Environmental Literacy

It has been identified that many students struggle with making connections and concluding information presented to them.

Is this a problem? YES! Why?

This is problematic because students are not using their critical literacy skills to question, and critically analyze the inequalities we see everyday. — In order for students to practice their critical thinking skills, students need to have something to connect with, or a schema to draw upon in order to connect their experiences with the material learned. Students also need to be given the opportunity to engage in activities that allow them to make a change or create sustainability. By doing so, students will be on their way in developing their environmental literacies where they can continue to question, infer, and synthesize a concept (Chambers, 2014)

Chambers, J., & Radbourne,C. (2014). Teaching Critical Literacy Skills Through the Natural Environment as Text. Applied Environmental Education & Communication. 13, 120–127.

Why is this important to know?

Research has shown that by implementing environmental literacy, we are “closing the gap”, specifically for marginalized populations (poverty, urban, racial and ethnic minorities). This is essential for all present and future teacher candidates as we have the ability to improve student’s achievement in the classroom.

This results in “higher order thinking” students in the specific area of problem solving, analysis, and observation. These are essential skills that students will be able to transfer to other subjects and take with them along their educational journey (Chambers, 2014).


Studies show that students who were exposed to a learning environment that was physical in nature (hiking, snowshoeing, outdoor inquiry) had a reduction in any negative behaviours that were previously identified. This led to an increase in social interactions between peers, leading to an overall positive learning environment for both the teacher and student (Chambers, 2014).