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MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Environmental Education

If you believe in the importance of helping students be responsible stewards of our Earth, you’ll love this: studies show that environmental education in PreK–12 settings can also improve students’ academic performance across subjects, enhance their critical thinking skills, boost their confidence and autonomy, and increase civic engagement. In other words, as an environmental educator, you can offer lessons that mean the world. See what happens when you become a specialist in the study of the Earth’s environment with Concordia’s MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Environmental Education program.

In our fully online program, you’ll gain skills to successfully evaluate alternative viewpoints related to environmental issues. You will explore the connection between transformative education practices and problem-solving methods, as well as environmental literacy—how daily choices help or harm the environment.

Accredited, nonprofit, and taught by practitioners, all of Concordia’s online MEd programs reflect the same meaningful experience we’ve been delivering on campus since 1905. The convenience of 100 percent online, clearly defined coursework—paired with realistic deadlines and the ability to immediately apply what you learn in your classroom—makes our programs ideal for busy lifestyles. And the potential career benefits—from higher pay to promotions—are second only to the reward of having an everlasting impact on the lives of your students.

Step 1 of 3: What type of student are you?

Step 2 of 3: What would you like to study?

Portland Campus: Classes taught entirely at Concordia University-Portland.

Accelerated Online: Classes taught 100% online. MEd programs complete in 1 year. EdD programs complete in 3 years.

Flex Online: For online students who want to go at a slower pace - MEds can be completed in 18-36 months.

Hybrid: Students take some classes online and some at Concordia University-Portland.

Step 3 of 3: Get info about this program

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100% online
100% online (no in-person field work required)
One year
Earn your MEd in one year, one class at a time, with built-in breaks
Updated curriculum
Curriculum is up-to-date and relevant
NWCCU
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Respected
Concordia is one of the most respected names in learning today
Positive career benefits
87% of our online MEd grads report positive career benefits as a result of their degree
10,000-strong alumni
10,000-strong alumni network
Satisfaction
93% of our online MEd grads say they are satisfied with their overall academic program experience

MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Environmental Education Program Goals

In addition to meeting the objectives and requirements for the MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Environmental Education online degree program, successful candidates will also demonstrate:
Expertise in Evaluating Progress

Expertise in Evaluating Progress

Expertise in the utilization of new methods of authentic assessment and strategies as tools to evaluate student learning progress in relation to Oregon’s Common Core State Standards and specific district standards

Effective Instructional Skills

Effective Instructional Skills

Effective instructional skills in planning, implementing, and assessing instruction in settings that include diverse cultural populations and special needs students

Classroom Diversity Skills

Classroom Diversity Skills

An understanding of the ways that the specific curricular/instructional area has the potential to be responsive to classroom diversity

Moral Leadership

Moral Leadership

A clear understanding of the moral leadership required of them as advanced scholars in the chosen area of curriculum and instruction

Differentiation

Differentiation

he ability to modify instructional plans and promote alternative goals and strategies when necessary, particularly in relation to assessment results

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

The MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Environmental Education is a 30 credit-hour program

MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Core Courses
12 credits

This course will provide teachers with the resources and skills necessary to integrate character themes and character development into their school curriculum. It provides a forum in which to discuss and develop one's own moral perspectives on the basis of generally accepted criteria.

This course is designed to provide leaders with the latest psychological research about learning and guide them in exploring ways to directly apply these precepts to their current work setting. Topics will include cognitive science, learning theory, and relevant teaching theories that utilize this information. The course will fuse the latest biological and psychological understanding of how the brain learns so candidates can harness this knowledge and apply it directly to learning situations.
Relationships constructed on trust are critical for an efficient, collegial, collaborative workplace. This course challenges candidates to confront the tremendous diversity in their current environment and develop strategies to build community in the midst of the social, ethnic, economic and alternative lifestyle differences that permeate today's 21st century workplace. In sum, this course stresses the critical importance of creating community in the workplace and illustrates how that community, once established, can generate an efficient, supportive, and positive work place.

Candidates identify, review, and analyze major trends and issues impacting the contemporary state and national educational scenes. Each class session provides students with an opportunity to evaluate the advantages and liabilities of current educational reforms and issues from the perspective of prevailing educational research as well as from their own personal beliefs and current work environment. Candidates will also consider how they can impact and influence change in their own workplace.

 

Please note: Completing a Master of Education degree program does not lead to state certification or licensure. The MEd is not designed or intended to lead in any way toward a teaching license, endorsement, or administrative credential.

MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Environmental Education
12 credits
This course is a study of the environmental history of Earth starting with an examination of the past "status of nature," what the earth's past can contribute to an understanding of what may happen in the future, and continuing through to the earth's status today. Common, underlying themes that contribute to a study of the environment will be explored, such as thinking of the earth in terms of "systems" and interdependence; that is, everything on earth is connected to everything else. The targeted outcome for students in this course is well­ developed environmental literacy.
This course will develop the skills of critical thinking, self-discovery and problem solving, all essential to learning about and evaluating alternative points of view relative to both local and global environmental issues. Advocacy for a particular viewpoint or course of action is not considered in this course but, rather, learning about and investigating the environment in order to make informed decisions relative to each individual's role as a responsible steward of the Earth and its natural resources. Throughout the examination of environmental issues conducted in this course, close adherence to the fairness and accuracy recommendation of the North American Association's Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence (1996, revised 2004) will be maintained.
This course focuses on the systematic instruction of environmental education, taught through an age-appropriate, coherent sequence. The continued relevance of teaching and learning techniques originated in nature study and outdoor education ---nature trails, wilderness education, and outdoor classrooms --- are examined through first-hand experiences. The North American Association for Environmental Education's Guidelines for Excellence (1996, revised 2004) six key characteristics, used to guide the development or selection of comprehensive, high quality environmental education curricula, will be studied. In addition, strategies that can be utilized in teaching environmental education across the curricula --- including language arts, math, social studies and science --- are presented.
Students will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be informed and transformative leaders in environmental education.

Please note: Completing a Master of Education degree program does not lead to state certification or licensure. The MEd is not designed or intended to lead in any way toward a teaching license, endorsement, or administrative credential.

Research Course 1
3 credits

This course provides students with the basic competencies necessary to understand and evaluate the research of others, and to plan their own research with a minimum of assistance. This course includes the basics of both qualitative and quantitative research.

The Master of Education culminates with the choice of either EDGR 698-Action Research or EDGR 696-Practitioner Inquiry. Either option provides candidates with an understanding of the role of research in the field of education as a tool to solve problems and as a way to improve student learning.

SELECT ONE CAPSTONE COURSE:

Research Course 2
3 credits   Select one of the following:

Practitioner Inquiry focuses on the reflective acts of the candidate as an educator seeking to improve teaching practice. Premised in the self-study research methodological traditions (Samaras, 2011), Practitioner Inquiry provides the opportunity to reflect on teaching practice and generate improvements based on classroom observation. Practitioner Inquiry focuses on the educator and her/his own practices, developing skills of inquiry, observation, reflection, and action in teachers. Prerequisite: Successful completion of EDGR 601 Educational Research

Action research is one of the capstone projects for the Master of Education program. During this five-week course, candidates will learn more about the action research methodology, complete final edits of the Literature Review, and design a complete Action Research proposal including data collection methods and analysis approaches. (During this course, the proposal will NOT be implemented with students/participants.)
This design provides students with the requisite skills and means to pursue the transformative practice called "Action Research" in their classroom, school, district or other work environment. The design method for the capstone project closely aligns with current classroom realities, with district and school requirements, and the needs of teachers and students.

Please note: Completing a Master of Education degree program does not lead to state certification or licensure. The MEd is not designed or intended to lead in any way toward a teaching license, endorsement, or administrative credential.

ON-CAMPUS/HYBRID OPTIONS

In addition to fully online, Concordia offers several Master of Education programs in an on-campus or hybrid format. See the options here.

Is the MEd in Environmental Education concentration right for me?

Consider choosing this path if:

  • You want your students to understand what it means to be a responsible steward of the Earth and its natural resources
  • You’re looking to develop your critical thinking, self-discovery, and problem-solving skills when it comes to environmental issues
  • You’d like to hone your environmental literacy overall

Still unsure? We know we offer a lot of programs! Let’s talk more about your professional and personal goals.

Child Learning
If you are an educator sitting on the fence about getting your master’s, go through Concordia. The online program was easy to implement into my schedule and it made my life so much better. As educators, we should always be trying to figure out what the next step is or how we can better ourselves so we can influence our students.
DEBBIE DOYLE, MEd in Curriculum & Instruction:
STEAM '18

MORE ON THE TOPIC OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

What makes this program so relevant today

From the early 19th century, we began publicly extolling the virtues of nature, and exploring man’s relationship with it:

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature (1836) and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854) led a generation of transcendental naturists.
  • John Muir (1838–1914) created the Sierra Club, a conservation group still in existence today.
  • After World War II, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden, publishing a list of 26 environmental principles — one of which included “education in environmental matters.”
  • Rachel Carson’s infamous text Silent Spring (1962) alerted everyone to the dangers of manufacturing and pest-control chemicals in our environment.
  • The 1960s saw political action for the conservation of lands, animals and for the responsible disposal of hazardous materials. Earth Day was started, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) became the law of the land.
  • The famous Tbilisi Declaration was created at an international governmental conference in 1977 and it laid out what Environmental Education should entail. This was revised by the United Nations in the 1990s (see next section).

The period from the 1980s to the present day has seen a push and pull of environmental policy, led by political interests and a contentious debate on the validity of Climate Change science.

Source: Summarized from The History and Philosophy of Environmental Education by Robert L. Carter and Bora Simmons

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization created an international set of environmental education objectives in 1996 that are still followed today. These objectives are to improve:

Awareness: help social groups and individuals acquire awareness and sensitivity towards the environment; respond to issues, questions and problems related to environmental education and development

Knowledge: help individuals, groups, and societies gain a variety of experience in, and acquire a basic understanding of, what is required to create and maintain a sustainable environment

Attitudes: help individuals, groups, and societies acquire a set of values and feelings of concern for the environment, and the motivation to actively participate in protection of the environment

Skills: help individuals, groups, and societies acquire the skills for identifying, anticipating, preventing and solving environmental problems

Participation: provide individuals, groups, and societies with an opportunity and the motivation to be actively involved at all levels in creating a sustainable environment

Source: UNESCO-UNEP Environmental Education Newsletter Vol.1, No1 (January 1996).

  • Communities benefit from conservancy, preservation, and environmental rehabilitation
  • Students learn to serve, protect, and participate with their communities
  • EE promotes citizenship and social responsibility among learners
  • EE promotes activity outside of the classroom, allowing students to unplug and interact with nature
  • EE influences learners to consider the long-term condition of the world they will inherit
  • EE is helpful for students with learning disabilities, attention deficits, and for whom traditional classroom learning is challenging. Nature becomes a “working laboratory” for learners.
  • Students become real-world problem-solvers
  • Environmental programs are proven to increase academic performance

Sources: Project Learning Tree, National Environmental Education Foundation, Environment-Based Education: Creating High Performance Schools and Students. Washington, DC: National Environmental Education Foundation, 2000-Sep. And Taylor, Andrea Faber & Kuo, Frances E. Children with attention deficits concentrate netter after walk in the park. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2008

Our Environmental Education concentration will prepare you to introduce ecological stewardship in PreK-12 settings. You’ll learn:

  • The environmental history of Earth
  • Current environmental issues and debates
  • Advocacy and investigation related to environmental issues
  • Systematic instruction of environmental education taught through an age-appropriate, coherent sequence
  • Knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed and transformative leader in environmental education
  • Cognitive science, learning theory, and relevant teaching theories
  • How to build community within social, ethnic, economic, and alternative lifestyle differences
  • How to identify, review, and analyze major trends and issues impacting state and national education initiatives

CAREER OUTCOMES

See where an MEd focused on environmental education could take you

Planning to stay in your current teaching job? Many MEd graduates do! But in addition to potential benefits like increased salary and more self-confidence, an MEd could also expand your career opportunities within the education industry.

Potential careers include:

  • Director, department of parks & recreation
  • Park ranger
  • Environmental education program lead, department of parks & recreation
  • Environmental education docent
  • Environmental education consultant, water treatment agency
  • Higher education instructor: environmental education learning and teaching
  • Consultant/advisor in teaching environmental education
  • Professional development (K–12), environmental education
  • Environmental education community leader
  • Program director, environmental education (K–12)
  • Learning & teaching environmental education advisor to state legislatures/Congress
  • Curriculum director, environmental education
  • Division or department chair, environmental education (K–12, higher education)
  • Educator, environmental or outdoor center
  • Outdoor trip leader, Outward Bound, National Outdoor Leadership School, other such programs
  • Program director/manager, outdoor center, environment center, environmental organization, conservation group
  • Lobbyist, environmental organization, conservation group
  • Lead fund raiser, environmental organization, conservation group, foundation

(Some states may require specific licensure for some of these positions. Check with your state’s Department of Education for more details.)

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