From Café Dilemma to Place Based Learning

The international course on ‘Education towards Sustainable Development’ has so far provided us with both fascinating experience of learning by doing and enabling us to think out of the box. The elaborations on high-tech technologies to place based learning (PBL) and hands on exercises on use of social media in classroom to ‘Café Dilemma’ offer us realistic and sustainable teaching-learning techniques.  During initial three days, we acquainted with the overall Israeli social, educational and cultural aspects and learnt about the use of ICT in classroom including creating QR and using Edmondo. We must give a special mention to the game ‘Let’s go fishing.’ A session on ‘Science and Creativity’ enabled us in understanding the value of experiments. ‘In science there is no democracy, only experiments determine everything,’ is something crucial today to think about. 
During the field visits to various places from May 18 to May 22, 2017, we had opportunities to connect ourselves to the practical aspects of the sustainability. We came to know that how sustainability is closely linked to environment, society and the human beings. On May 18th 2017, during our visit to the Rishonim School we observed and exercised that how the Place Based Learning (PBL) works. The Rishonim School is one of the centers in Israel that applies PBL to connect people, place and the community. The school employs open gate policy for parents and takes group of teachers as the family.  

Additionally, the presentation on PBL by Ran Levy Yamamori, an environmental scientist was so inspiring that instilled within us how ‘Children lead environmental Changes.’ He provided an example of a girl child who motivated the community and the authority and led a project in producing more rice in sustainable way. He provided with ample examples on human’s creativity. We learnt how one can create a one million dollar project with his/her creativity. 

We were adequately familiarized that Place Based Learning (PBL) is a vibrant approach to education that brings students to communities and nature to learn and to do.  Moreover, it fosters students’ connection to the place. We are confident that we would be able to use this learning approach in our courtiers. 

Our visit to Mooz MaMacabim Elementary School on May 21 provided us with the exciting tips in combining values in significant learning out of the classroom. We were acquainted with the ‘children-teaching-children’ approach, which is very crucial for inculcating leadership skills within students.  

Through the session on ESD by Yudith Rosenthal, we learned that ESD is not something one teaches for, but it is something one teaches with. She dealt with the dimensions on asking questions. We learned that questions are asked for focusing attention, connecting ideas and finding deeper insights and creating meaning. 

On May 22, 2017 we visited Kibbutzin College in Tel Aviv and an Ecological Green House in Menashe region. These visits reflected us in several ways. A field based interaction with university students and professors from the department of science and environment was valuable in understanding human connections to nature.  An observation from gardens and bushes to science lab and organic discussion room connected us well to the real-life learning environments.  The college is a pioneering one in providing trainings to future teachers.  Likewise, the visit to Ecological Green House, which is a center to 800 students of 20 different schools, is an example of how we can prepare for future survival. This center engages students to nature, productions, planting, bio-mimicry through different techniques in irrigation, medicinal plants, fishing and much more.   Students’ engagement in producing hi-tech programs via 3D printer is something special that motivated us at the center. 

To sum up, we must say that the session deliveries combined with practical exposure and the visit to different locations have increased our knowledge level, changed our perspectives on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). For us, this international course on ESD is not just a course but the ignitions of the fire that will for sure help us in varieties of ways in strengthening and scaling up the work with the institutions in our countries. 

Written by: 
Laxman Datt Pant, Nepal 
Migel Martin, Paraguay 
Maryse Morel, Seychelles 
Fogue Patience, Cameroon 
Favour Desimhi, Nigeria 

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