Introduction

An Orientation to Environmental Education and the Handbook

Authored by: Robert B. Stevenson , Arjen E.J. Wals , Justin Dillon , Michael Brody

International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415892384
eBook ISBN: 9780203813331
Adobe ISBN: 9781136699313

10.4324/9780203813331.ch1

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Abstract

Although the field of environmental education (EE) has a history of over forty years—and much longer if forerunners such as nature study, outdoor and conservation education are included—it has received considerably more attention in recent years as contested notions of environment and sustainability have become common topics of conversation among the public, the subject of media interest, and the focus of much political debate and legislation. Systemic linkages between environment, health, climate, poverty, development, and education have become more widely accepted as the years have passed. Therefore, this handbook was developed at an opportune time to take stock of and consolidate what we know and don't know as a field, and to demarcate the limits of our (un)certainties. More specifically, the purpose of the handbook is not only to illuminate the most important understandings that have been developed by environmental education research, but also to critically examine the ways in which the field has changed over the decades, the current debates and controversies, what is still missing from the environmental education research agenda, and where that agenda might and could be headed in the future. Environmental education as a field of inquiry is conceptualized from a range of vantage points, including historical, theoretical, and ethical perspectives; discourse, policy, curriculum, learning, and assessment are examined from an EE-perspective; and key issues are raised of framing, doing, and assessing the missing voices in environmental education research.

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