Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Importance of Teachers in Sustainable Development

Effective sustainable development requires understanding a range of vital ways to conserve, preserve, and responsibly use earth's resources. Formal and informal alike, teachers across all education levels play critical roles in promoting awareness and preparing students for careers in related fields. In order to solve the problems caused by irresponsibility, we must remember that teachers are so important - and here's why.

Early Childhood Teachers
Early childhood educators begin a student's journey of sustainable development by creating an awareness of family and nature. Lessons might include activities like drawing a family tree to see how we're all connected. Another lesson could be a trip to a state park, or around the campus to observe and name plants and animals. Parents can and should teach their children to make connections between what we do and how it affects our environment. Recycling and cleaning an area of a community with others are familiar causes that help them learn how we also sustain each other.

Between Two Worlds 
Middle school teachers can provide opportunities to merge personal and intellectual perspectives that will mature during high school. Students here begin more seriously contemplating career paths in order to choose the high school courses they will need to prepare them. Coursework in science and mathematics that integrates topics relevant to sustainability fosters the development of critical thinking skills. Their teachers might include lessons that not only require analyzing data gathered from observations or surveys, but also engage students to think about what kind of professional would be most logical to consult about solving these problems. If you're a middle school teacher, I would encourage you to invite professionals to speak and answer questions on how their work contributes to sustainable development.

The Next Step
High school guidance counselors assist students in choosing specific careers for which they are best suited. Extracurricular opportunities develop personal ethics and social skills conducive to working effectively with others to problem solve. Sustainable development can become of personal value in choosing career paths in fields such as medicine, law, engineering and research, and without guidance counselors, most students would  be clueless.

Higher Education Initiatives

Five UN entities launched the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative in 2012. They said, “Higher Education Institutions educate and train decision makers. They play an important role in building more sustainable societies and have a special responsibility to provide leadership on education for sustainable development.” Leaders of Higher Education institutions were invited to sign a Declaration of Commitment to Sustainable Practices of Higher Education Institutions. Among other things, the Declaration commits them to integrate into the core curriculum the teaching of sustainable development concepts. Professors all over the U.S. are now starting sustainability certificate programs, encouraging student organizations and spreading the word so that education turns into activism.

Alternative Teaching Opportunities
Within many faith-based communities are opportunities to point people towards sustainable development. These work by showing participants how the principles of respecting others and the cosmos work together naturally, to achieve a balance.. A 2012 report from the National Wildlife Federation says that climate change will likely increase anxiety, fear, and depression among people with these types of pre-existing conditions. The youngest and eldest of our population, the poor, and those who live in disaster prone zones are among the most vulnerable. Many religious affiliates are taking upon themselves to cater toward these groups, and with good reason. Without these individuals, the future would be scarier.

Article contributed by Mitchell Eizower for Noble Missions for Change Initiative Mitchell Eizower is an MA student writing his thesis on education policy. He writes about all aspects of education. His recent work is on the Top 10 Special Education Degree Programs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think about this post?