How to Understand and Implement Environmental Education in Japanese High Schools
In Japan, after World War II, the school education system of 6-3-3-4, that is, primary school 6 years, intermediate school 3 years, high school 3 years, and university (undergraduate) 4 years, was adopted. In high schools, there are five basic subjects: foreign language, Japanese language, mathematics, natural science, and social study. Pollution problems, such as Minamata and Itai-itai diseases, occurred in Japan in the 1960s, and recently “Kogai” (environmental pollution) education was included in social studies in high schools. However, the elementary basis for environmental education should be natural science and then gradually extended. Every teacher, no matter what subjects he or she teaches, should have an interest in, and ability to teach about, topics related to environmental education. For that, a manual of environmental education, including a philosophy of human environment, examples of environmental education, etc., would be very helpful.
In the field of natural science there are two ways of approaching the human environment. One is its inclusion in each of the following subjects: physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science, and the other is an integrated treatment in natural science. Under the new education system of Japan, the latter is adopted in the first year class as a general science course, while the former is adopted in the second and third year classes. Both treatments in natural science, along with other environment-oriented subjects, would be most effective in high schools.
KeywordsNatural Science Earth Science Environmental Education Human Environment Study Item
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