Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Environmental education: aren’t we forgetting something?
Next month the Fourth International Environmental Education Conference takes place in Ahmedabad, India. When I look at the ‘Tibilisi+30’ program, I wonder why I cannot find anything about learning in informal contexts. Lifelong learning is since the seventies one of UNESCO’s 'master concepts' that should shape educational systems worldwide. Since then we speak of formal, informal and non-formal education. 'King's College London' researcher Justin Dillon pointed me to the diagram on the website of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center. It shows how most learning during our life takes place in an informal environment. Moreover today we learn through TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, google, wikis, gaming, Youtube, Myspace, blogging, chat boxes, you name it. Learning is learning is learning, as Justin Dillon told me. So why no attention to this increasingly important sector? Are environmental educators only focused on schools, zoos and NGO fieldwork? If so aren’t they missing out on what is going on the real world? In any case this area is one where the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication is more and more interested in.