Civic Education for Sustainability
The following activities indicate some of the pedagogical approaches which might be used to promote participatory and interactive learning. Tutors will need to select activities which they think will be appropriate for the subject they are teaching and the age, ability and national context of the students they are teaching. The aim is to engage students rather than to attempt to achieve comprehensive coverage of all issues. Active learning has many advantages. It is memorable, meaningful, engages students who might otherwise be passive and helps to create situations where new ideas can be generated in a secure and supportive environment. If students are to be active members of their community then practical learning needs to be part of their learning at university.
· Warm up activities
Use a variety of expressive ways such as drawings to express their emotional and personal response to environmental issues
Students write down questions which interest them about the environment on post-it notes
Use articles and movies to develop critical thinking and to show different viewpoints
Put students in groups of four or five. Ask them a set of questions eg 'Can you think of a moment in your life when you have been personally engaged in sustainability? Can you think of an activity when your community has been engaged with sustainability? What would you suggest for the improvement of the environment?
· Case studies
Introduce students to personal, fictional or real stories/situations regarding environmental issues
· Explore and discuss extracts from books, poetry, religious texts and so forth which relate to sustainability issues in order to express the relation between culture and environmental issues
· Find out about a problem where there is a conflict between two values eg oil refineries in a populated areas create air pollution (life value) but brings also provide jobs (work value)
· Frontal Lectures
Lectures can be made interactive by using questions between both staff and students. Visiting lecturers can bring new ideas.
Using concept maps to organize and structure knowledge
Students read an article and analyze the content by drawing a diagram showing how the ideas inter-relate.
· Interactive games
· For example:
· (1) Canteen room Explore and issue about which students have strong opinions e.g. vegetarian for or against. Ask the students to stand up in the center of the room facing each other according to their views. Each student then can explain their opinion. When everyone has spoken the students are invited to change their position according to what they have learnt. You can play several rounds.
· (2) . Ask students to stand in a circle. Each student has a card with a word on it eg water, tree, leaf, flower, bee, honey. Give the student who represents 'water' a ball of wool. They then throw the wool to a person they are linked with e.g. the 'tree' who then throws it to 'leaf' and so forth. At each point the student needs to explain the connection. When all students are connected by the wool they can reverse the process to show how the leaf depends on the tree which depends on water.
· (3) Links and connections