The Baltic University Program in Finland organised a teacher’s day where inspiration and action for ESD can take place. We presented our project and discussed our own inspirations. My colleague, Gert-Olof Boström, told us about his journey since he took a course in ESD with the BUP universities, where workshops and seminars led to action change projects in higher education by participants in the Baltic region.
Gert-Olof’s project involved creating more presence of sustainability in the modules he teaches in business administration at Umeå University. He found that by creating short experiential activities that put theory into action helped students to reflect upon what they were learning from a sustainability perspective. Some students showed great engagement and reflection of the complex issues that emerged in class.
We also discussed the sustainability competencies that have been adopted in our project. There can be many different perspectives about the terms sustainability and competencies, and many ideas about what is most important when we talk about sustainability competence. The ability for teachers to facilitate sustainability competence and provide support to each other during their education for sustainability journey is an important step towards action for sustainability.
We also reflected on the emotional reality of teaching during war, since several participants are currently still teaching in Ukraine. Their experience creates a sense that there are alternative immediate goals to the all-important environmental problems, such as safety, health and peace. At the same time this expereince creates awareness of important environmental influences of nuclear power stations, gas pipelines and the money/power problems that Europe and the world face. How can education teach to transform this way of life?
Support is even more important for teachers that continue to provide education for their students during war, so that their students have the tools to live in a sustainable future. Teachers also become a support mechanism for their students, taking an active part in the students’ intrapersonal competency development. The resilience of teachers in wartime is fundamental for the facilitation of transforming our futures, and shows outstanding intrapersonal and implementation competency.
Thank you for showing up today and thank you for sharing your experiences. Your work is very important and encouraging for the rest of us to hear about. We hope you all stay safe and that we get to meet agian soon.