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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1182; doi:10.3390/su9071182

Enhancing Ecoliteracy through Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Proverbs

Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Rajadamnoen Nok, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University, Gwanak-ro 1, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea
Interdisciplinary Program in Environmental Education Graduate School, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Proverbs can be regarded as pithy axioms of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), which can be useful for sustainability education. By using an exploratory sequential mixed method, we analyzed TEK and ecoliteracy components embedded in rain- and tree-related Korean traditional proverbs, and further conducted a survey of university students to gauge their knowledge of the proverbs and draw correlations with their ecoliteracy. We classified 173 rain- and 117 tree-related traditional Korean proverbs and found that most of these were related to factual observations, such as ecological characteristics of tree species and the prediction of rainfall, which indicated people’s understanding of ecological processes and patterns. We also found that students tended to provide correct answers for questions related to TEK-based worldviews, ethics and values, which are important components of ecoliteracy, thereby indicating the usefulness of proverbs in delivering TEK-based worldviews, ethics, and values. Overall, our study reasons that the learning of TEK-related traditional proverbs can be meaningful for enhancing ecoliteracy among urban youth, particularly when this learning is complemented with field-based observational learning within integrated approaches for sustainability education. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecoliteracy; ecology education; proverb; sustainability education; traditional ecological knowledge; Korea ecoliteracy; ecology education; proverb; sustainability education; traditional ecological knowledge; Korea

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kim, G.; Vaswani, R.T.; Kang, W.; Nam, M.; Lee, D. Enhancing Ecoliteracy through Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Proverbs. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1182.

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