Dr. Tricia Seow

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Invited Speech: Learning to Take Action: Environmental Citizenship & Sustainability Education

Biography:

Assistant Head/ Humanities and Social Studies Academic Group
Co-Chair/ Sustainability Learning Lab
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University
Singapore

Dr Tricia Seow’s research interests include sustainability and environmental education in both classroom and field-based settings. She also actively engages in research related to teacher subject identities and professional practice. Dr Seow currently serves as an Assistant Head of the Humanities and Social Studies Academic Group and is co-chair of the Sustainability Learning Lab at the National Institute of Education. An active member of the geography and teaching fraternity, Dr Seow is a Core Team member of the Geography Subject Chapter, Academy of Singapore Teachers, and serves as the Honorary-General Secretary of the Southeast Asia Geographers Association.

Abstract:

What is the purpose of sustainability education? What should young people learn in their formative years? In this talk, I argue that sustainability education should prepare students for environmental citizenship, allowing them to participate in substantive debates related to environmental policy and regulation. It should also prepare youths to fulfil their obligations and duties in safeguarding the environment for the common good. There is general agreement that schools and higher institutions of learning should help young people develop the knowledge they will need to understand and engage with important environmental issues affecting society. This includes both scientific and environmental knowledge, as well as competences like data literacy - the collection, analysis and communication of relevant environmental data. Research in environmental education further suggests that students should learn about environmental management in an authentic manner. Inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning and experiential learning have become major pedagogical tools to this end.
While fostering such environmental knowledge and competencies is undoubtedly important to the nurturing of environmental citizens, I argue it is insufficient. Students, in fact, need to gain knowledge of how to take environmental action. Future environmental citizens need to gain practical experience in addressing environmental issues in the public sphere. Schools will need to take reach out to government, non-governmental and grassroots organisations to provide students with opportunities to identify authentic problems and implement context-based solutions. Drawing on research and experience in the Singapore context, I will provide examples of what sustainability education for environmental citizenship might look like.

Abstract

Dr Tricia Seow

What is the purpose of sustainability education? What should young people learn in their formative years? In this talk, I argue that sustainability education should prepare students for environmental citizenship, allowing them to participate in substantive debates related to environmental policy and regulation. It should also prepare youths to fulfil their obligations and duties in safeguarding the environment for the common good. There is general agreement that schools and higher institutions of learning should help young people develop the knowledge they will need to understand and engage with important environmental issues affecting society. This includes both scientific and environmental knowledge, as well as competences like data literacy - the collection, analysis and communication of relevant environmental data. Research in environmental education further suggests that students should learn about environmental management in an authentic manner. Inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning and experiential learning have become major pedagogical tools to this end.
While fostering such environmental knowledge and competencies is undoubtedly important to the nurturing of environmental citizens, I argue it is insufficient. Students, in fact, need to gain knowledge of how to take environmental action. Future environmental citizens need to gain practical experience in addressing environmental issues in the public sphere. Schools will need to take reach out to government, non-governmental and grassroots organisations to provide students with opportunities to identify authentic problems and implement context-based solutions. Drawing on research and experience in the Singapore context, I will provide examples of what sustainability education for environmental citizenship might look like.