By: Amna Mazhar, Climate Educator Training Fellow 2023
Hi Everyone, This is Amna Mazhar. I am a Teach for Pakistan fellow working at a public school near Sihala, in the vicinity of Islamabad. As someone passionate about environmental conservation and climate education; I had the incredible opportunity to be part of the IEI x Abadtak Climate Educator Training 2023, organised as part of the World Wide Teach-in for Climate & Justice.
The Climate Educator Training is a one of it’s kind program that isn’t just about disseminating information. Instead, it’s about equipping educators to inspire change, as I had the privilege of delving into climate science, sustainable practices, and innovative teaching methodologies.
In this blog post, I share my experience of being a part of the training, conducting Children’s Climate Solution Summit (CCSS) with 40 students at my school, and the program’s model and resources’ pivotal role in shaping my journey.
"From the insightful training sessions to the empowering CCSS model and the wealth of resources at my disposal, every aspect of the climate educator journey has contributed to my growth as an educator and an advocate for change. "
The Training: A Deep Dive into Climate Education
The foundation of my journey began with the comprehensive training sessions offered by IEI Pakistan & Abadtak. These sessions introduced me to the complexities of climate change, its root causes, and the multi-faceted impacts it has on our planet. From understanding the science behind climate phenomena to exploring real-world images through the especially curated Image Gallery resource, the sessions provided a holistic view of the climate crisis.
What struck me most was the interactive nature of the training. Rather than passively absorbing information, I found myself engaged in lively discussions, collaborative activities, and thought-provoking debates. The opportunity to hear from academics like Dr. Radhika Iyengar & Dr. Fozia Parveen offered a unique experience to build my capacity. This approach not only enhanced my comprehension but also ignited a sense of responsibility to share this knowledge effectively with others.
The Model & Resources: Offering a pathway to effective education
Planning for the CCSS was made remarkably efficient and organized through the IEI Project Planner which provided an invaluable framework for success. It allowed me to finalize the project timeline and overview, enabling me to allocate time effectively for each session and ensuring a smooth flow of content delivery.
The Climate Educator Toolkit, a resource accessible to teachers that join the training program, further enriched the planning process by offering an array of ready-to-use resources, including engaging lesson plans, immersive worksheets, and thought-provoking discussion prompts. This meticulous planning not only enhanced the quality of the sessions but also fostered a sense of confidence in my ability to engage students effectively and leave a lasting impression.
Conducting Childrens' Climate Solution Summit (CCSS): Empowering Future Leaders
The focal point of my journey was the opportunity to conduct the Childrens’ Climate Solutions Summit with my students, which allowed me to harness the program’s teachings to drive remarkable change at a low-resource public school. As part of the partnership with World-Wide Teach-in for Climate & Justice, I was able to register my CCSS and join a global movement to raise climate awareness.
Armed with this spark of being a part of a global movement, empathy and a solution oriented approach, we collectively recognized that the lack of water access in our school was a daily challenge that touched the lives of students, teachers, and staff alike.
"The CCSS became a catalyst for my students to not only learn about climate change but also actively engage in finding solutions to real-world challenges."
Undeterred by the enormity of the task, my students went through a transformative process of ideation, prototyping, and action. They embarked on a journey of innovation by conceptualizing and prototyping an ingenious upcycled rainwater harvesting model made out of discarded cardboard carton, a broken geometry, a used straw, and an empty milk powder container. Watch the little clip below to see the working model my students created.
My students then took on the role of educators themselves, explaining the intricacies of their upcycled rainwater harvesting model to their peers. Their dedication was not limited to showcasing the solution; they also delved into the underlying reasons and context. Through thoughtful discussions, they shed light on the issue of water scarcity and its link with climate change.
This effort showcased the ripple effect of education, inspiration, and action. The CCSS became a catalyst for my students to not only learn about climate change but also actively engage in finding solutions to real-world challenges. Through hands-on experience, these young girls transformed into change agents, advocating for a sustainable future. The upcycled rainwater harvesting model became a testament to the program’s effectiveness in translating knowledge into actionable change!
My journey as a climate educator within the IEI x Abadtak Climate Educator Training 2023 framework has been an enriching experience. From the insightful training sessions to the empowering CCSS model and the wealth of resources at my disposal, every aspect of this journey has contributed to my growth as an educator and an advocate for change.
As I continue to inspire my students and community members to take meaningful climate action, I am grateful for the support and guidance provided. The program’s holistic approach and dedication to building a community of informed educators pave the way for a more sustainable future. You can follow me on instagram @amna.mazharr where I follow snipppets of my journey to improve the student learning experience, bridge the existing learning gap, and eradicate educational inequity.
To those considering joining this movement, I wholeheartedly encourage you to embark on this transformative journey of education and empowerment! You can reach our to IEI Pakistan or Abadtak to organise this training for teachers at your school: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org