Innovate Educate Inspire (IEI) along with AbadTak conducts its first ever Climate Educator Training as part of the World Wide Teach-In with Bard College, New York.
This was one of similar events held across the planet in late March/April, as part of the WorldWide Teach-in on Climate and Justice sponsored by Bard College in New York.
IEI Pakistan’s main focus for partaking in this Teach-In was to reach and teach as many students as possible. This was in order to address the urgency in the situation.
In doing so, IEI developed a Climate Educator Training Programme. Here students, teachers and community members were to discuss steps that can really help the nation solve climate change. The training programme was organized in collaboration with Abadtak whose founder Azal Zahir led the climate and environmental segment.
IEI Climate Educator Training Programme’s vision was two-fold: a) To enable teachers, working on ground in public and private schools across Pakistan, the skills and tools to lead activities for sustainable education. b) To encourage primary to high school students to become agents of change in helping address environmental challenges.
The vision was realized through carefully curated digital engagements that enabled teachers to organize and lead their own in-person Children Climate Solutions Summit (CCSS) within their schools where young children come together to solution for environmental challenges around them.
Why is Climate Education Important?
With global warming and its challenges upon us, climate education has become crucial. The world is rapidly evolving, yet the education system is still stuck in a rut. Traditional and conservative education is no longer in keeping with global dynamics. The new generation is not armed with the skills they need in order to address 21st century environmental challenges.
Why Should Climate Change be Taught In Schools?
Teaching climate change in schools is crucial as it empowers students with the knowledge they need to tackle the problem. Learning about climate change involves brainstorming innovative solutions. Identifying and then actively tackling the problem. I.e Empowering students to take action as global citizens.
Teachers Influence the Teaching ‘Climate’?
IEI recognized the power teachers have to catalyze the movement. By controlling the ‘climate’ in the classroom, teachers can influence the emotional atmosphere. This will determine the learning and progress made by each student.
With this in mind, we planned the programme to inculcate critical thinking, experiential education and executable action within the classrooms of participating teachers.
About the training workshops
Conducted virtually, each training workshop was carefully curated to take forward a vision to create global change makers. Teachers were provided with a robust tool kit with all the resources they would need to carry the CCSS forward. This includes versatile worksheets, links to videos, slides and more! They were then asked to design their own lesson plans and CCSS structure. After which they were provided feedback in 1:1 sessions with the IEI and Abadtak teams.
The training workshops and Climate Educator Toolkit enabled the teachers to lead CCSS activities to encourage students to think critically, assess the problems associated with climate change and innovate solutions in local contexts.
Teacher Capacity Building:
With seven registrations from teachers employed at different public and private schools in and around the Federal Capital, including 6 Teach for Pakistan fellows, the workshop began on 19th March 2022.
Participants hailed from various parts of Pakistan including Chitral, Karachi, Islamabad, Bahawalpur and Rawalpindi. Largely working with grades 6 – 8, most of these teachers were working in underprivileged schools.
The teachers conducted their CCSS workshops between April and May 2022. In the second week of May teachers gathered once more virtually to share their learnings and outcomes.
Young Changemakers in Action:
Through the Children’s Climate Solutions Summit, conducted by the 7 participating teachers in the training programme, IEI was able to reach 428 students nationwide.
Most students participating in the CCSS belong to low-resource contexts and enrolled in public schools, attending grades 3-8. The students belonged to different home cities including Murree and Gilgit.
As more teachers participate in these workshops, more and more students can be reached with CCSS to enable the youth as changemakers that help address local and global challenges.
Participant Teacher Observations
Participating teachers observed the following key skills were acquired by their students with the CCSS activities.
Students began to think critically about what is happening around them
Students brainstormed solutions to problems they saw around them.
Students acquired teamwork and collaboration skills.
Participant teachers, Noman Alam and Nazhat Shakir observed that their students were able to think holistically.
“I now believe that our new generation and coming generation are very intelligent and have very creative solutions for various problems. I think we should incorporate a climate change syllabus into our curriculums,” shared Nouman.
Ms Kainaat Jah shared her feedback after the summit. “These workshops were quite eye opening for me. I went in with the assumption that I would have to make my students aware of the climate issue but this is something they were internally aware of. In fact, what they needed was direction on their scale to solve climate problems. Which is what the Climate Educator Training Program was able to provide me.”
Childrens Climate Solutions Summit Superstars
Micro Biogas Plants
In participating teacher Nouman Alam’s class, a team of motivated 7th graders innovated at home solutions and proposed an idea for renewable energy. The team proposed creating biogas using the organic waste in their homes. Under the mentorship of participating teacher Nouman Alam the team studied about biogas and explored existing biogas plants in Pakistan Inspired by what they learned the students engaged in a problem solving journey and built their own prototype!
Re-use, Reduce and Recycle
Participating teacher Esha Querishi and her 22 grade 3 students conducted a series of activities and developed solutions to address some of the challenges they observed in their school.
1- a water – wastage awareness raising campaign
2- creating a plastic recycling ‘keychain machine’
3- devising a ‘robotic bin’ to collect trash for those who do not pick up after themselves!
Through sessions Eesha built knowledge about the climate crisis and encouraged executable climate action.
Thinking About Consequences
Ms Nazhat and her students observed environmental problems facing their community in Sohan and brainstormed ways they could address them. They:
- Created a play for awareness raising
- Developed a school environmental club
- Suggested banning unhealthy snacks that produce litter in their schools
- Wrote a letter to a local political figure to make their voices heard!
Through the empathy building classes as proposed by IEI’s Climate Education Training, the students were considerate of the consequences of certain actions. Such as banning unhealthy snacks at their school and its impact on the livelihood of snack vendors.
Insulating Homes for Severe Winter
In participating teacher Nouman Alam’s class, Shayan and his group members were very excited about making a model that can overcome climate change hazards. Most of the students in this group were from Gilgit and Murree, therefore it was close to their hearts.
They suggested using recycled plastic to build homes for people living in cold areas, especially during the winter session. The group researched and hypthesized that plastic is something that can withstand severe cold. Other students said sir plastic is weight so it could help snow slide off easily, preventing roof collapses from heavy snow.
With a successful first round of training, IEI plans to continue the Climate Educator Training going forward. In doing so, it hopes to reach students throughout the nation. It hopes to increase climate change education statistics. And form a strong network and alliance for climate education in Pakistan
Dr. Eban Goodstein, economist and Director of the Solve Climate project at Bard College says, “IEI Pakistan is taking a leadership role among global universities on education for climate solutions. The time is now to focus on what we can and must do to stabilize the climate.”