In about and for Arthur Lucas

Posted in: Comment

Arthur Lucas wrote a lot about environmental education in the 1970s and 80s in an attempt to clarify and make sense of the concept.  In particular, he wrote about in / about / for / etc.  I say, etc, purposefully as the following extract from his writings show:

"... uses of the term environmental education can be classified into education about the environment, education for (the preservation of) the environment, education in the environment, and the classes formed by the combinations about and for, about and in, and for and in.  

Education about the environment, which is concerned with providing cognitive understanding including the development of skills necessary to obtain this understanding, and education for the environment, which is directed environmental preservation, or preservation for particular purposes, are characterised by their aims; education in the environment ... is characterised by a technique of instruction.

In the in case, environment usually means the world outside the classroom, and in other usages it refers to the biophysical and/or social context in which groups of people ... exist ... ."

I have extracted this text from John F Disinger's 1983/1997 paper, Environmental Education's Definitional Problem as I have misplaced the Lucas original.

The subtleties of this differentiation by Lucas between for and about (on the one hand) and in (on the other), are often lost in usage or translation to the detriment of the argument.

Thus it is that, whilst combinations of about in, and for / in, are particularly valuable because of the context provided by in, often (but not always) being better than about or for on their own, just being in is of little environmental education value without aims associated with about or for.

This is what I've been trying to say for the last few days as I commented on the recent King's College research.  Arthur Lucas did it better; but enough of prepositions for one day.

Posted in: Comment


  • (we won't publish this)

Write a response