Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Culturally Responsive Environmental Education

Denver was lucky enough to be the site for the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) conference this year.

Even with the very wintery weather, hundreds of educators, teachers and school administrators made the the trek to the annual conference, the theme this year being "Name the Change You Wish to See."

Multicultural Education (MCE) or Culturally Responsive Education is just as applicable to non formal classroom settings or environments as it is to formal school districts. The backgrounds of students participating in outdoor or environmental programs are just as diverse as those in a city classroom.
Campers at a Central Park Summer Camp participate in a nature-based activity. Photo by Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers - Team East.

If you run a literature search for Multicultural Environmental Education (MEE), the findings are a bit limited, though there are are several case studies and assessment tools that look at the framework, intentions and outcomes of urban based environmental programs.

Here is a link to a cultural competency study conducted by the Barr Foundation in MA, looking at three urban-based environmental programs in the city of Boston: Understanding Cultural Competency.

A very comprehensive study, it reminds us that while environmental education is important and relevant to everyone, the environmental issues and values that people bring to the table are diverse and often culturally defined.

Anyway, enjoy the articles and, as always, leave your comments for us!

Have a great day,

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