EVALUATING THE APPROACH OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES THROUGH ART

S. Kasola

University of Patras (GREECE)
The environmental and climatic changes taking place in the planet in recent years have increased awareness in order the citizens to understand the importance of maintaining a balanced environment for nature and humanity. Information activities are taking place in school level so that students get familiar with the living environment and to raise awareness. The inclusion of environmental education in many member states of the European Union in primary school is the springboard for building eco-consciousness to students.

But is there any other alternative approach, for teaching, getting information and literacy so that students can assimilate and understand the importance of the natural environment? If so, can the art contribute to this alternative approach?
A pilot program has been applied in 6 different European countries, with the participation of 208 students of primary schools. In this program with the contribution of the arts (painting, music, song, poetry, dance, drama, and literature) the students had the opportunity to implement actions related to water and sun.

Two program phases were included in the process. The goal of the first phase was that the students get familiar with different forms of art in teaching environmental issues and accordingly to learn through arts. The first phase had a total duration of 6 hours. The second phase had a total duration of 12 hours, including the preparation, implementation and performance of activities of the first phase. A performance was given presenting all activities by the students. The results of all operations are available on the official website of the project ARTinED www.artined.eu implemented under the Lifelong Learning programme, Comenius action, Multilateral project.

In order to test the impact of these actions to the students, as an evaluation tool we used a structured questionnaire where students took it before the onset of action, but also after completing them. The main objectives of the evaluation was the contribution of arts in learning, understanding the role of the water and sun in the life's cycle of nature and the acquisition or improvement of ecological consciousness. The results of our evaluation showed that the various forms of art contribute to learning ability and enhance interdisciplinary knowledge. Students through the art usage developed and improved their environmental awareness and in the same time they understood with effectively practice the role of the sun and water in the life's cycle of nature.