Teacher’s stories about teaching environmental sustainability issues in their classes
Interview with Hadi
What grade do you teach? What do you think your students need to learn about environmental issues or environmental sustainability issues?
I teach grade 8. As researchers believe, the best way to teach something to a society is to give it to the people when they are a child. So, I believe if we want to have a better future and have a more sustainable environment, we need to give the knowledge to our kids. We have to plant the seed of knowledge in early ages and then grow it step by step. I do believe that environmental issues must be taught to kids if we want to save our planet for the next generations.
Could you please tell us about 1 or 2 activities that you have used in your classroom to develop your students’ understanding and empathy about environmental issues? How did you engage your students?
Okay… one of the activities that I really like and I repeat it every year in my class is asking children to pay attention to the electricity and water bills in their houses and try to reduce the cost by doing some simple acts of sustainable consumption.
Normally, at the beginning of the year, I ask my students to bring the previous 1 or 2 water and electricity bills from their house to our class. Then, we watch some movies about producing electricity and its process and also video clips about the shortage of water in the world.
After that, we look at the bills together and discuss the possibilities to reduce the water and electricity consumption in our lives. It is like brainstorming and to be honest, sometimes I have to listen to very creative and funny ways indeed. It is somehow fun beside learning things in class. And I like this way much more than the serious teaching styles.
Then, students make a small brochure out of their new findings of water and electricity, and we print it out for the special session with their parents.
We organize a session with the presence of students and at least one of their parents for one evening and we distribute our brochures among parents. In this session, I ask parents to contribute to our project with their kids. We stipulate if the kids could help reducing the next 5 bills significantly by cutting the unnecessary usage, then with the saved money they can buy one thing that they need or like to have (Of course with their parents’ consultation).
Believe me, I am doing this for 5 years and I saw the results with my own eyes. The students engage in this project very seriously and they helped to decrease the water and electricity bills in the family significantly.
What was your students’ response? How did you assess their learning?
I think I have already answered this question in the previous one. But I should say I see the happiness and pride in their eyes when they feel they were that much effective for their families and also for the planet. The very positive point of this experience for the kids is that they will get used to consuming water and electricity in an optimum way after 5-6 months and this could be established in them as a habit then. For assessing their learning, normally I give them a certificate for this project and also I will apply some extra marks on their final mark.
Interviewee: Sahar Fazeli, PhD Candidate, DISE, McGill University