This focus is an opportunity to explore the Enviroschools Guiding Principles of Empowered Students, Sustainable Communities, Learning for Sustainability, Maori Perspectives and Respect for the Diversity of People and Cultures and deepen the connections between them through inquiry learning.
Creating Catalysts for Change is an opportunity to promote positive values and enrich student empowerment. It’s a chance for students to go deeper with their actions and to see themselves and their communities as part of the solution to global and local issues, and to contribute to a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. It can be a platform for including aspects of the students’ wider lives and connecting to current political affairs.
The Action Learning Cycle will guide teachers and students through an inquiry process that allows students to consider their prior learning, events and experiences, and consider how these affect their lives, the environment and society in New Zealand and other parts of the world. This will include what is already happening, and exploring what others have done. This will then lead to critical decision making and action that has relevance to them. Reflection is a key aspect of this learning process.
Understandings can be developed through a range of approaches – discussing current and past issues; asking questions; gathering information; completing surveys; provoking discussion; exploring and analysing different attitudes, values and perspectives; experiential activities that help explore these; contributing to planning and participating in action.
This focus will engage students with the world they live in and develop the ability to take meaningful, relevant action for a sustainable future. This means that teaching needs to help develop action competence in students. Examples of types of learning to encourage action competence include experiential learning, co-operative learning, critical thinking, problem-based learning, inquiry-based learning and reflective practice.
Some of these are explained, with examples in the Enviroschools Kit, Learning and Teaching Methods pg 31. A visual display, (Pool of Knowledge/ Puna Matauranga pg 37 of the Kit) will show the development of ideas and understandings and could be represented as an ocean or Earth or something related to the particular issues you are exploring.
In this 2017 focus of “creating catalysts for change” there are abundant opportunities to use the contexts to explore the Science, English, Social Science, Technology, Maths and Arts curriculum:
Through Nature of Science: students can be empowered to work together to share and examine their own and others’ knowledge of local and global concepts of sustainability, ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models, and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations and begin to use a range of scientific symbols, conventions, and vocabulary.
As part of becoming discerning change makers they can engage with a range of science texts and begin to question the purposes for which these texts are constructed and use their growing science knowledge when considering issues of concern to them and explore various aspects of an issue and make decisions about possible actions.
They can use contexts to build English language skills such as: recognising, understanding, and considering how texts are constructed for a range of purposes, audiences, and situations, identifying particular points of view within texts and recognising that texts can position a reader and evaluating the reliability and usefulness of texts.
Through Social Studies they can engage critically with societal issues and evaluate the sustainability of alternative social, economic, political and environmental practices. They can explore relationships between people and place and how past actions and events have changed society over time. This will help them understand the past and the present and imagine possible futures.
They can apply Mathematics through statistical investigation and evaluate the effectiveness of change.
Through Technology they can design products and systems that effect change through addressing needs and opportunities.
Arts provides opportunities to communicate ideas with creativity, passion, sensitivity and imagination.
These ideas collated from the Learning Areas of the NZC. Teachers are encouraged to develop their own class curriculum focus and learning outcomes.