Working as part of the EECOM family does have its advantages! We were honoured to work in partnership with the EECOM Board as they began to work on a new series of videos highlighting the work that is being done under its network. As one of its Standing Committees, our team focuses on better embedding Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education, which is a tight focus given the breadth of how environmental learning manifests in both formal and informal education settings across the country. At the EECOM 2018 conference in Cranbrook, members of the ESE-TE Committee were interviewed to help us communicate our mission and goals. The result is terrific, highlighting what our Committee is about, surrounded by the beautiful vistas of the Kootenays. If you haven’t seen it yet, catch it on our YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoI5ORCUsPw
Thanks to a partnership with the NAAEE and their eePRO platform, our Standing Committee hosted a webinar focused on ESE in Preservice Teacher Education (PTE). Entitled “Deepening Environmental Learning for Student Teachers”, it featured examples of innovative practice from across Canada, such as faculties of education that have their own educational gardens, offer Land-based learning, collaborate with local NGOs, or ones that offer year-round programming in ESE for preservice teachers. Hosted by teacher educator Hilary Inwood and new teacher Alysse Kennedy, they shared what ESE in PTE can be from both faculty and students’ perspectives. A lively discussion ensued from those attending the webinar – over 50 people from across North America had registered, demonstrating the high degree of interest in this topic. If you missed this webinar, you can access it (and other excellent webinars) in the NAAEE’s archive at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
The American Educational Research Association conference, which took place in April in Toronto, was a great time for those working on the ESE-TE team to connect, discuss their research, and share it with a broader audience. Members of the ESE-TE Standing Committee were involved in a variety of presentations, helping to advocate for a presence for ESE in all levels of education. One of these highlighted the ways that ESE can take multimodal forms in preservice teacher education, which aligned with the theme of the conference. Paul Elliott (Trent) shared the benefits and challenges of integrating ESE with Indigenous Ed in a core preservice course, while Susan Gerofsky (UBC) highlighted the critical learning that takes place in UBC’s Orchard Garden with teacher candidates. Laura Sims (St. Boniface) analyzed community-based approaches to ESE in her faculty of ed, and Hilary Inwood (OISE) discussed the impacts of creating environmental art installations with teacher candidates. This session was very well-attended (with over 60 in attendance for a Sunday morning session), demonstrating the strong interest in ESE in Teacher Ed. There is talk underway of turning this into a book….stay tuned for more!
Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education (ESE-TE) remains a critical challenge for faculties of education across Canada. At a time when the impacts of climate change, biodiversity collapse, mass migration, and food and water shortages are increasingly evident throughout the country (Worldwatch Institute, 2018), the roles of educators at all levels of our education system are imperative to help Canadians make cultural and societal shifts to more sustainable forms of living. Teacher educators are key actors in this, given their influence on the education and training of pre-service and in-service teachers.
This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) invites Canadian teacher educators to share their research on ESE-TE to raise and strengthen the profile of this developing field. Although not exhaustive, several questions arise: How are teacher educators in faculties of education contributing to this shift, from policy, praxiological, philosophical, theoretical, conceptual, methodological, curricular, and pedagogical standpoints? What lessons are being learned? What evaluations are being made? How are they impacting the field as a whole? What challenges are slowing down progress in this field?
The call was inspired by the Research Roundtable on Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education, hosted as part of the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication’s (EECOM) annual conference in Cranbrook, BC. All Canadian teacher educators and scholars doing research in this area are welcome to submit works for review in any of the related discourses, for example – Environmental Education, Education for Sustainable Development, Environmental and Sustainability Education, Place-based Education, Sustainability Education, Nature-based Learning, Eco-Justice Education, or Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Wisdom, in relation to Teacher Education.
For more information, please contact Susan Docherty-Skippen (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please submit manuscripts through the CJEE author submission process – noting that the manuscript is for the ESE-TE themed issue. Guidelines for submissions, e.g., word length, publication style, etc., can be found on the CJEE website: http://cjee.lakeheadu.ca
Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2019.
The recent Research Roundtable hosted by the ESE-TE committee of EECOM was a success! We welcomed over 70 educators and researchers to this event, which took place on Oct. 18 as part of the 2018 EECOM conference in BC. It was such a pleasure to meet so many people dedicated to learning about how to better integrate ESE into both preservice and inservice teacher education. The Roundtable hosted over 20 research presentations; a sincere thank you to all of the presenters! These provided an excellent introduction to the variety of research being done in ESE-TE across Canada, and initiated many conversations around the importance of teacher ed that permeated the wider EE conference. The day ended with three break out sessions focused on: Indigenous Ed and ESE; types of supports, resources, and professional learning needed in this area; and how best to move forward in this work. These drew on the experience and expertise of those in attendance to identify what is needed to broaden and deepen the work being done in ESE-TE.
Many who attended the Roundtable have asked for more info on how to get involved in this work. Here are a few suggestions:
How can community partnerships enhance ESE in teacher education? OISE’s Dept. of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning aims to find out. OISE is collaborating with the Toronto District School Board’s EcoSchools program to integrate preservice and inservice professional learning on ESE on a broad scale to explore the benefits of bringing novice and experienced teachers together. This is not a new idea, as Faculties of Ed often lead workshops for teachers, and teachers model ESE for teacher candidates during practicum. What makes this collaboration innovative is its scale and commitment. Unfolding over three years, this initiative involves a wide variety of workshops, talks, and experiential events; a cohort of teacher candidates focused on ESE; an annual conference and Ecofair; practicum placements; an Action Research team; and intensive summer courses. It aims to support learning in a range of ESE traditions, including nature-based learning, place-based ed, eco-justice ed, as well as include a strong presence of Indigenous ways of knowing. A 3 year research study is investigating the experiences of all of the participants. This ambitious project hopes to demonstrate new ways for school boards and Faculties of Education to collaborate on meaningful, impactful approaches to moving ESE forward. For more info on this project: https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/
Dr. Darren Hoeg was charged with leading a one-off session on Environmental Education, embedded in the intensive teacher-preparation course for Secondary Science teacher candidates at the University of Alberta. He had 90 minutes to get a feel for the group of up to 100 students and turn their minds on to both the issues of the environment and how to tackle them through Science teaching. He turned to a real-time class survey to get the class thinking and participating. Using the Kahoot application platform, Darren asked the students nine different questions with four possible answers. They were able to interact using their smartphones or other digital devices. After each question, he used the anonymous results to lead a brief discussion. The questions touched on concerns of individual choice, dependence on technology and the Oil Sands, among others.
As the complexity of questions increased, from a social and philosophical standpoint, and with only 20 seconds allowed to respond to each question, there were fewer responses as the survey progressed. For example, the first question, about food choices, asked: When I make grocery purchasing decisions, I consider the following in my selection: Local (23%), Organic (13%), Price (59%) or Non-GMO (5%). Results are shown in parentheses. For this question 56 of the 58 participants responded. In contrast with a later question, only 44 of the 58 students responded:
We’re getting support from many groups for ESE-TE; it is exciting to see this happening! In October members of our ESE-TE Standing Committee were invited to address the fall conference of the Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE). Drs. Nicole Bell, Paul Elliott, Lucie Sauvé and Hilary Inwood spoke eloquently about the rationale for and praxis of ESE-TE in their Faculties of Education; this was supported by Dr. Nigel Roulet’s compelling talk about climate change and the important role education has to play in addressing it. Our timing was right – the Deans unanimously voted to write a new Sustainability Accord, a policy piece that will discuss the roles that Canadian Faculties of Education can (and should) play in ensuring a more equitable future for all living things on this planet. Check into the progress of this important policy on the ACDE’s website.