Formation of ecological perception during the educational process

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011

Mambetkaziyev Yerezhep, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Mambetkaziyev Aidar, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Mambetkaziyeva Raushan, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Danilova Nina, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

At the present stage, the prospect of further development of human society in terms of its relationship with nature has become the subject of study and reflection not only for specialists of natural science, but also for philosophers, sociologists, economists, engineers, technologists and other representatives of humanitarian and technical sciences. This large-scale ecologization of science, education and other spheres of human activity allows considering ecology as a part of a general scientific perception. Today the main task of the educational system is to develop this type of perception in proper time.

In general, perception is a complex, synthetic and integral formation of social and individual consciousness, which is based on knowledge, convictions, beliefs, attitudes, aspirations, hopes, values, standards and ideals.

There are four main components in the structure of the perception:

1. Cognitive component

This component is based on generalized knowledge (everyday, professional, scientific knowledge, etc). It represents a specific scientific and universal picture of the world, systematizing and generalizing the results of individual and social learning, styles of thinking of a certain community, nation or era.

2. Value regulatory component

It includes values, ideals, convictions, beliefs, standards and directive actions. Value is the property of an object or phenomenon to satisfy the requirements and desires of people. The system of human values includes notions of good and evil, happiness and unhappiness, objective and purpose of life.

For example, life is the main value of a person, as well as his security. At the same time, one of the purposes of perception is that a person can be guided by certain social regulators. Consequences of sustained and repetitive human’s assessment of his/her relationships with other people are the social norms: moral, religious, legal, environmental, etc., governing the daily lives of both the individual and society. They are more imperative and obligatory than values. Standards are the means which connect significant values of a man with his practical behavior.

3. Emotional-volitional component

To implement the knowledge, values and standards in practice it is necessary to study their emotional-volitional aspect, to transform them into personal opinions, convictions, beliefs, and to develop certain psychological readiness to act.

4. Practical component

Perception is not just a generalization of knowledge, values, beliefs and attitudes, but the real readiness of a man for a certain type of behavior in specific circumstances. Without the practical component the perception would have quite an abstract nature. Even if this perception directs a person to contemplation, it still develops and promotes a certain type of behavior.

On the basis of previous material, we can define the perception as a set of views, ratings and standards that detect attitude to the world and act as guides and regulators of behavior. To move to the concept of ecological perception it is important to consider the very concept of ecology. Literally the term "ecology" means "the doctrine about the house". This term was championed by Ernst Haeckel in the middle of 19th century and originally it was mostly of biological content. Since then, the notion of ecology increasingly expanded found application outside the natural sciences. At the present stage ecology itself acquires the features of perception. Thus, we achieve the concept of ecological perception that gradually overtakes all spheres of our lives. Substantive core of this perception is the principle of consideration of human and nature in their unity and interdependence. Ecological perception is divided into two approaches to the problem of the relationship between man and nature. According to the first approach, these relationships are based on rules set by the person (anthropocentrism). The second approach, believing a person to be a part of nature and considering the common development of man and the environment, examines the development of human society as part of the evolution of nature (ecocentrism). In other words, human progress is made contingent upon the requirement to obey the laws of nature.

Scientific and technological revolution erased the distinction between these two approaches. Today, human destiny depends on natural forces as well as the fate of nature depends on us. And since the current method of interaction between man and nature is a deadlock, the future of mankind needs to be associated with the normalization of this interaction through the formation of ecological perception.

Formation of environmentally oriented perception and consciousness is recognized by most scientists as the main way out of crisis. Along with this, the nature conservation technologies are still of high importance. However, these technologies have only auxiliary functions connected with environmental ethics. The latter is understood as an ethical system that can regulate relationships between a man and environment. We should teach future professionals to be aware of all the negative influence of their actions in the professional field on the world around us without justifying their actions whatsoever. It is quite challenging task, but it can be solved by focusing on the formation of ecological perception in the educational process. The laws that govern nature and man are surprisingly simple, unified and understandable to all. They were formulated in the form of the postulates by the American scientist Barry Commoner in the middle of the XX century.

The first law. Everything is connected to everything else.

The law reflects the ecological principle of holism (integrity) and based on the law of large numbers. This means that the living dynamics of complex and branched ecological chains eventually forms a single complicated system. In an abstract version this statement repeats a certain dialectical materialist position on universal connection of things and phenomena; in a more specific level it acts as an extension of the cybernetic nature.

The second law. Everything must go somewhere.

This law speaks of the necessity of a closed cycle of matters and guaranteeing a stable existence of the biosphere. This is an informal paraphrase of the fundamental physical law of conservation of matter;

The third law. Nature knows best.

The law has a double meaning. It appeals to get close to nature and at the same time to be very careful with natural systems.

The fourth law. There is now such thing as a free lunch.

The law says that every new achievement is inevitably accompanied by the loss of something old. This ecological law combines three previous laws. According to Commoner, “the global ecosystem is a connected whole, in which nothing can be gained or lost and which is not subject to over-all improvement, anything extracted from it by human effort must be replaced. Payment of this price cannot be avoided; it can only be delayed. The present environmental crisis is a warning that we have delayed nearly too long”.

The consequence of these laws is everything happening today in the modern world. In essence, they are based on fundamental physical and chemical principles. Commoner laws lead to the realization that "the environment knows no borders" and "thinking globally act locally". Threats to the ecological and economic crisis are associated not only with the growth of human impact on the environment and depletion of natural resources. These threats are primarily the result of human disturbance to the basic laws of nature. All the processes occurring in human society follow the processes of nature. Hence it appears the need to use the philosophical aspects of environmental ideology of the unity of man and nature, their relationship based on knowledge of the laws of nature during any educational process.

Unfortunately, we do not consider this aspect while teaching. The main disadvantage of the existing education system is the inability to give extensive training to enable graduates to understand and solve problems requiring a multidisciplinary approach. In this regard, the role of formation of ecological perception in the learning process is increasing. The ecological perception reflects a holistic understanding of the world and a synthesis of various human activities, based on knowledge of properties of the biosphere. The rapid development of mankind in the technical and consumer direction has led to exclusion of life, nature and earth sciences by the sciences of industry, commerce and banking. The purpose of knowledge and education is not the life of society, people's health and desired sustainable development of humanity, but the profit and business success. People are proud of their scientific and technological progress, not noticing the irreversible processes associated with the violation of stability (homeostasis) of the biosphere. For this, according to the laws of nature, we have to pay public health and to spend huge sums on health care. Improvements are only possible with a change of consciousness. It is necessary to change direction in shaping the consciousness of the younger generation to peaceful coexistence with the biosphere, recognizing that it is infinitely wiser and stronger.

Here is one of the conclusions of the biosphere theory of a prominent Russian scientist V.I. Vernadsky: "... humanity, social systems, the structure of scientific knowledge and the scope of equipment and technologies are in unity with the environment. Change of any component sooner or later affects the state of the whole system. Ecology provides a specific disclosure of the methodological idea of the unity of man and nature, vision and understanding of the relationship of man and nature on a planetary scale".

Ecological education (from preschool to university) should be seen as the ideology of the educational process as a whole, with main task to form an "ecological perception".


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011

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