How do we “do ESD in an English way” or “teach English in an ESD way?
Print and copy the statements on English and ESD, and give one or two each out to teachers working in pairs. They should then look at each statement critically, and consider:
Each pair then shares its thoughts with the whole group.
Which statements are a particular priority for your class or school?
For CPD material on supporting and evaluating speaking and listening click here
Engaging children with sustainable development issues means creating spaces for them to explore things that matter: things which involve emotions, values and controversies. Drama activities can provide a safe space – and useful frameworks – to do this.
These activities can also protect us as teachers. We may not wish to be in the role of ‘solution-provider’, especially when solutions are likely to be provisional or controversial.
The section Drama and role play ~ looking into an issue shares ideas and activities for using drama, taking a story about conflicts of interest over land use in Mali, West Africa as a starting point.
We suggest that you make use of this section, and then use the following activity as a tool for evaluating your work.
To access Drama and role play ~ looking into an issue, click here
This activity makes use of the PDF Harts ladder of participation.
Harts ladder of participation is a useful model for thinking about children’s engagement, how they learn, and how we intervene in that learning.
We often find ourselves moving between ‘rungs’ on this ladder. Experience of the ‘middle rungs’ may be needed by children, to develop skills that will enable them to move further up the ladder.
Taking one of the drama activities you have planned, work in pairs using Harts ladder to answer the following questions:
Where on the ladder is the activity you have planned?
Are there small changes you could plan in, to make this activity more participatory and learner-centred?
For CPD material on Using story … click here
There is an enormous and growing range of writing available on sustainable development issues: on the internet, in news media, in educational and theoretical writing, in campaigning materials etc.
With such a complex and contentious subject, perspectives will often be contradictory and conflicting, and similar words may be used in drastically different ways. This seems particularly true of the terms ‘sustainable’ and ‘development’! Indeed, there are over 200 definitions of ‘sustainable development’ currently doing the rounds].
As with other issues in this information-rich age, not all of this writing offers accuracy, is of a high quality, strives for a degree of balance, or declares its bias openly.
If this can be confusing for adults, it can be no less so for children. There is therefore a need – and opportunity - for children to develop their skills for looking critically at texts of all kinds, and applying those skills to their own writing.
We share three downloadable case studies of work devised by teachers in the lead-up to the 2002 World Summit on sustainable development. We invite you to work in three groups, to consider how you would use these examples and activities to help children look critically at what they read and see.
This might include reflection on:
The critical literacy case studies are:
“To be imaginative ... is not to have a particular function highly developed, but it is to have heightened capacity in all mental functions. It is not, in particular, something distinct from reason, but rather it is what gives reason flexibility, energy and vividness” Kieran Egan, Imagination in Teaching and Learning [University of Chicago Press, 1992]
Language is a tool for making meaning of the world and it has an important part to play in imagining and enabling change. The stories we tell have a particular role in that context.
In a sense ‘sustainable development’ is a story people tell about how they would like the world to be, and how they would like to get there. This section is therefore about creating and imagining a sustainable world through creative writing.
Other opportunities for children to use writing skills might include:
Using a range of real texts as a model offers support to children and often results in work of a high quality. Any of the texts used as a stimulus in this article could also serve as models for children’s own writing.
We share this activity as a stimulus to your thinking about raising questions about the future with children. Thinking about the future is a major part of thinking about sustainable development. It helps give purpose to imagination and creativity. There are a number of excellent materials around to support this area of work, for those who would like to take this further [eg “A futures perspective in the curriculum” - Module 3 in www.unesco.org/education/tlsf]
Ask the two groups to share their practical ideas  to  at this stage, and compare notes. Invite them to evaluate/reflect together in a plenary session, focused on the key question