Before outdoor learning there was the shieling. For hundreds of years, each summer young people all over Scotland would take the livestock up to hill or moorland pastures, camping there in small bothies, learning about the world beyond the village. The Shieling Project brings the shieling back to life for young people and teachers, through outdoor learning, resources and professional learning for teachers.
Sam Harrison, who runs the Shieling Project explains “Through this tradition we can look at so many subjects across the curriculum, and work skills from archaeology to forestry, as well as exploring global sustainability themes through hands on local learning experiences.”
The Shieling Project professional learning programme in learning for sustainability will run again from this May. The year long course leads to professional recognition from the GTCS in Learning for Sustainability.
Based in Glen Strathfarrar, near Beauly, four weekend workshops, two days of outdoor learning with your class and an online forum provide an opportunity to build a critical, supportive and collaborative community. The course costs £900.
For more information, including a video of the first cohort of teachers presenting their learning journeys, click here.
For a full list of courses that can lead to professional recognition, visit the GTCS website .
In the week that the Scottish Government joins UNICEF in launching the World’s Largest Lesson, more schools have been sharing their learning around the Global Goals. One such school is Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh, who have been blogging about their journey to become a ‘Rights Respecting School’. Click here to find out how learners have been raising the profile of Goal 1 – No Poverty and Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities. Keep up the good work Sciennes learners and bloggers!
A number of schools have started learning about the newly agreed Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Scotland was one of the first nations in the world to sign up to the Global Goals, building on the Scottish Government’s existing commitment to the learning for sustainability agenda.
One of the key commitments on education in Global goal 4.7 is that our children and young people are fully involved in building a more sustainable and equitable future. It states that by 2030 we must “ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”
One school in West Dunbartonshire has stolen a march on the 2030 deadline and is already out tackling Global Goal #2 – No Hunger. You can read more about St Eunan’s Primary 7’s learning on food justice and food inequality in their class blog.
Well done to all involved and good luck with your ongoing activities at West Dunbartonshire Community Food Share. If any other classes are blogging about the Global Goals or any other LfS activities, please email Anthony.Hutcheson@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk or let us know on Twitter @EdScotLfS .
Click here for a short animation, created by Sir Ken Robinson, on the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Did you know the Global Learning Programme Scotland (GLPS) has a dedicated events page? This online hub provides information and booking details for all upcoming professional learning programmes offered by the six regional Development Education Centres (DECs).
Forthcoming events include Learning for sustainability: developing global citizens 1st to 3rd level (WOSDEC, East Ayrshire) , Rights and Global Citizenship: a cross curriculum approach (SCOTDEC,West Lothian) and One Day Conference on National Qualifications and Learning for Sustainability (Conforti Institute, Coatbridge).
The IDEAS network has also provided information in response to the refugee crisis. Information on events, resources and support for teachers is available here.
Scottish teachers are able to benefit from a wide range of free resources produced by charities and NGOs to support global citizenship education and learning for sustainability. The online magazine Stride, produced by the IDEAS forum in Scotland, is a very helpful means of finding out about new projects and materials for education. The summer 2015 edition includes an article about a Literacy project linking Scotland and Rwanda , features such as ‘taking global learning outdoors locally’ , and class activity suggestions.
The IDEAS forum is also behind “Signposts for Global Citizenship“, a new searchable collection of resources which can support education practitioners.
One fresh example is a resource created by education staff at Oxfam, ‘Maths and Global Citizenship’, which describes how maths can be taught with a global citizenship approach. They argue that “Global Citizenship provides real-life contexts which engage learners’ curiosity and make them want to use maths to explore patterns and formulate ideas about the world. The motivation for mathematical learning often hinges on its application. Therefore using real-life statistics is a great way to demonstrate the purpose of maths to learners and to inspire them.
In early 2014, Oxfam found that the world’s 85 richest people owned the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. By January 2015, this number had fallen to 80. What story about inequality do these statistics tell? Are the numbers reliable? How was the research carried out? Does everyone agree with these figures? Learners can develop their mathematical understanding both in making sense of such data and by investigating its context and validity. Through a Global Citizenship approach to maths, learners critically analyse the statistics they are exposed to in daily life; make connections between the local and the global and then share their understanding with others.”
During a number of recent events and presentations about learning for sustainability, I have displayed the above word cloud with the question “Where do we start?”. Different practitioners offer different responses. My response is to assure everyone that where you start is far less important than actually getting started and making the connections between the many exciting areas of this agenda.
Making connections is exactly what Ben Mali MacFadyen from Eco Drama has been doing throughout the Out to Play project. Working with children and teachers across Glasgow, Out to Play seeks to facilitate interaction with the natural world through quality artistic experiences, re-thinking traditional views of nature as merely ‘sites’ and ‘reserves’, noticing and appreciating nature on our doorstep.
Sessions have been tailored to the unique surroundings of each school, and through imaginative play & adventurous learning, Out to Play aims to deepen young people’s connection to our natural world.
Ben’s blog offers a detailed and reflective account of the process thus far, providing some wonderful insights into the children’s learning. He has also shared a number of very practical ideas and approaches for engaging pupils in the outdoors.
For further information on Education Scotland support for outdoor learning, click here.
Kenyan Connections is a partnership between Crofting Connections and NECOFA Kenya School Gardens Initiative which works with rural schools and communities in the Eastern Rift Valley of Kenya.
Four Crofting Connections schools have been awarded funding through the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms programme to host exchange teacher visits with Kenyan schools, using food growing in the school gardens as a starting point for learning about local food production and for delivering learning for sustainability.
This conference is part of a visit to Scotland by Kenyan teachers to the participating Crofting Connections schools. It provides a valuable CLPL opportunity for teachers, as the Scottish and Kenyan partner schools share their learning with other schools.
Speakers include Dr Margaret Bennett, writer, folklorist, singer and broadcaster; Dr Rehema White, lecturer in Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews; Samuel Muhunyu, director of NECOFA Kenya, and Catriona Willis, Global Learning coordinator at Highland One World.
For further information and to book a place at this event, click here.
The ‘Our Environment Competition’ is a great way of engaging young people with their local environment and conservation issues.
Children identify and collect information about an issue in their local environment, collate the information and propose a solution.
Submit your entry as a presentation, poster, leaflet, video or photo storyboard – or maybe you can think of another creative way.
Have you already been working on an environmental project? You can use what you have found out and produced for this competition!
The winning entry will get £1000!
Find out more here.
After much interest the closing date has been extended to Friday April 10th.
Pupils from Kinnaird Primary School, Larbert, are sharing their learning for sustainability work with the wider world. Gemma Douglas, principal teacher, and Brenda Bennie, class teacher, have been using WOSDEC global storyline resource, Our Crop, Our Land with their Primary 5 and 6 classes to explore the issues of food security and land grabbing. Their animation on the use and production of Palm Oil explores the far reaching consequences of our everyday choices. It has already had hundreds of hits on YouTube much to the excitement of the illustrators, animators and voiceover artists from Kinnaird. Great work team!
For more on this story and a chance to see the children’s animation, click here.