Climate Change Education Inside and Outside the Classroom
Grahamstown, South Africa, Oct 8th-11th, 2013
In the June 2013 issue of The Sandwatcher, we announced that UNESCO, the Sandwatch Foundation and Rhodes University partnered to create a course that would empower secondary school teachers to teach elements of climate change inside and outside the classroom. Now, the Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development Course for Teachershas been successfully trialled in South Africa and Cape Verde and discussions are under way to hold the course in other parts of the world.
The course combines elements from UNESCO’s Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development Course for Teachers with the Sandwatch programme’s methodology (Measure, Analyse, Share and Take action - MAST) and has been developed specifically for educators in African coastal regions and Small Island Developing States. These regions are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the challenges it raises for the wellbeing of people and the ecosystems on which they depend. The course supports a range of educators, most especially secondary school teachers, but also teacher educators and community educators, to teach about climate change in ways that reflect the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD).
One of the main features of the course is to better understand how a global phenomenon such as climate change will affect the local environment, in particular the beach. So as part of the course, participants get out of the classroom and visit their local beach and learn about past changes in the beach environment and then project how climate change will impact the beach in the next 20 - 30 years.
The course consists of three modules delivered over a four day period. Module 1 presents some local and global perspectives on climate change and its impacts, as well as giving a background to climate change science and ESD. Module 2 introduces the participants to the Sandwatch approach and includes a field trip which allows participants to investigate past changes and future climate change scenarios at a local beach location. Module 3 provides an opportunity for participants to build on the materials and activities presented and develop an educational intervention that they will undertake on return to their home countries.
The first trial of the course took place at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa from 8 - 11 October 2013 where there were 29 participants from 10 African countries in attendance.
The participants came mainly from central and southern Africa and comprised secondary teachers, teacher educators and community educators from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
After the course one participant commented:
“I really enjoyed the Sandwatch fieldtrip activity and I also learnt new teaching strategies like the ‘circle sharing’ which was a great concept and I look forward to implement it in my class. Thank you loads guys – fantastic!”