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TEFL Masterclass – Kicking Off 2024 in the Greenest Way Possible

April 3, 2024

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Exclusive Contents

Harry Waters – Founder and Lead Trainer @Renewable English

Harry wears many hats, both literally and figuratively. One of them is as a multi-award-winning teacher trainer, others include teacher, writer, climate activist, podcast host, TEDx speaker and hat wearer. 

His journey into sustainability-driven education culminated in the inception of Renewable English, a platform merging language learning with environmental consciousness. This initiative reflects his fervent passions for the environment and English Language Teaching (ELT), extending his influence beyond conventional educational boundaries.

What you will learn

In today’s session we’ll look at some super simple ways to get your classes greener than a spring meadow. There are ideas on how to slot environmental sustainability into your lessons in the blink of an eye. We’ll look at how incorporating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into every class isn’t as tricky as it sounds.

We’ll also see how critical thinking is one of the keys to helping develop a greener mindest not only in our students but also in ourselves and our colleagues.

There’s also a brief look at some of the big climate emotions our students might be feeling and how we can harness them to make our classrooms a positive, safe space for the planet and our mental wellbeing, all at once.

You’ll leave with a whole host practical, low-prep, planet-based ideas to drop directly into your lesson plans.

Workshop Summary

Introduction to Sustainable Teaching Practices

Harry Waters, founder of Renewable English, led a webinar titled “Kicking Off 2024 in the Greenest Way Possible,” focusing on integrating sustainable practices into education. 

Understanding Emotions in the Climate Crisis

The webinar highlighted the importance of acknowledging emotional responses to the climate crisis. A key resource mentioned was the Climate Emotions video by the Climate Mental Health Network, which helps in understanding that while emotions like sadness and fear may impede action, feelings such as anger and positivity can propel it forward. Harry emphasised the significance of harnessing these varied emotions to effect change.

Combating Climate Apathy in Education

Harry stressed the urgency of addressing climate apathy, citing Dr. Jane Goodall’s views on the dangers of indifference. The session underscored the necessity for educators to engage students with environmental issues, aiming for a balanced approach that raises awareness without causing overwhelm, thereby fostering a proactive stance towards climate change and biodiversity loss.

Integrating Sustainability in Classroom Practices

The webinar explored practical ways to incorporate sustainability into everyday teaching, without the need for overhauling existing lesson plans. Instead, Harry suggested weaving eco-friendly concepts into regular teaching moments. This approach aims to address broader environmental challenges, such as reducing plastic use and transitioning away from fossil fuels.

Innovative Green Routines and Classroom Activities

A variety of activities were proposed to embed sustainability in lessons. These included a “Two-Minute Tweet” exercise for reflecting on lessons’ environmental impacts, an “Environmental Board Race” to expand vocabulary on sustainability, the “Snowball Planet Pledge” for promoting recycling, and an engaging game using environmental statistics to enhance learning about sustainability.

Expanding Environmental Education with Green Projects

Moving beyond routine activities, Harry introduced more comprehensive green classroom projects. These projects, inspired by initiatives like Kids Against Plastic, aim to deepen students’ understanding of environmental preservation. Key projects include conducting plastic audits, creating upcycled art, engaging in podcasts, protests, and presentations on environmental topics, and encouraging creative writing on ecological themes.

Fostering Global and Local Environmental Action

The webinar emphasised the importance of acting both globally and locally. Harry encouraged participation in campaigns and initiatives like those offered by Kids Against Plastic. He also suggested organising swap shops for exchanging pre-loved items and arranging litter picking events to clean local environments, thereby instilling a sense of responsibility and community engagement in students.

The session concluded with a call for immediate action in cultivating a greener mindset among students and educators.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. How often do you include the climate crisis in your lessons?
  2. Do your students often ask questions about the planet?
  3. What is it that stops you talking about the climate crisis?
  4. Would you consider teaching about the climate crisis if you were provided with more resources and training?

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