Over the past two weeks we have looked at the theme climate change and I think that as a future teacher it is essential that I have sufficient knowledge on the detrimental effects of climate change so that I am able to successfully convey the urgent need for change to children.
During the lecture, we looked at both causes and effects of climate change and this highlighted to me the significant impact that human activity is having on the climate. We also looked at graphs which showed that the five warmest years on record have been since 2010 which again reinforced to me the urgent need for change (NASA).
I calculated my own carbon footprint and was shocked at my result (16.7 tonnes). This made me realise that there is more that I must do to cut my carbon emissions. I intend to significantly reduce the amount of money I spend on both clothes and food as these factors had a considerable impact on my carbon footprint. This task allowed me to develop critical thinking skills as I was able to look at the results of my carbon footprint and evaluate what positive choices I am making and what further action I need to take. I think that carrying out this activity with older children would be effective as it would allow the children to feel empowered by how they could have the ability to make a difference.
During the politics and global warming workshop I gained knowledge on the influence that politicians have when it comes to climate change as they are responsible for coming up with policies to try and reduce the impact we are having on the climate. I learned that although there are policies in place more action is still required to try and combat climate change. The Climate Change Scotland Act (2009) have come up with a ‘2050’ target with the aim to have reduced Scottish emissions by at least 80% below the baseline. I think that this is a very ambitious target which will only be met if drastic measures are implemented. I also learned about the huge influence that governments can have on climate change for example the Paris Agreement (2015) is a treaty which was put in place to cut emissions contributing to climate change. However, both China and the United States did not agree to this and this has a negative impact on the rest of the world as these are two of the largest populated areas contributing a large percentage of global emissions. This highlighted to me that not all governments are taking accountability for their actions and are choosing to ignore the impact they are having on the world. I think that it is important to look at policies with children so that they understand what society as a whole is doing to cut emissions in order to motivate and encourage them to do their part.
In the science lab, we focused on weather and how our climate system determines the weather. In groups, we completed survival tasks which were based in areas with varying weather conditions. During this activity, we had to research our area and decide what items we thought would be a necessity to be able to survive. I believe that during this task we all further developed in both research and problem-solving skills. We also made snowflakes and our own animals which could survive in particular conditions and this allowed us to be creative. As a teacher, I intend to carry out similar tasks to help children further develop in these specific skills.
I have developed a variety of skills which I believe will help me on this course and in the future as a primary teacher.
Critical Thinking – As a primary teacher I must be able to look at a situation from a range of perspectives and consider everyone’s point of view. I think that this course is allowing me to think deeply and look at situations from different angles. During other inputs such as inter-professional working and integrated arts I am also putting this skill into practice.
Research Skills and Problem Solving – As a teacher, I must be able to look into situations, analyse them and consider the best options.
I have enjoyed learning more about climate change and it has allowed me to gain a deeper insight into the responsibility I will have as a teacher to ensure that children are educated about what climate change is and what they can do to help reduce climate change.
Climate Change Scotland Act (2009)
Paris Agreement (2015)
Over the past two weeks I have gained a deeper insight into what sustainable development is and how it is essential that children are taught in schools about the importance of sustainability. During the lecture, I learned that the aim of sustainable development is to ensure that everyone has a satisfactory quality of life and that all needs are met without negatively impacting the lives of future generations (Scottish Government, 2010). The lecture focused on some of the benefits of sustainability and I found this to be very beneficial as it highlighted to me the significance of teaching children about this as it will encourage qualities such as respect and equity. I believe I gained essential knowledge from this lecture as I previously associated sustainable development with the environment and I now understand that it relates to many different aspects such as diversity and equality.
As a teacher, I intend to use the following videos when introducing the term sustainable development to children.
During the WOSDEC input we worked in groups and considered what our probable future would look like compared to our preferred future and through this discussion we became aware that we all had similar ideas of what our ideal world would look like however the reality is quite bleak. This exercise highlighted to me the responsibility I will have as a teacher to encourage children to take action and look after the world they live in. I learned that there are 17 global goals which were created in 2015 with the intentions of making the world better by 2030 (United Nations, 2018). I think through activities, books and wall displays children will gain a deeper understanding of the global goals and will want to make our world better for everyone.
In the science lab, we explored the theme bio-diversity and completed a number of activities based on plants and living things. In groups, we went outside and collected tree rubbings. My group found this enjoyable and it made us aware of the positives of going outside into the environment. Taking children outdoors has many benefits as it motivates and encourages them to participate and learn (Education Scotland, 2007). We also carried out other activities such as dissecting flowers. I think that children enjoy going outdoors and doing activities they have never done before as it is something new and exciting for them to experience.
We looked more closely at the theme diversity and focused on what cultural diversity is and why it matters. Through group discussions it became apparent that people had differing views on certain aspects related to cultural diversity. This workshop encouraged us to give our own views and respect other people’s opinions.
I have developed a number of relevant skills during these inputs such as being an effective communicator, being creative and becoming more culturally aware.
I believe that during the group discussions on cultural diversity I was an effective communicator as I was able to convey my thoughts clearly and concisely. I also made sure to show respect to my peers and listen to their viewpoints. I think that being an effective communicator is important as it enables you to convey your point of view well and it encourages people to listen. I believe that I am becoming more vocal during group discussions and this is giving me more confidence in my abilities. As a teacher, it is vital that I am able to interact with a range of people effectively.
I think that it is important to allow ourselves to be creative as it will help us to thrive and reach our potentials. I think that when conducting the activities outside during the science workshop this allowed me to be creative and this reinforced to me the importance of being creative as a teacher. Conducting activities outside will excite the children and encourage them to learn. Being creative relates to another module called Integrated Arts where I have learned about the significance of creativity as it allows us to be open-minded and achieve positive results.
I also think I have become more culturally aware through looking at the theme diversity in more detail. This is important as it vital to appreciate different ways of life and show respect towards people who have different views to our own. Teachers must be culturally aware and be considerate of the diverse range of children they have in their class.
Overall, I have learned a considerable amount over the past two weeks. I now have a lot more knowledge on what sustainable development is and how and why it should be promoted in schools. I understand the relevance of the theme diversity and how prevalent it is in society today.
Education Scotland (2007) Taking Learning Outdoors, Partnerships for Excellence. Glasgow: Education Scotland
Scottish Government (2010) Learning for Change Report.Edinburgh: Scottish Government
United Nations (2018) The Sustainable Development Goals Report. [Online] Available: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/files/report/2018/TheSustainableDevelopmentGoalsReport2018-EN.pdf [Accessed 22 September 2019]
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