Prior to starting this course my knowledge of sustainable development was very limited. These first two inputs have allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what it is and how significant my role as a teacher is in educating children about sustainable development. I was introduced to the seventeen global goals and discussed the importance of learning for sustainability in schools.
Teachers who have taught sustainable development have stated that on top of making children more aware of what is happening in the world it also “LfS significantly enhances relationships, the sense of community spirit, parental engagement and the reputation of their establishment.” (Vision 2030). In the first session we received a presentation from two ladies from West of Scotland Development Education centre (WOSDEC). This session helped educate me on how sustainable development is a crucial subject to teach in primary schools and the benefit it has on children and society. By teaching children about sustainability, we are shaping them to become global citizens who are aware of what is happening in the world and the role they play in it. We also discussed in groups how children can use the knowledge they gain from Learning for Sustainability (LfS) to go home and educate their parents. The first session was a great way to begin this learning journey for me, it made me aware of the endless benefits of both learning and teaching this subject can bring to the classroom.
In session two we completed three activities and discussed the importance of different learning styles in the classroom. The first activity involved being outdoors in groups and taking rubbings from trees and leaves using crayon and seeing what different designs we could get.
When we were outside my group and I discussed some benefits and challenges of outdoor learning, some of the biggest challenges we discussed are; setting boundaries and children may see this as more of an opportunity for play and misbehave. However, we all agreed that the pros outweigh the cons. Pupils become more attentive outdoors as its more enjoyable than the conventional class setting and it allows children to relate learning to the real world (Waite, 2017). Outdoor learning is something that I completely advocate and will use at any given opportunity as a teacher. The other two activities we took part in were science-based experiments on living things. This involved snails and flowers.
Our snail experiment involved placing a snail on different pieces of material and judging the speed the snail moved at on each piece of material.
Teaching science in schools is very important as it allows children to develop certain skills that are required to cope in such a fast pace world, as well give them a deeper understanding of global issues like pollution and renewable energy (Harlen, Qualter,2014). After reading about the importance of science in the classroom and realising how well it ties in with learning for sustainability, I will be putting it into practice in the classroom.
On week two, we discussed some controversial topics surrounding diversity and social equality such as race, gender and religion and the stereotypes that come with each topic. When we were discussing stereotypes, we were asked to act them out, my group picked the biggest stereotype associated with Muslims today which is that they are all terrorists. Educating children about diversity is an incredibly important duty for teachers especially when we live in such a diverse world. Children must know how they can respect every humans’ rights. As a student teacher I believe my role is to try my best to educate children about social inclusion by giving them the tools and information so that they can learn to respect people of all different; genders, ethnicities, religion, ability and cultures. (The Scottish government, 2012) highlights this “Curriculum for Excellence challenges schools and communities to develop children and young people as responsible citizens who show respect for others; who understand different beliefs and cultures; and who are developing informed, ethical views of complex issues. Children and young people need to know why discrimination is unacceptable and how to challenge it. They need to understand the importance of celebrating diversity and promoting equality.”
Scottish Government (2016) Vision 2030+: Concluding Report of the National Learning for Sustainability National Implementation Group. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Documents/res1-vision-2030.pdf [Accessed 24 September 2019]
Harlen, W. , Qualter, A. (2014) The Teaching of Science in Primary Schools. [Online] Available: Dawsonera. [Accessed 23 September 2019].
Waite, S. (2017) Children Learning Outside the Classroom: From Birth to Eleven. [Online] Available: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=sPf-DQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=outdoor+learning+primary+school&ots=Xpyx8SLZb3&sig=gzRMkUKuDBkDZneyseetlF9tcyI#v=onepage&q=outdoor%20learning%20primary%20school&f=false [Accessed 23 September 2019].