Participants from across the Highlands region met in Nairn in late November to explore ways of embedding learning for sustainability in the daily learning and practices of pupils.
From early years practitioners to college lecturers, participants came with a wide range of knowledge and interests around the topic, with the shared aim of promoting whole-community approaches to sustainability in their own work and lives.
Based around the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this training provided a wealth of practical activities to take back to the classroom, as well as space to discuss what practices work well for this topic and what can be improved.
Key learning from the day
Metaphors are useful ways to ‘concretise’ what can be big and intangible topics. For example, thinking of sustainability as a three-legged chair where different ‘legs’ of suitable practice are equally vital for each other’s success.
Learning for Sustainability must lead to action, even if that’s only a small action, from everyone. ‘Awareness raising’ like posters on the wall in itself will not lead to systems change – so what actions do we want to encourage?
It is important to keep a positive message that change is possible, as opposed to resignation and negative views that can be promoted by the news and social media. Positive messages are more likely to inspire action and change.
There is a wealth of materials available free to introduce and explore sustainability in classrooms. Here are a few:
The World’s Largest Lesson provides a range of free resources to introduce the global goals.
Development rose compass is a tool to gather thoughts and generate planning around a subject.
A toolkit with free case studies and step by step activities is available at toolkit.risc.org.uk
Education Scotland has produced a document with planning and evaluation ideas: Opening up Great Learning – Learning for Sustainability.
Oxfam has produced a resource to support a skills-based approach to sustainability entitled Get Global, which can be downloaded free of charge.