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Sustainable development is a pattern of economic development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present but also for generation to come. Considering the importance of the issue a month long observational study " Nurture the Nature" was designed with the objective : to develop among the teacher trainees a sense of appreciation and preservation of natural environment. Purposive sample of 100 students' enrolled in the Department of Education Patna Women's college, Patna for the session 2011-12 formed the participants. Pre and Post observation effect was measured through personal interview which included the observed changes in the nurtured plant as well as behavioral change among the sampled participants. The observed result was a considerable improvement in the attitude of the participants towards nature.
Key words: sustainable development, nurture the nature, Patna
There have been more than 30 years of intense discussion and research on the environmental crisis. Nevertheless, the problems continue to worsen daily because humans (individuals, governments, and private corporations) are the cause of the environmental problems occurring almost everywhere. Integrated approaches with the social sciences and the humanities are needed if this trend is to be reversed. Environmental education has a very strategic and important role in preparing people to solve global environmental problems, as pointed out internationally in Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 (Keating, 1993).Environmental education has become even more important, because almost every decision we make has an environmental component. Only through environmental education people can develop a sense of concern for what is happening on a local and global scale and be encouraged to take appropriate action (Hale, 1993). In 2007, an international conference was held at the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) at Ahmedabad. Prior to that, Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, commented at a United Nations Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, " Environment cannot be improved in conditions of poverty", thus highlighting the link between environment and poverty. The World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 defined sustainable development as 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
The objective of sustainable development is to provide the well-being of the present and the future generations and to maintain a healthy environment and life support system. The sustainable development framework entails thinking far into the future and how our present actions might affect our ability to live a wholesome and fulfilling life. One can look at sustainable development on a global, regional, national, state, local and even individual scale. The World Watch Institute (WWI) in its annual publication state of the world 2006 specially focuses on the dramatic rise of the two Asian nations (India and China) with about 40 percent of world population and says the choice of development they make in the next few years would lead the world either towards a future - a path of development or of acceleration towards a collision course with world's ecosystems and resources. It is said (Schuyler, 1983): "a point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference we can do massive and irreversible harm to the earth environment on which our life and well being depend."Since teachers play a major role in the education of children, their own education on these sensitive issues must therefore create necessary understanding among them about their roles and responsibilities. The courses of teacher education need to be enriched to enable teachers to understand the attributes of modernity and sustainable development.
Much of the research work has illustrated students' and teachers' attitudes, beliefs and knowledge about the environment (Culen and Mony, 2003; Hines et.al., 1986/87; Khalid, 2003; Lane and Wilke, 1994; Lijmbach et.al., 2002; Looughland et.al., 2003; Middlestat et.al.;1999; Moseley et.al., 2002; Plevyak et.al., 2001). Within environmental education research however, there is dearth of discussion about successful and practical application of environmental education in teacher education programs. Oulton and Scott suggest that practical application should be a part of teacher education course objectives so that, "as a result of preservice teacher education programs, novice teachers should be both willing and able to make a contribution to environmental education through their own work with learners"(cited in Oulton, 1998,p.264). Apart from it, it may be added that role of a teacher is very crucial to achieve the objectives of sustainable development. They play an important role in moulding the behavior of children (future citizens of the country) in the classroom formally and people in the society informally to promote desired quality for sustainable development. In India, NCTE (National Council of Teacher's Education) has observed environmental education as a compulsory curriculum for teacher's education, to stress development of critical awareness about pressing problem of environmental degradation, its consequences and methods to curtail it. Hence, investigators being teacher educators made an attempt to foster behavioral change among prospective teachers towards nature and environment as a whole.
Data and Method
The present study was a month long observational study therefore investigators preferred to conduct experiment in their own institution. Therefore, a purposive sample of 100 teacher trainees in the department of Education, Patna Women's College, Patna for the session 2011-12 formed the participants.
Tool of Data collection
Pre-intervention and post-intervention experience of the participants was obtained through personal structured interview.
The Experiment was named as "Nurture the Nature" which was of one and half month duration. The whole exercise was carried out in three phases which were:
I Phase Pre-Intervention
II Phase Intervention
III Phase Post-Intervention
Phase I - Pre-Intervention
At the outset the trainees were given an orientation about the project. The participants were given instructions in detail which are as follows: size of the pot should be uniform - 4", Sapling to be selected should only be ornamental, height of the selected sapling was clearly specified i.e. approx 6"-8", creepers were told to avoid, season and soil should be kept in mind while selecting the sapling and lastly they were instructed to use only organic manure. They were also told to make and record initial and final observation along with regular observations date wise in the Report to be submitted at the end of the exercise.
After the orientation participants were provided with plants with pots
Immediately after the allotment of the pots each of the participant went for personal interview and a still photograph with plant
Lastly, pre-intervention ended with a display of all the plants.
Phase II- Intervention
The activities carried out during intervention phase are outlined as follows:
Nurturing of the sapling for one and half month
Making initial and regular observations by the participants.
Recording the observations in data sheet.
Phase III - Post- Intervention
Phase III of the experiment included the following steps : Terminal observation of the plant, report writing, second display of the plant followed by the interview of the participants and then still photography with the plant.
Report prepared by each participant included Pre-intervention and Post-intervention photograph of the plant, general information about the plant viz. Common name, Botanical name, region of the plant and its nativity. Further, it also had data record for initial and final observation along with data record for regular observations, an example of the data record schedule have been given as table 1 and table 2. Final page of the report had narration of the experience of the participants during and at the end of the exercise along with a final lesson they will carry along by carrying out this exercise.
The following observations were drawn from the personal interview conducted pre and post exercise from each of the participants:
Almost all of them felt that 'Nurture the Nature' exercise has helped in developing a feeling of love and care for the plants.
Most of them reported that during the exercise they nourished and nursed the sapling like a concerned mother. Post-exercise the same concern they fee for 'Mother Nature.'
Many of them felt responsible for growth and protection of their plants which post exercise has transformed their behavior towards their surrounding environment.
Some of the teacher trainees reported that they have found a new companion in their plant.
Nurturing a sapling helped to bring a realization among teacher trainees that destruction is easier than construction.
It was common realization among the teacher trainees that humans are turning selfish by giving priority to satisfy their endless wants instead of meeting of basic human needs.
The practice turned to be fruitful as teacher trainees pledged to extend the feeling of love for nature among their students in future.
Nurturing a sapling helped them feel responsible for the conservation of the environment.
Some teacher trainees also realized that dedication of a few moments to plants can help to protect the precious gift of human life.
Implications of the study
Teacher training institutions can work as an instrument to propagate the concept of sustainability.
Orienting teachers and teacher trainees with planning, designing and conducting of project activities and case studies in local contexts.
Teachers can expose students to different kinds of community projects already in operation in their locality.
Developing skills to establish closer school and community contacts for social and environmental sustainability.
Using co-scholastic activities in other subjects as a medium of teaching environment sustainable development.
To incorporate proactive actions for motivating students for sustainable development.
Undoubtedly, the achievement in developing the appreciation for sustainable development brought about by the experiment could be possibly be short term because value and attitude education demands a long time to have the effects penetrate to form habitual behavior amongst students. So, this experiment serves as one of the catalysts only. It is necessary for teachers to uphold similar learning activities with an emphasis on learning sustainable development.
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