation. Separate bins for separate waste can be installed around classrooms for proper waste collection. To further reinforce learning, teachers should talk to students about the benefits of recycling.
Arrange Seminars and Debates
Teachers should arrange talks and debates on environmental issues. The topics should be adopted according to the age and maturity of the school kids. The emphasis should be to make kids understand that environmental problems affect all, and every individual’s participation is needed to tackle the challenges.
Environmental education is now a pillar of the primary education system. Given the current state of nature, environmental education takes a more critical role. School children need to understand the importance of nature, its resources and its plant and animal life. Only then can they really involve wholeheartedly in the care and preservation of the environment? Teachers in this regard play a significant role. They are the ones who could shape the minds of young ones from early days to be responsible towards nature. They have to assume the responsibility of instilling the values and ethics needed to protect the environment.