Teaching Students Ecological Literacy In the Secondary English Classroom

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Teaching Students Ecological Literacy In the Secondary English Classroom


In today's world, we are bombarded with industry, economic advancement, and progressivism with new technology. As our world becomes more high tech and produces more products for our consumer world, we may soon face many environmental problems, due to our over-consumption of resources and our excessive, industrial lifestyles. Within all curriculums, I find it highly important to address these issues concerning environmental awareness as well as advocate environmental activism. When many educators think of ways to implement ecological literacy in their classrooms, they tend to find it challenging, and are unable to integrate it into the curriculum.
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Ecological literacy can be integrated in all subject curriculums, however, in a middle school or high school level English classroom, there are unlimited opportunities for educators to incorporate these important questions about the environment. The process of ecological literacy involves students engaging in their community and seeking their own answers to questions about their everyday practices in regards to the environment.

Integration of environmental education, or as its currently called, ecological literacy, can be very simple for educators. In every lesson or within any text used within a classroom, educators can teach students to examine their own practices and effects upon the environment. Students, within the English literature curriculum, can be asked questions such as, "What does it mean to live locally?" "What are some of the environmental problems in the world?" "Are we responsible for the environment?" "How much do we consume and produce?" "What does 'sustainability' mean?" and most importantly, "What can I do to help?" or "What lifestyle changes can I make to live more ecologically literate?" Now, for many educators, they may assume that these questions may be impossible to incorporate into the curriculum in an English classroom. For example, students may be reading Shakespeare, an author that is widely…