In a nutshell, energy powers the world. Everything that we do throughout our daily lives from sending a text message to cooking a pizza is powered by a form of energy, whether this be through traditional fossil fuels or new alternative energy sources. My generation of society have been brought up dependent on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas and due to this these scarce resources are running out. Natural historian, David Attenborough, as recent as today claimed that “if we do not take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” I never thought twice about energy and the impending thought of running out of fossil fuels as growing up these things have always just been available whenever I wanted them. This is of course the view of an individual with a good upbringing from a developed country however people around the world do not get the luxury of heating and electricity every day of their lives. While looking at energy within this module, I have gained a vast amount of knowledge in relation to up and coming renewable and alternative energy which is making an increase in recent years. The UK Government conducted research into the use of renewable energy and the general populations thoughts on replacing the average fossil fuel power plants with new technologies. The conclusion to the research was that more than 82% of the UK population back the use of renewable energy in order to provide electricity, fuel and heat. Reflecting on my own use of energy, I have identified ways in which I can combat my own energy use and how to reduce this for the benefit of the world and future generations. Most people think that by one person changing one habit then no difference will be made however if everyone is in the same mindset and every human changes one bad habit for example turning the heating off when you are not at home, there will be a huge positive impact on the world and reserves of these scarce fuels. Looking at the topic of energy and renewable sources from a child’s perspective, it becomes more difficult as like I mentioned previously, these children are brought up to expect power and electricity to charge their gaming tablet or heating to keep them warm at night. However, if we impart wisdom through teaching they can be made more aware of the damage this constant supply is doing to the world but also what it could mean for them growing up and raising their own families.
The most important skill that I have learned throughout this topic would be that I am now more ethically aware and socially responsible as to what my everyday actions are doing to the world. This is a skill that is not just transferrable to teaching however something to be aware of at all times. Everything every human on this planet does, affects the world in some way or another and it is imperative that we are aware of these consequences. Topics such as global warming and fossil fuels are not caused by one individual or one generation or country. Individually, we are contributing to these catastrophes whether we are willing to accept it or not. Being socially aware of how we affect the world and coming to that realisation is the first step to reducing the amount of energy we use and which in turn allows us to be open to newer ideas such as renewable energy.
One of the key roles of primary teachers is to educate and encourage all pupils to be active, critical and responsible citizens within a local, national, international and global context (GTCS, Standard for Initial Teacher Education, 2006). These skills are transferable as if I, the teacher, is socially and ethically aware of my decisions, these will then in turn pass on to my pupils who will begin to develop a sense of ownership as to how they are changing the world. These skills are progressed the entire way through education and can be supported by the ‘.Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes’. Introducing the topic of energy and developments within society through early level, pupils should ‘enjoy playing with and exploring technologies to discover what they can do and how they can help us.’ (TCH 0-01a, Curriculum for Excellence). Progressing this through to second level whereby children should be able to analyse how lifestyles can impact on the environment and Earth’s resources can be able to make suggestions about how to live in a more sustainable way (TCH 2-02a, Curriculum for Excellence). This second level experience and outcome links directly to the generic skill of being socially and ethically aware. At an early age and the entire way through education, children should be encouraged to investigate what they can do live a more sustainable life. Reflecting on my own childhood, as a generation we never got taught about energy and what we could do individually but also we never had such a robust system like Curriculum for Excellence which ensures that all children are reaching these academic milestones. Curriculum for Excellence changes as the country grows and develops and is constantly introducing new topics and experiences and outcomes to ensure that children are engaged with the world and society that they live in. Within a classroom setting a topic such as energy allows for a cross-curricular approach to take place as areas such as science, health and wellbeing, and social studies can be interlinked and students can begin to see how not only the curriculum but also society is interlinked.
Throughout the lectures and workshops for this theme, we were introduced to many resources that enabled us to engage more with the topic such as circuit boards, debating through the topic of wind turbines and solar power energy. These resources could be used within a classroom setting however some may have to be augmented in order for it to suit the age range in question. However, some resources I could see myself using within my own classroom in the future such as building a kite. This straightforward task actually has a lot of learning involved in it as it allows pupils to begin to understand the force of the wine and the mechanics of flight which is a renewable energy source. With guidance and support, I would aim this lesson for first level pupils are the intricate building of the kite may be too difficult for early level pupils.
I would say this theme has had the most impact on me so far as it has allowed me to see how much energy I am using but more importantly how much I am using without realising or actually needing the power. Being a student teacher, I can see the impact that my life choices could have upon my future class and how much I could educate them to change the world. New government initiatives that are coming out now and proposed plans for the future will focus solely on renewable and alternative sources of energy so hopefully the country will take shape as the policies and legislation evolve. I think renewable energy is such an important topic as it allows the human race to live a longer, healthier lifestyle.
Resources & References
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (2017) Energy and Climate Change Public Attitude Tracker.[Online] Available: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/678077/BEIS_Public_Attitudes_Tracker_-_Wave_24_Summary_Report.pdf [Accessed 24 November 2018].
General Teaching Council for Scotland (2006) Standard for Initial Teacher Education. [Online] Available: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/the-standard-for-initial-teacher-education.pdf [Accessed 25 November 2018].
McGrath, M. (2018) Sir David Attenborough: Climate change ‘our greatest threat’. BBC News.[Online] 3 December. Available: BBC News. [Accessed 3 December 2018].
Scottish Executive (2006) A Curriculum for Excellence: Technologies Experiences and Outcomes.Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.
Sustainable Development (2017) Technologies in Alternative Energy. [Module Resource] Available: Sustainable Development module on Moodle. [Accessed 29 November 2018].