Greening Education


Study programs and study hours in environment subjects

In Kibbutzim College, besides the two paths of environmental studies towards afirst degree and a second degree, there are courses about the environment in the science studies of the Department of Elementary Education. There are also many electives that deal with environmental issues open to all the students in the college.

A. Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in biology with emphasis on the environment and democratic education

This unique program for educators, social workers and environment workers is operated by Kibbutzim College with the cooperation of the Institute of Democratic Education. The purpose of the program is to train educators who are able to understand and empathize with others and at the same time can express their own ideas self-confidently. We invite educators with an aptitude for dialogue of a complex nature, yet with a critical sense of reality and the ability to lead the way towards necessary changes, including those that concern our attitudes toward the natural environment.

A. Gaining skills in management and entrepeneurship in the fields of education and the environment
B. Building a personal/educational philosophy of life
C. Majoring in biology and chemistry, earth sciences, environment, education, society, democracy
D. Developing skills to teach science with emphasis on the environment

The program is based on the following three main components:

A. Biology and chemistry studies with emphasis on environment
B. Studies in education, emphasizing environmental and democratic education
C. Teacher training

Biology is the disciplinary anchor of the program and provides the foundation for understanding environment. The biology curriculum includes two main paths: general studies in the life sciences and environmental studies. The program also includes earth sciences like geology and climate. The studies include field trips, outside activities and study camps.

Democratic education is founded on a set of relationships and dialogues between members of a learning community. It encourages students to take active positions in society. Environmental education is education toward democratic values that deals with the relationship between the individual, society and the environment. The goal of environmental education is to encourage the student to act to change the environment based on information, understanding and awareness of environmental problems and to use judgement in any form of environmental action or defence of the environment. Students crystallize ideas about the environment during the course, as they learn about environmental activities, and through their personal experiences.

The component of teacher training includes didactic workshops, practice teaching in a school that specializes in nature and environment and preparing projects on environmental issues. (details of the project in chapter C)

The following are examples of courses included in the program: Environmental Activism, Environmental Thinking, Environmental Quality in Israel, Preserving Nature, Biology and Environment, Biological Diversity in Israel, Practical Ecology in the Arava, Marine Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Introduction to Ecology, Avian Ecology, Judaism and the Environment

For additional details, see the Bachelor of Education in Biology website.

B. Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Environmental Education

The graduate degree in environmental education opens wide horizons to fundamental problems in environment. The program integrates various subjects from the natural and life sciences, social sciences, behavioral and educational sciences.

The program is based on the following three main components:

A. The scientific component:
The program includes courses in a variety of natural science disciplines that are connected with the environment. The goal is to expand existing knowledge and add new fields with which students were not familiar. The fields of knowledge in the program are theoretical and applied ecology, geography, environmental biology, chemistry of the soil and the atmosphere, and geology. In each course, the environmental aspect is stressed.
B. The educational component: The program offers courses dealing with the philosophic, the epistomologic and the ethical aspects of environmental education. It advances teaching and learning of environmental subjects with the intention of transferring knowledge, strengthening convictions and inducing awareness of environmental issues.
C. The public – social component: The program promotes awareness of environmental issues and encourages involvement in them. Courses that address social and community issues relevant to environmental quality in Israel are included in the program for students and academic staff.

This program also opens up possibilities for professional advancement:

A. Environmental studies departments in the high schools which were established by the Ministry of Education are in dire need of teachers.
B. Other opportunities in formal education frameworks include directing environmental activity, leading field trips, and taking responsibility for extra-curricular activities in schools.
C. Consulting related to environmental education activities in informal educational frameworks and/or carrying out the activity in practice provide employment opportunities for specialists in environmental education.
D. The association for the protection of nature and the town councils are examples of public bodies, that deal with environmental issues and are in need of experts in environmental education.

The following are examples of courses included in the program: Earth Systems A, Earth Systems B, Biological Diversity: ecological principles and their implementation, Introduction to hydrology and water resources in Israel, Environmental microbiology, Global and local aspects of air quality, Water pollution and its control, Environmental disasters, Environmental research methods, Selected topics in environmental research, Principles of environmental education, Politics and environment, Environmental policies in Israel, Environmental ethics.

C. Nature and environmental studies as part of the science major for students of elementary education and special education

The science major for students of elementary education aims to train skilled teachers in the sciences for elementary schools. The objective of the program is to introduce the concepts which they as teachers will use to help their pupils observe and understand the world around them, develop independent ideas, a critical attitude and analytical ability. These skills and abilities will serve them well as citizens in the modern world. The studies in this major cover a wide range of subjects: the animal and plant world in Eretz Yisrael, ecology, natural resources, sustainability in education, earth sciences, genetics, weather phenomena, characteristics of matter, etc. Studies are characterized by experiential elements such as field trips, visits to museums and to various factories. Theoretical studies are combined with practical work in the field.

The following are examples of courses included in the program: Education for sustainability, Ecological systems, Climate.

For additional details – visit the Science Major website.

D. Environmental studies for all students in the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) programs

Students studying for the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in any of the College departments can choose from the following electives:

*Sustainability – David Dunitz – A workshop for honor students. During the course of the workshop students are exposed to various aspects of entrepreneurship, they have the opportunity to meet investors in sustainability from Israel and abroad, and prepare a plan of an envisioned undertaking as a final project.

*Directions in educational thought – David Dunitz--A course suited for all students of elementary education. During the course students are exposed to environmental and social entrepreneurship on campus, in Israel and abroad, and to new sustainable, social and educational practices.

*Entrepreneurship – David Dunitz--The course is designed for students of elementary education in their second year of studies.

* The animal and plant world –year round – Rina Litvak, Abie Erez, Dr. Lea Eckstein, Dr. Nirit Asaf.
This course is suited for all students of early childhood education. The course introduces students to the botanic and zoologic world around us throughout the year and acquaints students with basic biological and ecological concepts including principles of sustainability.

*The garden in education - Dr. Nirit Asaf. This course is suited for all students of early childhood education. The course offers students theoretical and practical instruction about planting and maintaining an educational garden in a kindergarten. The goals of the course include learning about the interaction between plants and their biotic and abiotic environments, and understanding man’s relation to nature.

*Designing for sustainability – Yair Angel. This course is directed at students of design in the school for arts and technology in the college. Its goal is to present the sustainability side of design. Students in this department may also prepare a final project with an environmental theme.

E. Future plans in the educational field

E1. A major in sustainability for students of elementary education
Project director –Dr. Nurit Dvir
The program objectives include providing knowledge in sustainability and the environment, stimulating awareness among the students and lecturers of these subjects, inducing students to initiate “greening“ enterprises, and preparing a pedagogical base for education towards sustainability in the elementary school. Methods will include social involvement, conference days, educational trips, green campus quizes, opening additional courses in sustainability and environment, and intensifying study of these subjects in existing courses. In 2011 a special course in sustainability will open for all students of elementary education. In addition, in September, a course,“Education for sustainability“ will open, for third year students of elementary education who are majoring in science.

E2. Education for sustainability and love of nature for students of early childhood education
Project director: Dr. Sharon Tzechover
Education for sustainability in early childhood, means creating meaningful educational surroundings for the children in an envronment that provides the needs of the child for personal development. The main objective of the project is creating an humanistic atmosphere where there is opportunity for initiative and choice.The means to achieve this objective are by developing a new learning program for early childhood educators, that includes the exciting experience of watching the vegetable garden grow, nurturing it as the seasons change, connecting with domestic animals and learning their needs, developing awareness of natural resources, consumption and waste.
In 2011 a new course called Studying Garden will be offered to students of early childhood education. It will deal with the mutual relations between man and the environment. In the framework of the course the students and the instructor will create a garden on the college grounds. This will serve as a model for future gardens in kindergartens. Next year, 2012, we plan to open a course which treats the relationship between young children and animals. We are examining the possibility of opening a mini corner for animals. This could serve students and lecturers of the course as well as interested visitors to the college. In the first stage the mini corner for small and medium sized animals would be set up on the college grounds. In the future, it could be enlarged to include the types of animals found today on the college grounds: cats, birds, butterflies, ants etc.
In 2013 a course titled, Sustainability Early Childhood Educators, will open.