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    General Course Details

    Course title


    Authors/ Instructors

    Alan Bainbridge, Beate  Cyboran, Dorota Gierszewski, Pnina Schur, Stan Sofer, Sulev Vladmaa, Tina Gelashvilli, Urwe Laanemets, Yocheved Yorkovsky, Michal Yuval

    Course status/ level


    Course code


    Teaching Semester



    5 – Israel

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      Course Rationale

      Rapid technological development in the last century (in agriculture, industry and transportation, exploitation of natural resources, ecological damage to the environment and biodiversity, consumption habits and more), has led to an environmental crisis. The global environmental problems are common to all mankind and could unite citizens of the world to act together in preventing the environmental deterioration. One way to reduce the harm to the environment is to increase environmental knowledge of students by providing them information about the environment and ecological issues and problems, and encouraging them how to act in an environmentally friendly way.

      The current course is based on the concept of sustainability as developed in the United Nations in recent decades, highlighting the different issues reflected in the field. This definition states that sustainability creates a culture that allows an equitable existence that will ensure the well- being of mankind in the present and future generations. It rests on the humanistic point of view through which learners can approach a level of awareness and responsibility towards sustainability issues. Sustainability refers to the relationship between people and the environment when the environment is a broad concept including the natural world, culture and society. According to this concept, the learning is interdisciplinary by nature reflecting the natural sciences, literature, history, culture, languages, and more........ The course designers believe that academic institutions should also approach this course from this interdisciplinary perspective.

      Our hope is that providing students with this approach towards sustainability will contribute to students’ pro-environmental behavior. Moreover, student teachers who will be future teachers, have an important role in educating and shaping the future citizens of the world, providing them with that knowledge, to enhance their awareness, attitudes, values, skills and sustainable behavior.


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        Course Objectives and Prerequisites

        Course Objectives

        • Understanding the complexity of the relationships between humans and environment includes a spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social perspective
        • Understanding global and local challenges of the environment and their inter-relationship
        • Understanding basic concepts of ecology and environmental issues
        • Enhancing the awareness and the implications of human activity on the environment
        • To help students develop civic values concerning environmental involvement and activity
        • To promote and develop critical and creative thinking regarding future sustainability issues from different perspectives (political, social, ecological, cultural, economic, legal, etc[u1] .).
        • To help students realize the relevance of sustainability issues in their personal lives.




        There are no pre-requisites for course attendance


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          Learning Outcomes of Course

          After completion of the course, students will be able to:

          ·         acquire and apply knowledge relating to sustainability in the community

          ·         analyze and suggest solutions to problems regarding sustainability

          ·         integrate traditional and innovative knowledge in developing attitudes towards sustainability from different perspectives (political, social, ecological, cultural, economic, legal, etc[u1] .).

          ·         develop a sense of responsibility towards sustainability on a global level

          • acquire a sensitivity towards different opinions regarding sustainability issues.
          • apply interactivactive relationships between local and global sustainability issues.


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            Teaching methods of course

            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

            ·         Dilemmas

            ·         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






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            Course Assessment and Requirements

            • Preparing and implementing an activity for civic action regarding an issue dealing with sustainability in which students justify their choice of focus, reflect critically on the impact of their activity and evaluate its wider significance. Activities can include a power point presentation, essay, poster preparation, video, etc. with reference to literature.
            • This will be a group presentation, which encourages students to learn in a collaborative manner. We suggest 50% of the grade goes towards the presentation itself and 50% of the mark goes towards an individual written assignment relating to the theory and impact of the activity.

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              Course Outline

              Unit 1: Introduction to Sustainability and Sustainable Development

              Week 1 – Perceptions of Sustainability- Introductory Activity

              Week 2 – Historical Relationship between Humans and the Environment

              Unit 2: Pollution and Environmental Degradation

              Week 3 – Air Pollution

              Week 4 – Water Pollution

              Week 5 –  Soil Pollution

              Unit 3: Ecology and Biodiversity

              Week 6 –  Biodiversity/Conservation


              Week 7 –  Ecological footprint  


              Unit 4 : Economy


              Week 8 – Energy Sources


              Week 9 – Trading


              Week 10 – Transportation and Communication


              Unit 5: Social and Political Dimension


              Week 11 – Local and Global Community


              Week 12 –  Multicultural Perspective of local and global sensibility

              Week 13 –   Government Regulation

              Week 14 –   Safe and Just Environment

              Unit 6:  Towards Sustainable Living for a Better Future

              Week 15 -    Sustainable Education - critical thinking-closing activity

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