Significance of Environmental Studies

Significance of Environmental Studies - Syllabus and Study Material

Environmental Studies has been given due place in our school education programmed by being made as a compulsory subject. Not only that more and more emphasis is now being paid over the scientific and technical education. By doing so infact a right step has been taken to push our country forward and to enable us to compete with other progressive nations. It has necessitated to lay due emphasis on the teaching of environmental studies right from the primary stage. Realising such need Kothari Commision has very rightly remarked in their recommendation as follows:

“Science and Mathematics should be taught on a compulsory basis to all pupils as a part of general education during the first ten years of schooling.”

The question here may arise that why the subject environmental studies has been given so much weightage as to be taught compulsorily during the ten years of one’s school life. The answer may be satisfactorily discovered in its various uses,
Applications and Advantages

  • Utilitarian value of day to day use: Modern age is environmental studies age. We see a network of scientific gadgets based on latest scientific inventions all around us.
  • Intellectual value: The study of environmental studies provides us the opportunity of developing our mental faculties of reasoning, imagination, memory, observation, concentration, analysis, originality and of systematic thinking. Science gives us the insight which enables us to search the truth and the reality of nature around us. We are able to do useful work with the help of wisdom acquired through environmental studies. Science does not permit us to accept anything which we can not prove by actual observation, reasoning and experimentation. The querie like ‘why’ and ‘how’ of all problems and phenomena can be satisfactorily answered only by the wisdom of environmental studies.
  • Disciplinary value: Environmental Studies develops our personality as a whole. It inculcates spirit of enquiry, seriousness, and systematic thinking. It brings about total transformation of one’s view point and makes thought process more organized. Science makes us think seriously and helps to observe the real nature of the problem. It helps us to judge all the good and bad points, together, which the gain and loss likely to be incurred in the plan of action contemplated.
  • Cultural value: Before we discuss the cultural value of environmental studies, let us try to understand what is culture. According to the great Indian poet Dinkar, ‘culture is the way of life which has been handed over to society from one generation to another in the form of accumulated customs, habits and mode of living. The mode and style of living is different from one society to another and therefore their culture is also not the same.
  • Moral value: Some people believe that Environmental studies is responsible for lack of faith in God, but in reality the situation is reverse. No doubt that environmental studies does not permit blind faith. It also does not admit faith in idol worship nor follows many useless customs.
  • Aesthetic value: Environmental Studies is beauty, art, a source of entertainment and a successful means of attaining physical comforts.
    Can you imagine the joy and bliss of Graham Bell inventor of ‘telephone’, when his words were clearly heard on the other side by Watson. The words were, “Watson, come here. I want you.” When, Watson heard these words, he rushed to the room of Graham Bell shouting, “I have clearly heard your message.” The joy and satisfaction they got from their successful invention was similar to the joy got by Archimedes from his discovery that he became totally oblivious of his nacked body while coming out of the public bath and ran on the streets shouting ‘Eureka’.
    One gets extreme joy on one’s successful discovery or invention. Even the study of environmental studies is a source of great pleasure, when one gets answers to his questions about the mysteries of nature.
  • Social value: Environmental Studies is of great value to society. Science makes a man a useful citizen. Science gives impetus to the progress of society by it new thoughts and inventions.
  • Vocational value: Environmental Studies has opened vast vistas of vocations, because scientific principles and inventions have become so universal and pervasive in our daily life. Scientific inventions have now helped widely all the traditional vocations nowadays like – agriculture, poultry farming and dairy farming. Science has also revolutionized modern vocations like – telephone, radio and television broad – casting.
  • Psychological value: Study of environmental Studies fulfils the psychological fulfills of man and helps in evolution of natural curiosity” and other instincts like instinct, of collection, ego, self expression. The instincts of curiosity is responsible for the urge of investigation, experimentation and research. In this way the study of environmental studies develops all the latent faculties of a child.
  • Training in scientific method: Scientific method used in solving scientific problems is also helpful in solving other problems of life.

The following thought-processes are involved in solving a scientific problem.

  • The nature and aim of the problem.
  • Analysis of the problem.
  • Testing the validity of the various solutions of the problem.
  • ‘Testing of the results through application in other problems of similar nature.
  • The result thus obtained is accepted as scientific principle and law.

The above thought processes and method are also needed in solving all problems of daily life. First we try to understand the nature of the problem. Then after thinking of various solutions, we test them and finally accept one solution after examining its validity and correctness.

Whether we consider from personal or social point of view, the study of environmental studies has its special importance. The joy and bliss are obtained from successful investigation of scientific problems but in addition it also gives children self-confidence and insight for solving any life-problem facing them. In brief the study of environmental studies gives us self-confidence and teaches us to lead a, successful and meaningful life.

In fact, Environmental Studies is essential for the progress of our society and nation. By studying Environmental Studies we can make our social life happy and comfortable by leading a healthy life and by gaining from public welfare activities based on environmental studies.

General science should be taught compulsorily in all classes. It needs not to be a detailed or extensive one involving depth study of the scientific facts and principles. It should be in the form of day to day science for everyone to help him in understanding his, self and his environment for leading a happy life. The learning experiences for the general science course may be taken from the different areas and branches of science like physics, chemistry, botany, geology, health and hygiene and astronomy, etc. However, proper care should be taken in the selection of the learning experiences from the different braches as well as its presentation in a proper integrated way. The organization of these experiences must demonstrate unity in diversity in every shape and form like the different flowers of a garland or pearls of a neckless. In adopting integrated approach for, the organization of the subject matter in general science course the recommendations made at the Tara Devi (Simla Hills) seminar, for dividing it with the following five units, are worth mentioning.

  • Our surroundings
  • Nature of things
  • Energy and work
  • Life and
  • Human machine.

For the students who want to go ahead with the specialized study in one or the other branches of environmental studies there may be provision of choosing any three subjects out of the wide choices in the form of physics, chemistry, botany, geology, agriculture, astronomy, mathematics, etc. In framing curriculum or learning experiences for these specializations care should be taken as to provide sufficiently specialized, detailed and depth study for enabling the students to carry on further higher studies in these specialized subjects.

Integrated Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies in its various forms and shapes helps us to understand ourselves and the environment around us. However, this task to understand ourselves and the environment is not so simple as it appears otherwise. To facilitate and serve the purpose in a better way, therefore, attempts are the environmental studies into some distinctive branches like Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, Botany, Microbiology, Astronomy, Medical Science, etc. Such division helps in the deep and thorough study of the specific area covered by a particular branch and ultimately in this way one may be led in a proper way to understand one-self and his environment.

Integrated approach v/s Disciplinary Approach in Environmental Studies Teaching

In our schools for the teaching of environmental studies, we have so far followed an integrated approach. As a result we have been teaching environmental studies in an integrated way through the subject ‘General Science’ instead of teaching it in the form of separate branches like Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology etc. The arguments favouring such type of integrated approach in the teaching of environmental studies run as under:

  • In our day life we use environmental studies in an integrated way and not in the form of specialized fragmented pieces of knowledge.
  • What one needs in his day to day life is the knowledge and skills related with some basic facts and principles of environmental studies. One does not need the specialized and deep knowledge as advocated and contained in the specialized branches of environmental studies. Therefore, for most of us general environmental studies of everyday ‘use and also by being essentially elementary and simple in comprehension.

It is on account of the above grounds that environmental studies in our schools in the past has been taught in the form of ‘General Environmental Studies’ by taking all the essential useful topics related with the day life activities and needs from the different branches and areas of environmental studies. However, this type of integrated approach has been a subject of considerable criticism on account of the changed circumstances. Today there has been a tremendous increase in the body of environmental studies and also its impact is now felt in each and every sphere of our life. Looking at the all round development in the field of environmental studies and technological advancement and consequently considering our growing dependence on the knowledge and skills of environmental studies the study in the form of ‘General Science’ going on in our schools has become out of tune. It cannot prepare the future citizens for keeping pace with the latest development in the field of environment studies and technology. In case we need so, we will have to bring a change in our approach of teaching science in our schools.

Consequently, the integrated approach is now being replaced by disciplinary approach. Instead of teaching environmental studies in the form of a mere combination of, some fragmented pieces of knowledge in the name of ‘General Science’, we have started to teach it in the form of the separate specialized branches like Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, etc. It has helped in studying with minute details and going deep in particular branch. With the adoption of 10+2 system, the disciplinary approach is gaining momentum. The different branches of science for this purpose are being put into two groups, namely, physical sciences and life sciences.

The Physical Science group includes those branches of science which are related with the study of non-living material such as Physics and Chemistry etc. In the life sciences group we include the branches dealing with the study of living beings like, humans, animals, birds and plants etc. Thus the branches like Botany, Zoology, etc. comprise this group.

The grouping of the environmental studies subjects in the two district group, physical and life sciences and adoption of disciplinary approach with regard to science teaching have thus necessiated to bring essential changes in the ways and means of training teachers in our training colleges. Instead of training them as a teacher to teach, ‘General Science’ we have started to train them separately as the teacher of environmental studies, them to teach the subjects falling in the group physical and life sciences separately. The pupil teachers who, have a non-medical background i.e., those who have offered Physics and Chemistry in their degree examination are being asked to take teaching subject. On the other hand the pupil “teachers who belongs to medical group, i.e., those who; have offered Botany, Zoology etc. in their degree examination studies as one of their teaching subject. These both categories of teacher, trainees need to be given different” learning experiences and training opportunities for teaching physical or life sciences.

The question at this stage arises, what provisions can be actually made to sciences teachers. When we come on the practical ground, it is being observed that, although the contents of the subjects belonging to these groups differ significantly, there seems no significant difference with regard to the methodology, devices, techniques and strategies adopted for the teaching of physical and life sciences. Therefore, when we try to discuss such essential teaching concepts, we come across with the duplicacy and repetition. Consequently it seems wiser to discuss the methodology of teaching physical and life sciences under one single heading of ‘teaching sciences’. Considering the above hard fact, attempts have been made in this text to include all what can be said separately for the teaching of physical sciences and the teaching of life sciences under a single combined title ‘teaching of science’. Consequently the questions how to teach physical sciences and life sciences are being answered in the coming pages with a common name science incorporating a common scientific terminology.
Environmental Studies & Environmental Education

Environmental Education is the new areas of study of the discipline of education. With recent developments and advances, Environmental education is virtually a new source of concern for educators, teachers and students. As with the rapid development in reach area, there are problems – both internal and external ones – to be confronted and resolved. The area of ‘Environmental Education’ has been discussed thoroughly at several national and international seminars, workshops and conferences. Most of the people have recognized the urgent need of Environment Education, but only some have clear ideas and understands about the meaning, purpose, needs and the courses of ‘content of environment’ and ‘education’ has been provided in the earlier chapters. It is evident from the discussion that the process of ‘development’ is common in both the concepts. Education is defined the process of development, and environment is the aggregate of all the external conditions and influences affecting the life and development of man and other living organism. Every organism has its environment. Man’s environment consists of natural as well as sociocultural environment. Education can change and improve the quality of man’s environment for desirable modification of his behaviour.

Bernard has illustrated the relationship of environment and education. The educational process of development is organized formally in the educational institutions’ classroom, where an interaction takes place between teacher and taught. A teacher performs certain in activities verbally and non-verbally to generate conductive social and emotional climate to provide the new experiences to his students for desirable changes and modifications in their behaviour, thus process of development takes place in schools.

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1 Comment

  1. Ruban jayagar

    I need some study materials for the preparation of ctet paper2, kindly guide me.


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