Environmental & Sustainability Education

Note: Candidates can only add this specialty endorsement to an existing teaching certificate (WAC 181-82A-207).

1.0  Environmental and Sustainability Education Content

Teachers know and critically analyze the historical development, purposes, interdisciplinary nature, defining characteristics, and guiding principles of environmental and sustainability education. As a result, candidates will provide evidence to demonstrate an understanding of:

1.A The ecological, economic, and social dimensions of sustainability.
1.B The interconnectedness of and significant changes occurring within and among local to global ecological, economic, and social systems.
1.C How culture influences people’s interactions with the natural and built (human constructed) environment.
1.C.1 Environmental justice, including the causes of inequitable distribution of resources and impacts over time.
1.C.2 The various ways humans perceive, learn, and live in the environment, including those of the Indigenous peoples of our region.
1.C.3 The role of media and technology on environmental and sustainability issues and actions.
1.D How to evaluate a variety of natural and human systems for sustainability.
1.D.1 The basic principles and tools of various systems thinking methodologies including ecological and organizational models as they apply to environmental and sustainability education.
1.D.2 Interdisciplinary inquiry methods appropriate for investigating environmental and sustainability issues.
1.D.3 How they are connected to the communities in which they live (place-based learning). They employ geographic understanding to describe and analyze ecological, economic, social, and historical relationships.
1.E The need for action on specific environmental and sustainability issues. They identify and facilitate action projects, and evaluate potential outcomes of those action projects.
1.F How environmental and sustainability related policies are developed, implemented and interrelated.
1.F.1 How local, national, and international cooperation is necessary to address environmental and sustainability issues.
1.G Current and emerging career paths in environmental and sustainability fields.

2.0 Environmental and Sustainability Education Instructional Methodology 

Teachers use the unique features of environmental and sustainability education in the design and enrichment of curricula and school programs. They teach and assess environmental and sustainability curricula and create stimulating and motivating learning environments. As a result, candidates will provide evidence to demonstrate an ability to:

2.A Align environmental and sustainability curriculum and instruction with district, state, and national standards.
2.B Integrate environmental and sustainability education with standards-based curricula and  school programs.
2.C Develop and implement curricula, including projects, which are relevant to students’ lives and others within local and global communities.
2.D Employ effective strategies for environmental and sustainability education inside and outside the classroom.
2.D.1 Teach a variety of inquiry methodologies including place-based learning, field investigation, and action research.
2.D.2 Teach the use of graphs and models to represent data and communicate results of environmental and sustainability investigations.
2.D.3 Teach the basic principles and tools of systems thinking for learning about environmental and sustainability issues.
2.D.4 Use community resources to promote student learning about environmental and sustainability issues.
2.D.5 Facilitate students’ acquisition of media literacy to access, analyze, and create messages in a variety of forms.
2.D.6 Create a supportive environment where students are comfortable discussing and debating issues.
2.D.7 Use effective strategies for conducting investigations that are safe and environmentally sound.
2.D.8 Use a variety of formative and summative assessment tools appropriate for environmental and sustainability education.
2.E Facilitate students’ effective civic engagement for sustainable communities.

3.0 - Environmental and Sustainability Education Professional Competencies 

Teachers belong and contribute to the environmental and sustainability education professional community and understand that professional development is a life-long endeavor. As a result, candidates provide evidence that they:

3.A Identify the benefits and recognize the importance of belonging to a professional community engaged in environmental and sustainability education.
3.B Engage in professional development and/or leadership opportunities related to environmental and sustainability education.
3.C Provide accurate, balanced, and effective environmental and sustainability education instruction.
3.C.1 Critically analyze the theories and current research in environmental and sustainability education.
3.D Are able to articulate a rationale for environmental and sustainability education and reflect upon their role in the ongoing development of the field.