Ecological education of schoolchildren by means of a foreign language

We have inherited an incredibly beautiful and complex garden, but the trouble is that we have been appallingly bad gardeners. We have not bothered to acquaint ourselves with the simplest principles of gardening. By neglecting our garden, we are storing up for ourselves, in the not very distant future, a world catastrophe as bad as any atomic war, and we are doing it with all the bland complacency of an idiot child chopping up a Rembrandt with a pair of scissors Gerald Durrell «Two in the Bush» [1]

Nowadays, the complexity of human and nature interrelations causes the anxiety in the whole world. One of the main challenges the humankind faces is solving ecological problems.

The humankind has learnt that it is not enough to keep the peace of the land where you live; you are to join efforts in preventing the ecological catastrophe on the planet – our common home. To liquidate the ecological catastrophe and solve common mankind problems solution we are to consolidate all human efforts within the movement for the peace, environment protection, and cooperation in producing ecologically clean technologies.

More and more researchers came to conclusion that ecological crisis is mainly ideological, and philosophical-ideological crisis. From this point of view global ecological problems solution is impossible without changing the ecological consciousness, which dominates today. Ecological consciousness should be formed from the pre-school age, when a child begins communicating with the nature world.

The modern education system of Kazakhstan is reflected in children ecological education and growing up book, which appears as opened, individualized, clean system, that provides permanent care of childhood ecology (both physical and spiritual). We are to grow up a new generation not by traditional principals of users, but in another, more harmonically coexistence with the nature, in physiological readiness to keep our common natural recourses everywhere and always. This is a base of ecological education directed on formation of responsible attitude to environment [2].

In his book, “Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages as a Science and Textbook Problems” I.L. Bim examines “education” concept in a wide meaning, which includes “education” and “learning”. That means “the whole system, which is realized not only in education, but in physical activity, in communication process, in games. Education and growing up by means of a definite subject is one of the subsystems of growing up macrosystem “[3].

I.L. Bim writes that “bringing up children by means foreign languages as by any other subject, provides the formation of such features as world outlook, patriotism, character features, etc.”

A. A. Mirolyubov points that “foreign language subject” is mostly different from the other subjects, because its aim is to get the ability to take part in intercultural communication, that is forming speaking skills, connected with cogitative activity of the student, but not just acquiring knowledge about the nature or society, as it is with another subjects.

Learning foreign (not native) language is principally different from learning native language, because skills in native language bring both positive influence (ability to transfer), but mostly negative influence (interferential). The education conception of valuable academic discipline is built by taking into account all these particularities”.

As in another subjects studying, foreign languages teaching follows the practical, educational, bringing up and developmental goals. The goals mean planned results of studying foreign languages by the student.

The practical goal in teaching is acquiring foreign language as a communication tool, ability to use it both in oral and in writing forms, that is understanding speech (listening), in own expressions (speaking), in reading and writing according the grades and years of study.

Bringing up goal in teaching – foreign language study helps the personal education, the aim of which is growing up the personality. Through teaching upbringing of the main moral features such as patriotism, internationalism, humanism is provided.

Educational goal in teaching – foreign language study is connected with ear, vision, moving and motor analyzers. It influences greatly on memory development because a student has to learn words and expressions by heart, as well as patterns and statements structures and their use in conversation. Learning a foreign language in a place where people do not speak this language, demands using students, that makes it possible to create imaginative and special learning situations alongside with real ones.

Foreign language learning plays a big part in expanding student’s outlook and increasing his common culture. Being close to the language – is being close to culture and spiritual life of the nation that has created it.

Developmental goal in teaching – for more effective development during studying of any subject, including foreign languages, we have to create special direction and include students “in such kinds of activities which develop sensor perception, movement, intellectual, volitional, emotional and motional spheres” [4].

Complex aims solution of active personality education depends upon the level of skills and abilities modern methodic can provide. There are 4 main groups of skills and abilities: Educational and organizational, educational and intellectual, educational and informational, educational and communicative.

One of the main problems in foreign language learning is motivation decreasing. Researchers of the motivation issue provide information about its decreasing from grade to grade [5]. At the beginning students show an active interest in studying this subject motivated by newness and specific of the subject, on the middle stage additional motivation should be found, as students interest to the language lows due to specific age and social reasons. In this period level of knowledge and individual abilities in overcoming difficulties in FL learning are becoming clearly defined. Investigations have shown that one of the main reasons of loosing the interest to learning FL is the absence of natural need and real opportunity to use it.

One of the organizational moments to keep communicational motivation is relevant use of collective work forms in foreign language classrooms.

To raise the interest of students in language “building materials” time gap on working over language material and its use in speech should be minimized. Efficient work methods with language could become students’ property. So, the methods of making statement program and its advantages ought to be told to students. Named methods of motivation rising are mainly depend on a teacher. Could a teacher arouse the power that will bring to education, they will become a moving power during education process [6].

Using different ideas in organization of foreign language education allows making an educational process according to the principals of education and individualization differentiation.

Using differentiation courses of foreign language study gives the opportunity to students to choose education form by a subject. Owing to variation in educational process on FL the course is enriched by different support with literary, cross-cultural and other focuses. Deep learning of the subject plays a big role. For this purpose the traditional, thematic with one or another dominant in the content and integration lessons (courses) is used.

Integration introduction to the FL educational process (in this case English) with other subjects is directed first of all at enriching educational process itself in the middle of which is a student, his development, and feeling comfortable at the lesson. The main purpose of the English language integration with other school subjects is the increasing of language competence of students. The integration with many subjects such as history, biology, computer science, music, nature study and others is considered.

The opportunity of FL integration with native language is noticed in the methodic science [7]; Teaching of Foreign languages: search for new ideas [8]; its Methodic problems in teaching subjects of language course [9]. The idea itself is innovative but is little explored. Integration is considered in the works of E.N. Shepel [10]. The questions discussed in the integration courses touch different scientific fields, for example “Ecology + foreign language”. It is well known that ecology is a science studying relationship of organisms with each other and with the environment [11].

Integrative relationship of environment and English language allows students form the whole performance about the nature around them and its development in the time space, about the environment problems, human being and its place on the earth. Integrative course supposes acquaintance with surrounding reality, factors influenced on the human development and its nature as well. The main purpose of this course is the formation of students’ communicative competence in the field of daily communication on the base of studying foreign language on the high level.

It is supposed to solve the next tasks: to realize the interest to the subject “Ecology” by means of English language; widen students’ knowledge about surrounding world; to improve linguistic knowledge on all kinds of speech activity; to form skills of translation into Russian and English languages; to solve different communicative tasks for achieving mutual understanding in the communication process.

The "Ecology and Foreign Language" integrated course can help solve some problems by establishing contacts with students members of ecological clubs, and environment protecting associations from different regions of the country and international associations. Environment security movement is becoming widespread and children play the most important role in it. Foreign Language helps to establish communication and exchange of experience.

Carrying out the analysis of educationmethodological course-complex for secondary school in German language (I.L. Bim, etc.) opens that its contents promotes to bring up human attitude to everything alive and the nature itself. There are recommendations on the use of region studies materials and interesting works with them.

In his article, "Teaching Ecological Culture by Means of a Foreign Language" L.J. Zenya writes that educational-methodical analysis was held only with two foreign languages, but "the things are almost similar in all foreign languages"[12].

Ecological problems elaboration depends on degree of study in educationmethodological course; if there are only separate elements in initial stage, then they are more serious in higher stages, and thus it leads to solving practical educational and upbringing issues solution on a higher level.

In the primary level it involves familiarization with words, that is formation of the vocabulary (names of animals, natural phenomena, etc.). Foreign language from the first years of studying is to instill children’s love to nature, and desire to help animals and birds.

The effectiveness of environmental education through any academic subject, and FL, is in direct proportion to the educational activities of students not only in required classes but also in various kinds of extracurricular work: circles, electives, and clubs. Considering the idea of integration of academic subjects, it is desirable to create an integrated course "Ecology + FL", which can be recommended for students who are interested in FL and want to strengthen, deepen and broaden their knowledge on the subject. This course can be designed for 2-3 years, or could start act the electives, or taught in classes with intensive study of FL, as a matter of choice.

Integrated course "Ecology + FL" implies a higher level of speech activity by expanding the practice of oral speech and reading, by improving writing skills (through correspondence with the young environmentalists in foreign-language countries), or due going out in the practice of joint international environmental actions. Success of the West German "The Greens" has contributed to the establishment of similar parties or associations in many countries in Europe. Students need to know about the state of affairs in this area, the existing international movements, work being done to protect the environment in their regions. These information students get from radio and TV programs, newspapers and magazines not only in their native language, but also in foreign. Young environmentalists from different countries could be acquainted with the help of the press, and talk about their "green" actions undertaken in order to protect nature. Real activity, which has a clear personal sense and is beneficial to society, would advance the development of independent cognitive activity of pupils, their activity, as learning subjects, and in mastering FL. This is a real manifestation of the activity approach to the study of Linguistics, where the activities of his mastery are included in other activities, and involve active accumulation of both linguistic and extra linguistic information [12].

Studies show that the activity of students in learning FL in current conditions is insignificant. One reason, according to students, is their non-systematic work on the language, the reluctance to be engaged in because of the uncertainty in having acquired the language, and because of the lack of real communication situations. Teacher needs to reflect on the effectiveness of each lesson and the effectiveness of language acquisition, the ability to use L practically. Certain possibilities in this regard could have an integrated course "Ecology and Foreign Language”. It allows us to relate the FL activity with other activities: teaching, working, playing. Cognitive and environmental issues make it easy to carry it out: during the tours, expeditions, individual and group observation of nature, including trips to their native surroundings and staying in rest camps. Diaries, registration papers, albums, and their discussion, making a herbarium, crafts, holding a photo contest fulfillment of sketches, a favorite corner of nature, construction of the school yard, work on school grounds, planting area can also serve as a subject of discussion in FL.

This kind of creative collective activities suit the age and psychological characteristics of children at this age. They can be considered as "the dominant activity-related idea." (IL Bim) to build a course that would be a strong motivator and inspiration to achieve higher levels of mastery of FL, for "students" actually will feel that they really need to acquire practice language skills, and this really helps them to meet their cultural, professional and social aspirations."[6]

In this situation the way out beyond traditional lessons is obvious, and the forms are more various: lesson-interview, lesson-tour, lesson exhibition, lesson demonstrating crafts, lesson-debate, role-playing and business games, etc.. This would stimulate activity in a Foreign Language lesson significantly.

It should be noted that in the complex of tasks which the integrated course could solve, of particular importance is the priority of the bringing up goal, namely, teaching environmental culture, which we consider "as a dynamic unity of environmental knowledge, positive attitude to this knowledge (environmental attitudes, values) and real human activity in the environment" [13].

To prepare a generation of high ecological culture one of the up-to-date challenges our society faces, and therefore creation of an integrated course "Ecology + FL" lets make a certain contribution to solving this problem and provides an opportunity to develop such a course of in-depth study of FL, which would have interesting content for students, creating opportunities for actual use of language in communicating with like-minded people in the country, and open access to an international level and its inclusion in the international children's movements.



  1. Gerald Durrell. Two in the Bush. Moscow: Mir, 1968
  2. Environmental Culture Upbringing / / Collection of Materials on Environmental Education and Education of Students. Compiled by: TI Korzyuk, T.Bondarenko, E.I. Litvinova, Ust-Kamenogorsk, 2002, p.3.
  3. I.L. Bim. Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages as a Science and Textbook Problems”. M., 1977.
  4. Pedagogy. Under the editorship J.K. Babanskiy. M., 1988. p. 344
  5. G.V. Rogov, Z.N. Nikitenko Some Reasons for Declining Interest in the Subject "Foreign Language" at School / Foreign Languages at School. M., 1982, № 2.
  6. G.V. Rogov, F.N. Rabinovich, T.E. Sakharov. Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages in High School. M., "Education", 1991
  7. I.L. Bim, Creativity of Teachers and Didactics Science / / Languages at School. – M., 1988., № 4 p. 8
  8. I.L. Bim, Foreign Language Learning: Search for New Ideas / M.Foreign Languages in School-1989-№ 1, p.19
  9. I.L. Bim. Methodological Problems of Teaching Subjects of Language Loop, M., 1989 № 3, p.73
  10. E.N. Shepel. Integrated Curriculum and Teaching a Foreign Language / Foreign Language at School, M.1990 № 1, p.8
  11. N.I. Nikolaykin, N.E. Nikolaykin, O.P. Melehova, Ecology. M., "Bustard", 2004p.6
  12. L.J. Zenya. Teaching Ecological Culture by Means of a Foreign Language" // Foreign Languages at School. M., 1990, № 4, p.30.
  13. I.T. Suravegina. The Role of Relationship Science and Ethical Knowledge in the Formation of Ecological Culture School: Problems of Environmental Education in Secondary School. -Tallinn, 1980. p. 28
Year: 2012
City: Oskemen
Category: Philology