My top priority in developing and delivering lessons is to make sure my students understand what they are learning and how it is linked to sustainable living and, their role as active citizens. Learning for Sustainability promotes an awareness of opportunity, resilience, tolerance and respect and, an understanding that we should be working towards the same goals.
Looking back, I know Learning for Sustainability was incorporated into my practice, it just wasn’t explicit. I suspect that this is the same for most teachers and, if I had to give advice, I would say: “look at what you are already doing and establish the links.” Once I was aware of what I was already doing it became easier to identify what I wanted to do better and who could help me.
To get students and colleagues interested in Learning for Sustainability, I decided I needed to provide a context for learning. I felt the best approach was to have tangible evidence to initiate interest both in class and throughout the wider school. GLP provided me with resources and real experiences which bring discussion to life. For example: When I first returned to school, I developed a new project for my S3 Graphics class which required the students to create tea towels inspired by Rwandan prints which they would then sell at our school’s multicultural week. I found that providing students with samples of Rwandan fabrics, interspersed with stories from my summer in Bugesera, really promoted curiosity. The quality of the work produced as a result was excellent and, the end product provided tangible evidence for my colleagues, prompting questions about my inspiration for the project.
It is important to spread the knowledge to ensure you aren’t trying to create change alone. Identify colleagues who are willing to jump on board but bear in mind what you are asking people to become involved in. From my own experience, I know that my colleagues like structure and understand the purpose of what they are doing; if I am asking them to support a cross-curricular project, I identify the links to their subject, ensuring they know how it fits with their teaching priorities. If you are creating resources to sit alongside your project, use your colleagues’ expertise to develop them, this way, they too can utilise the resources to support what they are doing in class. As you go, remember to invite more members of staff to help you, once a few are actively engaged, the rest will follow; this keeps the work sustainable, but it also adds fresh perspective.