International Network, Collaborations and Inspiration for Student Engagement

It was great to catch up with Tony Wall, Professor at Liverpool John Mores University, to have a dialogue about our collaborations and project plans. We are developing a hackathon event together with several international participants to create inspiring support about teaching activities for teachers of education for sustainability. The event will take place on several occasions to provide opportunities for as many interested in developing their didactics for sustainability education. Stay tuned for updates on these inspiration hackathon events.

Prof Tony Wall has a keen interest and extensive experience working with the arts in education, especially using drama as a reflective and provocative mechanism for students engagement with learning. Tony shared an experience with us about how he noticed a difference between classes that had different feedback from students when one short activity was left out (due to changes in time restraints) compared to when the activity was included. In one of the deliveries of the module this year (there are 6 per year) students reflected over how they found it difficult to connect the subject content to the perspective of sustainability, but the previous delivery when the students had this short activity, the students could easily connect sustainability to the content. This reflection is an example of how easily a small tweak in didactic activity can help students to learn for sustainability.

We also met with Krzysztof Szczepaniak and Jolanta Mrozek-Kwiatkowska at the University of Gdańsk to discuss collaborations and how we can support each other with our projects. At the university’s centre for sustainable development the two have been involved with some great projects that include how to advance their work with sustainability in education. We look forward to our work together and to provide support through the Sustainability Competence Mindset Mapping tool and our supporting website. As our site is an independent open and international space, cooperation between universities can help to pool resources in one place so that everyone can have access to information and inspirations.

After listening to all the great work going on at Universities across the UK, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Canada in the last few months we recognise a need to create a space where everyone interested in this work can have access to the inspiration. Many lecturers have already shared with us their experiences with trying out new and innovative activities that have helped their students to learn for sustainability. Some experiences have used small tweaks to activities they have already been using in class and others have tested new approaches, such as gamification and art for inspiration. The flexibility to adapt these ideas across disciplines and educational levels provides usable inspiration for any lecturer or teacher in schools.

This week, we invite you to join in with our international professional discussions and support for inspiration: What resources have you found helpful in your teaching for sustainability? Do you have any web-links, online tools or other digital resources you can share? Are there any great texts, articles or literature that you find work for your classes? Have you used video, film or photography as an activity for engagement? What about real-world activities that have created engagement with sustainability challenges among students?

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