Jonathan Lash Chair and Assistant Professor of Environmental Education
Tim is driven by a belief that environmental education is essential to the well-being of individuals, societies, and the planet. As a learning scientist, his scholarship and teaching over the past 17 years have focused on designing and implementing curricula, across a variety of learning contexts, that foster environmental stewardship. He has worked collaboratively with many organizations and institutions including the Lawrence Hall of Science, the National Geographic Society, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Monterey Bay and New York Aquariums, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Tim's work has received funding from the National Science Foundation and has been published in peer-reviewed journals, academic books, and books for teachers and policy makers.
In all, he's been teaching for nearly 30 years across higher education, museum and aquarium education, and outdoor environmental education contexts on topics such as ecology and environmental issues, cognitive and socio- cultural learning theory, theoretically-grounded curriculum design, research methodologies, and the intersection of critical theory and environmental education practice.
Are you interested in teaching summer camp outdoors? Teaching nature classes in outdoor settings? Becoming an environmental educator? This course will teach you a variety of skills, knowledge, and instructional techniques. This course includes a "lab" session where you will: observe expert outdoor environmental educators, design one class/activity, and practice teaching. Lab sessions will be held at The Hitchcock Center for the Environment located on Hampshire's campus near the farm. Students must be willing/able to spend time teaching and learning outdoors. In addition to the practical components of this course, we will read and discuss academic writing on the topics of group management, instructional practice such as free-play and guided discovery, general learning theory, and how to design for learning. Prior coursework/knowledge of education and/or ecology is helpful but not required.
In this advanced-level course on environmental education, we will read seminal works on notions of place (Thoreau; Leopold), critical pedagogy (Freire), place-based education (Sobel), critical theory (hooks), and ecophilosophy. We will also read modern thinkers such as Gruenwald/Greenwood, Berry, Gough, and non-white, indigenous and gender diverse scholars LaDuke, Taylor, Hoffner and others. We will spend time in "places" (possibly including a field trip, or two) to investigate our own notions and perceptions thereof to connect the theory and practice. Students in this class will also participate in a whole-class, semester-long activity. Journaling, class discussion, class project participation, and writing a final paper will serve as forms of evaluation for this class. Note: this is an advanced level course intended for Div II (2nd or 3rd year) and Div III (4th year) students.
In this introductory course, students will explore the history, practices, career options, and problems of environmental education - educational efforts promoting an understanding of nature, environmentally responsible behavior, and protection of natural resources. Shifts in environmental education research foci, relationships to current and past environmental challenges (e.g., air pollution, species loss, climate change), and differences between U.S. and international efforts will be discussed. We will compare and contrast topics such as education for sustainable development, environmental education, conservation education, environmental behavior change, ecoliteracy, and interpretation. Students will be exposed to three lines of inquiry: critical pedagogy, educational research and experiential learning. In addition to assigned readings, students will complete observation assignments, choose a line of inquiry and follow that line of inquiry to: 1) design, in teams, an environmental education intervention and 2) write an individual paper on a topic of interest to the student related to environmental education.
Many people have opinions about how to improve education, yet few know about education change research. Improving education requires evidence gathered systematically through research. Students will learn methods for conducting research on learning and teaching, methods that yield evidence leading to educational change. This course is for Div II/III students; prior education coursework is necessary. Methodologies learned will include field notetaking, interviewing, surveying, pre-post assessments, and overall design-based approaches. Students learn these methods while collaborating with the professor on an emerging design-based research project at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Students will read and discuss primary source research literature, participate in research design activities, assist with constructing research instruments, write their own research proposal on a topic of interest to them, lead class discussions, and perform class presentations. This course will be particularly helpful for students interested in educational change, especially those in their last semester of Division II.