Sustainable Development Serial Day Task

Mapping of school grounds/area Evidence of existing engagement with sustainable education within the school such as garden area, recycling bins, litter picking ‘wardens’, bird boxes, and so on. Waste paper bins were observed in each classroom, as well as waste and recycling bins in the cafeteria and playground. An eco-group exists in the school to […]

Mapping of school grounds/area

Map displaying school grounds

Evidence of existing engagement with sustainable education within the school such as garden area, recycling bins, litter picking ‘wardens’, bird boxes, and so on.

Waste paper bins were observed in each classroom, as well as waste and recycling bins in the cafeteria and playground. An eco-group exists in the school to promote sustainability and automatic taps are used within bathrooms to avoid water wastage. Care is also taken to ensure responsible energy use through switching off lights, laptops, projectors, and computers when not in use.

Consideration of actual play space for children and its sustainability.

There is an outdoor playground which includes tarmac and grass areas for use during recreation and physical education. The school do not currently have students as litter picking wardens, however this is pursued by the school’s janitors.

Discussion with children on these aspects of sustainable education.

Children found the different types of bins useful in the playground and cafeteria, although would like to see a wider variety of bins, eg. plastic. They thoroughly enjoyed engaging in designing recycling bins but would like to see students actively taking on the role of litter picking duty.

Energy

The energy sessions were useful in establishing the importance of integrating technologies in an interdisciplinary approach as Education Scotland (n.d) highlight the lack of this across all subjects and across all stages of the school, therefore not all children are receiving benefits such as becoming “informed, skilled, thoughtful, adaptable and enterprising citizens.” (Scottish Government, 2016). […]

The energy sessions were useful in establishing the importance of integrating technologies in an interdisciplinary approach as Education Scotland (n.d) highlight the lack of this across all subjects and across all stages of the school, therefore not all children are receiving benefits such as becoming “informed, skilled, thoughtful, adaptable and enterprising citizens.” (Scottish Government, 2016). Our wind turbine debate helped me to have a broad and deep understanding and appreciation of both sides of the argument. Prior to this, I was strongly for the use of wind turbines, however this debate introduced arguments against which changed my way of thinking as I never knew too much wind can cause wind turbines to malfunction and stop working, therefore hindering its usefulness. I also realised how much disturbance wind turbines cause to the natural habitat and wildlife as they may be constructed in areas of natural beauty and may cause harm to wildlife if they topple over. Having a debate like this in the classroom would help children to “develop understanding of the role and impact of technologies in changing and influencing societies” and “become informed consumers and producers who have an appreciation of the merits and impacts of products and services.” (Scottish Government, 2016).

Furthermore, creating a wind turbine, anemometer and a kite helped to put my thinking into a child’s perspective as issues and challenges arose that would be similar, if not amplified, in the classroom. Scottish Government (2016) outline a number of skills that are developed with such activities, the most important being: problem solving skills, planning and organisational skills, skills in using equipment, discussion and debate, making connections between specialist skills developed within learning and skills for work, and evaluating products. The main issues discovered were the distribution of roles amongst each task were found to be insufficient which left some team members not contributing and therefore not gaining the aforementioned benefits. These activities would also heavily rely on favourable weather conditions, as children may find it disheartening that their model does not work only because of insufficient wind. I think the most important lesson these activities present is allowing children to evaluate their model, which forces them to reflect on the way they worked together, possible improvements and what went wrong in the process.

Regarding impacts on my views, lifestyle and practice, it is important to teach technologies as it emphasises the sustainable aspect of education. Through technologies, children will acquire an understanding of the need to build a sustainable future that is here for future generations to appreciate. “It’s about making thinks work now and in the future. Valuing the world we live in, working with each other, not against, to build a safer, healthier world.” (Griffin, 2002) The previous activities would help children to see what current solutions have been invented and how they have the potential to further this and improve current solutions so that they are present now and in the future which makes it sustainable.

Additionally, it is important I continue to keep up-to-date on current and new inventions in the technological world so as to keep my lessons relevant and so that children are aware of the newest discoveries towards a sustainable lifestyle. It is also important that I expand my knowledge on other aspects such as energy and renewable fuels.

References

Education Scotland (n.d) Building Society: Young People’s Experiences and Outcomes In The Technologies [Module Resource] Available: http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/816786/mod_resource/content/1/TechnologiesImpactReport__tcm4-850866.pdf [Accessed: 19 November 2016].

Griffin, D et al (2002) Teaching for a Sustainable Future: embedding sustainable development education in the initial teacher training curriculum Centre for Cross Curricular Initiatives.

Scottish Government (2016) Curriculum for Excellence: Technologies, Principles and Practice. [Online] Available: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/images/technologies_principles_practice_tcm4-540109.pdf [Accessed: 19 November 2016]

Disasters

Disasters was a topic that I had a great interest in as I studied this throughout geography in high school and therefore had a vast knowledge of many of the disasters which engaged me more in the sessions. It was interesting to learn about concepts such as the progression of vulnerability where certain ELDCs’ due […]

Disasters was a topic that I had a great interest in as I studied this throughout geography in high school and therefore had a vast knowledge of many of the disasters which engaged me more in the sessions. It was interesting to learn about concepts such as the progression of vulnerability where certain ELDCs’ due to root causes are more vulnerable to certain dynamic pressures which in turn create unsafe conditions which mean they are less able to prepare for a disaster and to deal with the aftermath. Closely inspecting the role of international organisations provided me with some new knowledge as I could learn if they were politically neutral or not, what their priorities were and how they worked with governments within and between nations to effectively deal with short and long term impacts of disasters.

Furthermore, replicating experiments that can be done in classrooms was a useful insight into what considerations need to be made before conducting, for example, a volcano model with children as it may get very messy, especially with early years and first level, so this may be done as a whole class demonstration instead. The experiment we conducted in the workshop is shown via an accessible dropbox link below:

disasters-volcano-model

A model illustrating a volcano that can be used as a whole class demonstration.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u8kzgzwdceqmf2b/Snapchat-606110817.mp4?dl=0

We also looked at what can be done at a local, national and international level before, during and after a disaster, shown below:

Posters showing what can be done at a local, national and international level before, during and after a disaster occurs.

Posters showing what can be done at a local, national and international level before, during and after a disaster occurs.

disasters-2 disasters-3

 

Moreover, working in groups we each presented a different disaster with a focus on a certain curriculum for excellence level where my group focused on typhoons with a view on teaching it to second level. This was an extremely useful experience as not only did it allow me to add to my existing subject knowledge but it also brought together different teaching ideas from different perspectives that I may not have thought of, for example, linking disasters to interdisciplinary learning through integrated arts with collages or models of volcanoes. It was also useful to gain teaching techniques when teaching a topic as sensitive as disasters as I learned that appropriate humour can be used to help children feel more comfortable with the disaster. It is also important to establish the seriousness of disasters but also bring the light-heartedness to it.

Learning about disasters has positively impacted how I feel about going on to teach this as many practical activities can be used to accompany the theory side of it to make it more enjoyable and engaging for children. Learning about each of the case studies that each group presented provided a real life context for children to relate to and it is required that I continue to refresh and update my knowledge on these case studies. I think it would be interesting to look at how different organisations have responded to disasters as Stout and Buono (n.d.) argued how seemingly “natural” disasters are actually social problems as many “government sponsored plans and programs of recovery and reconstruction tended to favour the interests of big business and the wealthy.” This would be useful in raising awareness to children of the social injustice and inequality that arises in our world as Stout and Buono (n.d.) continue to argue how lower class citizens and those of ethnic minority were not a priority in the aftermath of the recovery process. Therefore, it is important that I continue to research and find out more about such organisations and their roles in the aftermath of disasters.

References

Katrina A. Kathryn Stout, Ph. D. and Richard a. Dello Buono, Ph. D (n.d.) “Natural” Disasters are Social Problems: Learning from Katrina [Online] Available: http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/816810/mod_resource/content/1/Natural%20Disasters%20are%20social%20problems.pdf [Accessed: 5 November 2016].

Interdependence

This session informed me of the inner workings of a dairy farm upon visiting a technologically advanced one which made me more aware of the source of my food as I consume meat on a daily basis. Several controversial issues were brought to light such as: Is it right to conduct artificial insemination to create […]

This session informed me of the inner workings of a dairy farm upon visiting a technologically advanced one which made me more aware of the source of my food as I consume meat on a daily basis. Several controversial issues were brought to light such as: Is it right to conduct artificial insemination to create the best possible breed of cow? Should cows be kept indoors, or should they be exposed to the outdoors? This visit also brought to light issues such as farmers not getting equivalent money for the milk that they produce.

What interested me greatly was the organisation of “passports” which allowed the farmers to see records such as family history and how often the cows chose to get milked. This then provided useful information when considering which bull to match with which cow through artificial insemination which I was not previously aware that this system was used in farms. Additionally, when we first arrived and saw all the cows being kept indoors, it did bother me as I believe cows just like all animals should be free to live in their natural environment which for cows would be outdoors, however, I soon realised that the cows were content being indoors through the silence and that they were getting all their needs and being treated extremely well which caters for animal welfare.

Next, we attended a workshop where Sammi Jones, an Education and Engagement Officer, from Soil Association Scotland gave a presentation about Food for Life, soils and Future Farming.

I was thoroughly engaged in this presentation as geography had always been an interest of mine throughout high school, but what really interested me is just how much of our food comes from the soil as “one-quarter of the world’s biodiversity is found in the soil which supports most of the food chains on our planet”. (Sammi Jones, 2016). Furthermore, this linked to issues raised in the lecture whereby overfishing causes specific species to adapt to this sudden change or find other food which impacts the balance of food chains. There will be more competition from species as larger species may eat all the food that smaller species rely on which leads to those species dying out. This issue is significant as the balance of life in the ocean impacts on all life and results in “healthy people, food security, regional stability and a flourishing ‘blue economy’”. (WWF, 2016).

A useful experiment that was brought up by Sammi Jones that could be conducted in the classroom was investigating the effect covered soil has vs no cover to demonstrate the importance of having vegetation on soil. Children can investigate the impact of three different kinds of cover on soil Sammi Jones introduced several effects, one of which included heavy machinery and over-grazing has on soil that is not covered as soil requires nutrients, water and air which is all clogged up as there is no space for plant roots to find these nutrients and grow. Having learned about this, it is important that I continue to expand my knowledge on environmental issues that affect all life caused by human activities and solutions for these issues and other impacts that affect soil and solutions for these in order to correctly educate children and make them aware of concepts such as erosion, contamination, sealing and compacting which were the main issues affecting soil that Sammi Jones brought up.

References

WWF (2016) Oceans [Online] Available: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/our_global_goals/oceans/ [Accessed: 20/10/16]

Sammi Jones (2016) Soil Association Scotland [Module Resource] Available: Sustainable Development module on Moodle. [Accessed 20/10/16].

The Environment Learning Log

In engaging with the workshops, it opened my mind as to the possibilities that outdoor learning brings to a child’s education that indoor learning cannot. The tree identifying activity was the one I found most effective and intriguing as it gets children to directly be around their local environment and really engage with it which […]

In engaging with the workshops, it opened my mind as to the possibilities that outdoor learning brings to a child’s education that indoor learning cannot. The tree identifying activity was the one I found most effective and intriguing as it gets children to directly be around their local environment and really engage with it which will be much more stimulating and interesting for children than learning about it indoors. It was also useful to summarise successes and issues with this activity when doing it with children as well as recreating similar indoor activities based on the same learning. I also found this activity most interesting as it led to several prompt questions that may arise in children that relate to environmental issues such as the impact of the loss of habitat and discovering the reasons behind why certain trees may be found in a particular area. This concern for environmental issues can be followed through with my role as an educator which Kemp (2004) highlights is a necessity as we are increasingly becoming more aware of these issues, evidence being that more individuals and groups are forming to resolve discrete environmental issues.

Moreover, the birds and bugs activity proved to be a more difficult activity, however I realise this was due to lack of enthusiasm for digging around in mud whereas children may be more keen to do this. The lichen activity was also less engaging than the tree activity, but may be an eye-opener to children when discovering the different factors that affect air quality in their local environment that are man-made. However, as a future role model and teacher, and as the Scottish Government (2012) describes, I should aim to become an “active global citizen” in order to inspire children to develop a positive and appreciative attitude towards the environment. In addition, Scottish Government (2012) describes common whole school approaches that support learning for sustainability and ultimately helps towards a more environmentally friendly planet. Such examples include the participation of Scottish schools in eco schools, the green flag award and fairtrade schools.

Furthermore, I have always had good experiences regarding the environment which has led to a deep appreciation and interest for helping to support a greener planet. This stemmed from always having an interest in studying geography and being an active eco community member in high school, therefore I hope to inspire the same enthusiasm and appreciation for the environment in children and guide them towards realising and understanding the importance of creating a sustainable environment for future generations.

Kemp, D. (2004) Exploring Environmental Issues. London: Routledge

Scottish Government (2012) Learning for Sustainability: The Report of the One Planet Schools Working Group. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

Urban Environment

My local urban environment is situated in the South of Glasgow with an average population density of 7,800. The town is a thriving industrial estate transformed from the latter part of the 20th century when it was predominantly a peri-urban community. The conservation of the country park and public park keep this environment a peri-urban […]

My local urban environment is situated in the South of Glasgow with an average population density of 7,800. The town is a thriving industrial estate transformed from the latter part of the 20th century when it was predominantly a peri-urban community. The conservation of the country park and public park keep this environment a peri-urban community. Regarding physical characteristics, types of building include several new housing estate projects that have been implemented, unfortunately this reduces green spaces in the area. There are also lots of residential buildings in my urban environment.  Many green spaces are available to the public such as a country park (see 1 for management plan)  and a public park which provide widely used recreation spaces. These have been maintained by the  local authority and promote sustainable development as many activities and events occur throughout the year to maintain the pond and park. An example is park rangers offering group walks educating the public about conservation and holding eco events (see 2 for management plan).  Installation of cross trainers and other fitness  equipment throughout the park promote healthy lifestyles. Similarly,  community spaces have recently increased due to a new gym facility in connection with the public park. Furthermore, the town’s community centre has long been established and can be hired for commercial, social or community uses. There is also a nearby library and theatre.

The organisation of roads allows easy links to the major M77 motorway as well as nearby towns through wide, long, straight multi-lane roads. This creates good communication links as there are  frequent bus and train services, as well as an abundance of motor vehicles. Issues I have observed regarding transport is the build-up of traffic due to buses intertwining through narrow streets, busier buses on Sundays due to a lack of a Sunday train service and a build-up of motor vehicles and buses throughout streets due to traffic from the primary school having collided as no car parks are offered.

In regards to industry, my local urban environment there are a variety of retail, service, healthcare and business stores with the most significant being the extension of the town’s supermarket allowing more consumers to access it. A second storey car park was also built to accommodate more consumers which demonstrates how successful the extension was in attracting more customers.

In regards to air quality, my local urban environment ranked a low 2 in regards to the level of pollution in the area. This could be as a result of an abundance of trees and green spaces and a lack of factories and nearby plants.

air-quality

  1. http://www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=3225&p=0
  2. http://www.roukenglenpark.co.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=5491&p=0