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At CSSE at the University of Regina in May,  our team was honoured to be involved in a session of the Association of Canadian Dean’s of Education (ACDE) called Visioning Environmental Sustainability Education in Teacher Education. The purpose was to gather ideas for creating an Accord on ESE in Teacher Education to be accepted by the ACDE at a future meeting. This session began with some members of our ESE-TE team sharing stories of their own journey and passions for EE. Yovita Gwekwerere (Laurentian) spoke about her upbringing in Zimbabwe and her work with Greenpeace. Patrick Howard (Cape Breton) spoke of his research with youth who have been impacted by the collapse of the Cod fishery in Newfoundland. Clinton Beckford (Windsor) shared his history in Jamaica and how island nations are being directly impacted by climate change through rising water levels. Maurice DiGiuseppe (UOIT) spoke about his proximity to nuclear power stations and the relationship of our built world to sustainability. Each of these stories evoked the complexity and uncertainty of climate change, and our role as teacher educators in addressing this. This was followed by a discussion by session attendees, many of whom are Deans of Faculties of Education across Canada, as to what has been done so far and what direction should an Accord take. It was decided that a draft Accord should be presented to the next ACDE meeting, with a clear rationale for the inclusion of ESE in Teacher Education, about its connections to Indigenization, and the importance of building partnerships in communities. This Accord should also emphasize the contextualized nature of ESE, embodied through a place-based approach.  Our ESE-TE team looks forward to supporting the creation of this Accord for presentation at the next ACDE meeting in late October. If you have any thoughts or insight, please contact us.


A Natural collaboration in Indigenous and Sustainability Education in Cape Breton

The Bachelor of Education at Cape Breton University (CBU) in Sydney, NS has recently developed a Sustainability Concentration for some of the program participants. This concentration came out of rising focus on sustainability education that works hand-in-hand with the efforts to Indigenize the curriculum. The melding of Indigenous and sustainability education came together in ways that were expected because of the many intersections of these two approaches to teaching and learning, namely through community- and place-based education.

Figure 1 – Elder Sharon Paul shares how to prepare a hide with a teacher candidate

In order to develop the four courses that represent the concentration in sustainability, the program leads, over time, connected with local First Nations communities. The Eskasoni Mi’Kmaw Nation is about 40 km outside of Sydney and Membertou Nation is in Sydney. The new program emerged in 2009, and the leads knew they wanted First Nations education included, so they reached out to the communities and created dialogue. A First Nations concentration also emerged, with the focus on language preservation – also a strong sustainability issue – so the four course concentration in FN emerged at the same time as sustainability. Both evolved and intertwined organically.


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Going to bat for Bats at Brock!

A Brock teacher candidate assembling a Bat House.

Brock University has been running an optional course on Outdoor and Environmental Education (OEE) over a number of years. Most recently two sections ran in the fall of 2017. The teacher candidates represented PJ, JI and IS levels as well as both programs, namely consecutive and concurrent education.

For one of the courses, lead by Professor Doug Karrow, the teacher candidates were engaged in intersectional learning on conservation, invasive species, local ecosystems, taking action and incorporated elements of design technology. They were immersed in discussions on the history and current of conservation in Environmental Education, and then introduced to the role of bats in our ecosystem in southern Ontario, as natural pest controllers and pollinators, among other things. They were then introduced to the invasive species, white-nose fungus, which has a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of many bat species. Continue Reading

Welcome to our new blog!

Welcome to our new blog!  This has been created to help share the voices of those working to improve the praxis of Environmental & Sustainability Education (ESE) in teacher education across Canada.  It is part of the follow-up to the National Roundtable in ESE in Pre-service Teacher Education that took place in June 2016 at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.  This event brought together 75 delegates, all involved in different aspects of teacher education, from faculties of education, NGOs, Ministries of Education, and other policy-making organizations, all dedicated to improving teaching and research in ESE in teacher education.  They created a National Action Plan to guide this work moving forward.  This blog will track the progress on this work, sharing the challenges and victories as it progresses.  But it also aims to share snapshots of what ESE in TE looks like, so please write up a short entry (less than 400 words) to tell others about your research, teaching, planning or programming; photos to accompany these are welcomed!  Send your entries to contact@eseinfacultiesofed.ca