ELT is in a unique position to increase environmental awareness and positively influence behaviour among students and teachers in and from many different countries. We have a unique ‘soft power’ we can exert that gives us the potential to make our profession not just carbon neutral, but carbon positive.
- Lessons and themes – sustainability in the curriculum – see Integrating Global Issues in the Creative English Language Classroom
- ThoughtBox Climate Change Curriculum resources: https://www.thoughtboxeducation.com/climatecurriculum
- Climate Learning Week:
- Environmental days/weeks/months: see https://ELTfootprint.org/materials
- Sustainability week for students with experiential events and guest speakers
- Environmental champions in your school – staff and students
- Invite local green groups into your school to speak to staff and students
- Teach good news stories: eg. https://www.positive.news/environment/ and https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/tag/climate/
- British Council environment topic teaching materials at LearnEnglishTeens and LearnEnglishKids
- Put pressure on suppliers – stationers, publishers, food suppliers, transport providers, energy suppliers, etc – by questioning their eco credentials, asking to see their environmental policies and preferring responsible suppliers.
- Maintain contact with local political representatives and keep pushing the importance of green policies.
Just teaching about environmental issues will not make our students – particularly children – care for the environment. Taught badly it could actually have the opposite effect. What will make our students care is a deepened connection with nature. So part of our responsibility as ELT professionals is to find ways of deepening that connection. Some ideas:
- Do an ‘eco tour’ of the school pointing out the efforts that you / the host school are making
- Organise countryside or urban nature walks (for urban, see here esp. p.30 onwards)
- Organise trips into the countryside and urban parks. eg. country parks
- Organise outdoor learning activities for young children
- Organise a nature photography lesson
- Organise environmental games and activities for kids
- Stargazing: Meteorite or satellite?
- Cloud watching
- Teach English through nature projects
- Outdoor painting and drawing activities
- Tree and leaf activities
- Nature documentary programmes and films: see Into Film
- Take the classroom outside
- Make use of Countryside Classroom resources
- Encourage staff to model environmentally responsible behaviour and tell students what they are doing personally to reduce their impact on the environment
Influencing – further information:
Council for Learning Outside the Classroom: https://www.lotc.org.uk/category/resources/
STEM Ginger Education specialises in Natural Sciences and the English language and offers plenty of activities, resources and support. (STEM = Science, Technology, English and Maths).
Green Schools Project: resources to help scaffold school initiatives and get young people involved in environmental campaigns
Eco Schools Programme: WWF programme aiming to build awareness and good practice in schools, leading to a Green Flag award
Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future: UNESCO Teacher education programme
ELT Sustainable: ideas, resources and courses for bringing the environment into your lessons
Climate Visuals: a collection of royalty free environmental photos to use in your classroom / school
Into Film – film suggestions: environment-themed films and documentaries that can be ordered, watched and discussed in your school
Outdoor Learning Made Easy: Blog page for this commercial organisation includes lots of good general information on why outdoor learning matters.
26 February 2020
Instituto Terra: Another good news story
Forest Garden video: how a diverse forest garden in the UK can help nature to adapt to climate change.
Integrating Global Issues in the creative English Language classroom: ELT publication based on UN Sustainable Development Goals
Daniel Barber ELT Climate Emergency Declaration:
Eco TEFL: Thought-provoking blog entry from Christopher Graham.
https://blog.innovateevents.com/ielt19/climate-emergency-declaration-for-the-elt-industry/ See also this video