Registration is open for EECOM 2021, Canada’s largest annual national environmental education conference! For the first time ever, EECOM 2021 will be taking place exclusively online, running April 21-24, 2021 and welcomes educators, grades 11, 12, and post-secondary students, classrooms, community organizations, and parents.
The conference kicks off with a Research Symposium featuring some of the leading researchers and educators from Canada and around the world on April 21 and an opportunity to provide input on identifying and prioritizing a national ESE-TE research agenda, followed by three days of dynamic sessions and workshops focusing on four themes: City as Classroom, Indigenous Education, EcoJustice Education, and Water Education.
In addition to over 100 presenters across 70+ sessions, attendees will experience lively and unique opportunities to safely socialize with other passionate members of the EECOM community through a variety of “Nuit Verte” social events. From a vegan cooking class to a guided organic beer-tasting, this is one conference you won’t want to miss!
The best part? There’s no travel required, so you can learn and build your network while decreasing your environmental impact.
Our What’s happening in ESE at… Series continues: This week we’re in conversation with Dr. Laura Sims from the Université de Saint-Boniface
By Alysse Kennedy ESE-TE Project Coordinator
Preparing preservice teachers within Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) at the Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) in Winnipeg, Manitoba may look a little different than at other Canadian faculties of education. As the only Francophone university in western Canada, USB places a particular emphasis on linguistic and cultural sustainability.
Tasked with the responsibility of preparing French-language educators in Manitoba as well as the overarching goal to educate for reconciliation, USB’s preservice teacher education program provides mandatory courses to support its teacher candidates. These courses are purposefully related to both the local communities being served and the long-standing cultural context within which the university is inherently steeped. Consequently, at the heart of these courses you’ll find pedagogical approaches that are not only community-focused but also community-based: teaching and learning strategies that address cultural and social aspects of ESE in TE (For more on these pedagogical approaches, see Block, Sims and Beeman, 2016).
Dr. Sims cites using the community as classroom, the community as teacher, using inquiry-based learning and research-based teachings as powerful pedagogical approaches not just for teaching about environmental and social justice concepts but to also engender a deeper context of overall inclusion (for more on inclusion see Sims and Desmarais, 2020). This commitment to inclusion is multifaceted. It includes growing the Francophone community within Manitoba. It includes anti-racist education as the Francophone community is becoming more diverse, with the majority (57%) of new Francophone arrivals being of African descent. Inclusive practices also have a crucial focus on decolonization: an earnest effort is made to focus on fulfilling their Treaty 1 responsibilities (for more on Dr. Sims’ experience teaching this course see Sims, 2019). Courses taught by Dr. Sims integrate ESE in an interdisciplinary way to encourage broader lateral thinking as well as collaboration.
With respect to managing eco-anxiety when dealing with tough topics like the environmental crisis, Dr. Sims strongly feels that community-based learning, using nature as a teacher and promoting agency through inquiry, action-based learning and responsible citizenship help to connect students’ psychological contexts with the environmental. These can foster positive mental health and wellness (for more see Sims, Rocque, and Desmarais, in press). These are aspects tied to inclusion that Dr. Sims believes can help USB’s faculty of education face the environmental crisis in a more meaningful way for their students.
Sims, L., Rocque, R., and Desmarais, M.É. (in press). Enabling students to face the environmental crisis and climate change with resilience: Inclusive environmental and sustainability education approaches and strategies for coping with eco-anxiety. International journal of higher education and sustainability.
Check out more articles related to teaching from USB’s Dr. Laura Sims below:
The CJEE realizes the impact teacher educators have on future generations of teachers and their students, and as such the editors felt it was time to dedicate a volume to the topic.
– Editorial by Karrow, Inwood & Sims, p. 6
It’s finally here! The latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) recently published online is a special edition taking a closer look at Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) in Teacher Education (TE) in Canada. This brand new issue is guest edited by Doug Karrow (Brock University), Hilary Inwood (OISE/University of Toronto) and Laura Sims (Université de St. Boniface) and takes a look at what’s happening in Canadian Teacher Education from coast to coast. The seven articles comprising this edition represent a variety of topics, contexts, problems, methodological approaches and more.
This publication marks the very first time in the CJEE’s 23 year history that a volume has been devoted to exclusively to Teacher Education. Inspired by the last Research Symposium held by the ESE-TE National Network, this special issue is a testament to the ESE-TE Network’s strong belief in the importance of having a “vibrant and thriving ESE-TE research community” to drive the field forward.
As one of the largest faculties of education in Canada – and one with a very active, multifaceted Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) Initiative – the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto has cultivated enormous potential to engage numerous stakeholders in taking Climate Action. But this opportunity is not without its own unique challenges – especially how to bring together the many faculty, staff and graduate students/teacher candidates to tackle Climate Action in a large-scale collaboration. Developing a whole-institution approach towards the overarching vision of establishing a Climate Action Plan for OISE – and actually putting that plan into action – requires a strong foundation. Read on to learn about the steps OISE’s community has taken in the last six months to bring about changes to begin turning this Climate Action vision into a reality.
January 2020 – Hosting the inaugural OISE Climate Action Summit Seeing the need to implement climate action beyond a departmental level, the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) Climate Action Working Group voted to expand their collaborative efforts by hosting the first ever OISE Climate Action Summit. Sponsored by the Dean’s Office, this half-day roundtable Summit, held on Friday, January 31, 2020, brought together over 100 participants comprised of faculty, staff, students and administrators from across the entire OISE community. Watch this short video to see what took place!
March 2020 – Reviewing and sharing high-priority ideas through the Climate Action Survey At the Summit, the community generated many ideas across five target areas. Following the event, these ideas were organized to form a basis for OISE’s unfolding Climate Action Plan, specifically in regards to prioritizing action items that can be carried out immediately. To solicit feedback, the Climate Action Survey was sent out to all members of the OISE community to invite participants to review and respond to these ideas.
April 2020 – Earth Day announcement & call for nominees for the new Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committee Following the Summit and survey, a set of recommendations to enact climate action at OISE were presented to OISE’s Dean. In honour of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Dean Jones announced implementation of the first recommendation – to establish a new Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committee at OISE. This Committee, chaired by the Dean and co-led by Dr. Hilary Inwood (Lead of OISE’s ESE Initiative) will assist in the development of a strategic Climate Action Plan for OISE, based on the community’s feedback from the Summit and survey. The Dean also announced embedding climate action as part of OISE’s Academic Plan and positioning OISE as a hub for ESE and climate action.
June 2020 – Formation and first meeting of the Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committeeat OISE After the Committee was selected (see Membership below), the first meeting was held via Zoom to get members acquainted with each other and their initial tasks and goals for developing the OISE Climate Action Plan. The Plan aims to reduce OISE’s carbon footprint by better embedding sustainability into five areas of OISE’s work: 1) Policy & Governance, 2) Facilities & Operations, 3) Curriculum & Teaching, 4) Research, and 5) Community Engagement & Outreach. A team of OISE faculty, staff and grad students have been working over the summer to research and build a strong foundation and the Plan is set to be shared with the community late in the fall.
Supporting Climate Action strategic planning across faculties of education These exciting steps signal a hopeful direction is ESE and Climate Action. OISE is the first faculty at the University of Toronto to work towards creating their own Climate Action Plan, as well as the first Faculty of Education in Canada to do so. It is hoped that sharing these steps will inspire and support others to implement a cohesive Climate Action approach in their own faculties of education. For more information and ideas on how to get started in your own faculty, check out the OISE ESE website here.
Membership of OISE Climate Action Advisory Group The advisory group, which has been asked to develop a draft plan by the end of this year, includes the following members: Megan Abley, Graduate Student, APHD Julie Blair, Indigenous Education Network Coordinator Yiola Cleovoulou, Faculty Member, APHD Helen Huang, Chief Administrative Officer, OISE Alysse Kennedy, Graduate Student, CTL David Montemurro, Faculty Member, CTL Fikile Nxumalo, Faculty Member, CTL Sadia Rahman, Graduate Student, LHAE John Robinson, Presidential Advisor on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability Jennifer Sumner, Faculty Member, LHAE Amanda Trigiana, Graduate Student, SJE Jenaya Webb, Librarian, OISE Library Terezia Zoric, Faculty Member, SJE The work of this committee will be supported by Hilary Inwood (CTL), Iman Fouad (Dean’s Office), and graduate students who will be conducting research for the committee, including Wahaj Alam & Sunnya Khan.
We hope you enjoyed this featured update about what is happening in ESE in a Canadian Faculty of Education. Is your faculty or department taking new strides in ESE or Climate Action? Let us know in the comments what’s happening and what you think so far about these Climate Action goals!
CALL FOR ARTICLES & BOOKS! The ESE in TE Canadian national network is seeking new recommendations for recent publications by Canadian scholars about Environmental and Sustainability Education in faculties of education.
If you have an article (journal or trade magazine), book chapter or book that has recently been published (2019 onwards) or will soon be published and you would like us to showcase your work as part of the growing body of literature in this area, please email a link to access your work (or a shareable pdf copy), along with an APA reference, to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to your reading about the important work you’ve been doing in Canadian ESE within teacher education!
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.