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Environment-Based Learning

ENVIRONMENT-BASED LEARNING IS A POWERFUL TEACHING TOOL

What does environment-based education mean?
Why should I use environment-based learning?
What will I takeaway from this program?
Why Study EBL at Mary Baldwin College?
Does MBC offer online instruction? 
Environment-Based Learning course list

WHAT DOES ENVIRONMENT-BASED EDUCATION MEAN?

investigatingBy using the student’s own environment as an organizing theme for place-based, hands-on study, educators provide an integrated curriculum in a meaningful and relevant setting that meets state and common core standards. K-12th grade students actively work to answer questions related to their natural, built, and cultural environments and can apply the process to content in all subjects. With this project-based approach, you no longer have to hear the question “why do I have to learn this?” EBL provides “learning with a purpose.”

Environment-based education:

  • Engages students to learn standards-based content in a creative and meaningful way.
  • Increases critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Develops basic life skills, such as cooperation and interpersonal communications.
  • Instills student appreciation for nature and community and helps them develop an understanding of how these are interrelated.
  • Motivates students to get involved in environmental service-learning projects.
  • Gets kids outside for active and fresh-air learning

Mary Baldwin offers a variety of EBL courses that provide teachers with the skills and knowledge needed to develop an EBL curriculum and program at schools, nature centers, museums, and parks.

WHY SHOULD I USE ENVIRONMENT-BASED LEARNING?

Environment-based education deepens the traditional educational experience. Learning becomes real and relevant when you use the resources available in your own community. This kind of active learning leads to a better understanding of the content, and as research suggests, it also helps improve scores on standardized tests.

Other benefits:

  • Environment-based learning projects spark discussion and discovery among students by tapping into their natural curiosity.
  • Active and engaging learning helps improve student attention spans.
  • Environment-based learning projects provide great opportunities for cooperative and group work.
  • The environment-based learning strategy helps promote life-long habits of curious thinking and active learning.

WHAT WILL I TAKEAWAY FROM THIS PROGRAM?

Our program teaches educators about the most current environment-based — also called experiential-learning or place-based — teaching approaches. As part of your professional development, you will learn about:

  • the EBL philosophy
  • EBL program and curriculum development
  • content integration with environment and community-based themes
  • managing students in the outdoors
  • funding your outdoor classroom and programs
  • EBL classroom and program assessment
  • the many benefits of an outdoor program
  • how to develop a schoolyard garden or outdoor learning lab
  • using technology in the outdoors

Environment-based learning is not an add-on program, but a creative way to teach meaningful content and skills to students. Implementation of an EBL program requires an understanding of the process and may involve new teaching strategies and course restructuring. At Mary Baldwin College, we take the guesswork out, and show you how to incorporate an EBL curriculum in your classroom or program. A full list of EBL classes offered through Mary Baldwin is here.

WHY STUDY EBL AT MARY BALDWIN COLLEGE?

MBC is one of the first higher education institutions in the country to develop an EBL program as part of its educational offerings. Mary Baldwin teachers stand out because they integrate classroom and experiential learning.

Mary Baldwin College specializes in teacher education. Each year, more MBC students (as a percentage of the student body) earn teacher licensure than at any other college in Virginia. For more information about teacher education at Mary Baldwin, visit www.mbc.edu/education/ways.php

The Master of Education degree at Mary Baldwin is designed with experienced educators in mind. We offer four areas of concentration for the MEd degree: EBL, Teacher Leadership, Special Education, and Gifted Education. In addition, we offer an MAT program for teacher licensure. More information at www.mbc.edu/med/

DOES MBC OFFER ONLINE INSTRUCTION?

Because our courses are designed for adult learners, you will find a variety of delivery methods: online, hybrids, and classroom-based.

The EBL electives are offered as week-long sessions in the summer, with online follow-up for assignments and discussions. Many of our EBL core courses are offered as hybrids with several Saturday meetings followed by online learning and some are solely online courses. Check the schedule each semester to see what options are available.