Education and the Environment: Do Environmental Programmes at School Affect Critical Thinking Skills?

We are getting farther and farther from nature: more and more people live in cities, where there are opportunities and resources, but very little greenery. However, research indicates that those who manage to maintain a greater connection with the environment have immense health benefits.


To start with, Harvard University, Brigham, and Women’s Hospital found after interviewing more than 108,000 women that the mortality rate of those who lived in greener areas was 12% lower than those living in less wooded urban centres.

environmental education Global Institute for Lifelong Empowerment GiLE

Image from by @franckinjapan

Another study conducted by the University of Chiba showed that “Forest bath” reduces levels of cortisol (stress hormone), decreases the pulse and blood pressure and even has an effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It is also known that having contact with nature improves memory and aids concentration power.


The benefit from nature are numerous, but does it have impact on education? And more specifically, on students’ critical thinking skills?


That was the question that motivated a study conducted by University of Florida in 2004.


For the researchers, traditional tests indicate current and past performance, but fail to measure knowledge and skills that may contribute constructively to future learning. They argue that exams should instead provide information on whether or not students can use their current achievement to acquire further knowledge.


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Eduarda Moreira Nascimento

Article Writer & Content Contributor

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The opinions expressed in this article/publication are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of GiLE or its members.

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