A Theory of Education as a Basis for Environmental Education

  • Joseph D. Novak
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 18)


Education can be improved if we design instruction and education research on the basis of a coherent theory that combines newer concepts from epistemology, psychology, and curriculum theory. The most crucial element in the theory is the nature of concepts and the role of concept learning (and concept using) as key elements in education. Concept is defined as a regularity in events designated by a sign or symbol. Events are anything that happen or can be made to happen.

The most important psychological factor is that we can only interpret events, records or transformations of records in terms of the concepts we possess. Since concept learning is an idiosyncratic, sequential process, highly dependent on the individual’s existing concepts at any point in time, instruction must be planned to begin with what the learner already knows and then to modify, extend and reconcile the learner’s concepts.

The events observed in environmental studies are complex; the concepts needed to select appropriate data recording and transforming procedures are numerous; and hence instruction in environmental studies may be substantially enhanced by clarification of epistemological, psychological and curriculum issues.


Environmental Education Instructional Material Concept Learning Knowledge Claim Shared Meaning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph D. Novak
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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