Supporting Students and Teachers Learning Progression for Sustainability

We have had a good response from several study programs this week. The students have taken part in the first round of the questionnaire that helps to inform teachers about the student groups’ key sustainability competencies (KSC). The teachers that will have the students in the next module will be better prepared, since they can now plan activities that can address the KSC that the student group is feeling less confident about at the moment. Moreover, the students will benefit from an education for sustainability that is catered for their needs.

Some students reflected over their understanding of how it is possible to learn for sustainability when their education is based on numbers (“maths”). This is a frequent experience I have in the field I teach and find it lends to great discussions about understanding a subject through different perspectives. Moreover, the students develop their competence to apply knowledge to real-life contexts.

Faculty members from different medical departments have also been in contact with us this week to find out more about our project. There is a keen interest to use the questionnaire as a tool to gauge the progression of students’ KSC learning over shorter and longer periods. Although we have predominantly designed our study as a formative assessment tool, the tool has many purposes and can be adaptable to different environments and needs.

As a formative assessment, we can support the students so that they can receive an education for sustainability that can progress over the timeframe of their study program. A formative assessment can also provide support for the teachers to be proactive in their pedagogical approach to improve the student-centred lesson activities. This support can be updated as the student group begin a new year, or a new term, depending on when the teachers at each department feel that the support is most needed.

Over longer periods of time, teachers can also use the questionnaire to compare results between different student groups, to help develop the courses and programs. Since we started this project, several teachers have returned to us to use the questionnaire with new student groups. This stage of student and teacher development enables us to work with the feedback we provide and help improve our support for teachers and students.

Thank you to all the students that have taken part in the questionnaire this week. We would also like to thank all the teachers who have shown new interest, it has been a pleasure discussing our project with you all. A big thank you to those that have provided feedback and helped us to develop our work. We look forward to hearing from more students and teachers later this month. We also look forward to meeting new faculty in the future. Great start to the new term everybody!

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