The Ecocentric Approach: Introducing Sustainability in Education

Table of Contents

Description

How can schools introduce environmental sustainability to everyday curricular activities?

The issue is not straightforward, and to some extent, it seems paradoxical: on the one hand, society insistently requires schools to improve their pupils’ attitude towards the environment; on the other hand, national educational institutions provide limited suggestions on how to motivate students to take responsibility and become aware of sustainability.

During the course, participants will have the chance to deconstruct the notion of sustainability and examine it with an interdisciplinary approach, i. e. one that encompasses its social, humanistic, economic, environmental, and scientific aspects.

The course will show how sustainability correlates with many commonly taught subjects, and how schoolteachers can make their students more aware of important environmental issues, thereby increasing their motivation to become active advocates of sustainability.

Among others, participants will learn about strategies to introduce their students to critical consumerism and to reuse materials in their projects, especially in the creation of a design or a prototype.

They will also learn to identify sustainability as a relevant criterion when assessing the quality of the projects created by their students, which will facilitate the introduction of sustainability to any given subject.

Simultaneously, participants will find out about different techniques and practical methodologies to evaluate the sustainability of their school over time. Moreover, they will discover how to use these methods of assessment to devise change and make their school more sustainable.

By the end of the course, participants will have learned how to involve their students in issues connected with sustainability, and they will have discovered strategies and techniques to make their school environmentally friendly. Learning about sustainability within education will help their pupils stay motivated to make the world a better place.

Concept by: Gabriele Cinti

Learning outcomes

  • Understand sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective;
  • Introduce sustainability to any given school subject;
  • Evaluate the sustainability of their school with the aid of practical strategies;
  • Design a sustainable classroom;
  • Foster sustainable behavior at school.

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – What is sustainability?

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external activities for the week;
  • Icebreaker activities;
  • Presentation of the schools of participants;
  • Definition of sustainability and sustainable development;
  • Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

Day 2 – Environmental sustainability: a practical approach

  • How to measure sustainability?
  • The meaning of waste in the 21st century;
  • Recycling: using creativity to change the history of an object.

Day 3 – Economic sustainability

  • The theory of needs vs consumerism: practical and active learning activities;
  • From a linear to a circular economy;
  • Open innovation: how to relate reusing and teaching school subjects.

Day 4 – Sustainability in education

  • Sustainability in the society: an ethical approach;
  • Interdisciplinary approach in education and its pragmatic relation to sustainability;
  • How to develop sustainable learning approaches.

Day 5 – Create a sustainable project for schools

  • Managing long-term sustainability projects at school;
  • Activity of project design;
  • Presentation of the projects developed by the participant during the course.

Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competences, feedback, and discussion.
  • Award of the Certificate of Attendance.
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

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