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Schools, Sites and Sights

Schools, sites and sights represents, content, context and experiences which could formulate a rich experiential learning ground to deepen the education towards sustainable development. This post presents the schools, sights and sights from a teacher training college, region, elementary school and a community green house. It presents the activities and the learning with potential replicability.

Preparing the teachers for facilitate education towards sustainable development 

Seminar Kibbutzim prepares teachers in an environment that speaks the vision of education towards sustainable development. The pre-service teachers take a year or a semester on ESD depending on the level of certification. This is quite an innovation as the teachers experience the ESD before they get to the school making them prepared and ready to implement in the school environments. The ESD activities were experience during the visit for example the introduction and the clock face activity. The introduction was based around symbolic rope.  Thereafter they are leaning back, squaring together and standing up together symbolized the interdependence and the strength of a team. Symbolic representation has a strong element in facilitating the connection of concepts to real life experiences.  

The clock face activity symbolized connection and resource management such as time. The game allowed interaction among the pre-preservice team and us and well as a short student guided tour of the campus. Discussion of topics can be done on various manners. The clock appointment was an amazing activity, one it allowed meeting as many people as possible and thus getting to know who was in the room without a topic in mind while setting up appointments. The casual nature was as inviting and a great ice breaker. Having made the appointments according to the clock face the following activity as facilitative as it was a one to one engagement to unpack a concept of discussion. 
The one to one provided a space for open engagement and sharing. What was more interesting was the 2 min windows of sharing which was random based on the time called out. There were more opportunities to meet with more people to discuss which culminated with one of the appointment time people going out for 10 minutes and being shown a special space in the campus. The choice that is the host had to choose that special space was very powerful, and the paired exploration provided psychological space which allowed close engagement and deeper understanding of the exploration. The clock face approach can be used in many discussion activities where we would like a one to one engagement as well as multiple engagement over a short time. With a two-minute hour clock slots that could provide 24 minutes of engagement and factoring a minute for change overs that would mean with 35 minutes 12 engagements have been made. A variation of that to double the time could lead to an hour of rich discussion on a topic of interest. 

Finally, there was a drawing activity which is used with the pre-service student and other stakeholders to bring out their perspectives on sustainability. The visual representation of a terminology brought out multiple perspective of the same world providing ground for discussion and reflections. This hand one experience brought out the methodologies the college used in preparing teachers.
The drawing activity on how we could explain sustainability provided an opportunity for individual expression of ideas. College is considered as a pre-service preparation for teachers. While meeting with the college's students they showed us various aspects of sustainable development: growing plants around college's area, making birdhouses, establishing watered tanks. It was sizable that every student is a part of the college's sustainable community and are not indifferent to what is happening there. For example, when we were strolling around the college and discussing environmental issues, there was some litter on our way and the students kept on answering our questions and picking up the litter. The college environment spoke for the vision of the collage. The walk around the college to feel and experience the environment was imperative. There were specific bins for litter. Within a small space there were 16 species of flora. 


The reduce, reuse, recycle, redesign and revalue from waste was appreciated in the Kibbutzim College. I do take innovative ideas back home too. 

Consumption and Consumerism for sustainable living 

Guided field visit with a set of observation question on the set up, architecture, people, shops, advertisement, goods and services, ambience and interaction.
Unpacking on what is happening, what is the big picture in the mall. Some of the observation that come out were “you work for a month and spend for seconds” “special lighting”, “branded displays”, “Comparatively expensive” happy clients, not so happy sellers”, “who is gaining here”. This statement made us think is the mall thing purposeful? Is it meant to attract us to spend? How do we benefit? Who else benefits? Do we really need what we buy? Do we buy on impulse? These reflective questions were introspective bringing our emotions to our behavior.
Going around the shopping mall and not buying anything was quite an unusual challenge. However, it was very interesting to see how the mall adjusts its facilities towards increasing customers' consumption ability. A round garden discussion on what was observed in the malls.  We also had debates about different issues in sustainable development. It is a useful tool for brainstorming and outlining one's position for students. Everyone has a chance to tell his/her pros and cons in a specific question related to the topic of sustainable development.

The participants took the floor to express their opinion about what they observed when visiting the mall.
An activity conducted by the lecturers based on dressing helped us to understand the significance of consumption by identifying people who consume a lot. 
Afterward the lecturer explained the mechanism of consumption and its impact on the economy, the society and the environment. The activity ended by problem solving after an taking into consideration different interests.
The discussion was to review the reflections and reactions to the Mall experience. 
The activities were hands-on and experiential as it consisted in counting the things that we had worn and ranking according to numbers. This made us think whether this is what we really needed or wanted. The discussion that ensued was open and thought provoking. A problem set scenario was given where we had to decide as to what did we expect as the influencing factors and opinions were divided. The ability to make a choice in decision making and expressing oneself provides opportunity for engagement and ownership of the ideas that are being shared. The room for divergent ideas facilitate and inclusive space where the discussants feel a sense of belonging and participate actively. The concept of consumerism is not in isolation but a complex intertwined phenomenon where one action have resounding repercussion across other aspects. The introduction of this concept in our schools will need careful consideration and planning to facilitate the engagement of our learners and the immersion of the concept to enable a sustainable behavior change.