Environmental and Sustainability Education remains a critical challenge for faculties of education across Canada. The involvement of educators at all levels of education is imperative to help Canadians address the climate crisis and 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.
A recent special issue of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (vol. 23, issue 1) features articles by Canadian teacher educators who are strengthening this developing field through innovative research and developing new practices. This issue was co-edited by Doug Karrow, Laura Sims and Hilary Inwood, members of EECOM’s Standing Committee on Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education.
This work will be further explored in a biennial Research Symposium on April 21, being offered on the opening day of EECOM’s upcoming conference. Please join us for the Research Symposium and conference – the first time these events have been offered online!
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:
Special Guest Author post by Dr. Doug Karrow Photo courtesy of Dr. Lucie Sauvé
Note – A French-language version of this post is available following the English version
The Canadian Environmental Education and Communication Network (EECOM)’s Standing Committee on Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education congratulates Dr. Lucie Sauvé on the recent announcement of her retirement.
Lucie has been an avid supporter of the Standing Committee since its inception in 2017. She was a key and active participant during the National Roundtable hosted by Trent University, delivering one of its keynote addresses while contributing to several roundtables. She has provided important academic and emotional support to the fledgling organization since its early days, through her involvement in the Standing Committee’s research and outreach activities. In recent years, she has assisted by contributing key advice and resources to support federal grant applications and important research to various knowledge mobilization activities, e.g., Sauvé, L. (2019). Transversality, diversity, criticality, and activism: Enhancing E(S)E in teacher education. In D. Karrow & M. DiGiuseppe (Eds.), Environmental and sustainability education in teacher education: Canadian perspectives, (pp. 49-62). Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature AG. ISBN: 978-3-030-25015-7
Dr. Sauvé began her education career as a history, geography and Latin teacher and contributed to the production and dissemination of educational materials in Quebec. She segued to academic life in the 1980’s by completing a master’s degree in environmental science and then the 1990’s by completing a doctoral degree, the first in the French-speaking world to focus on environmental education (read more about this here).
After a short appointment at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières in 1991, she joined the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in 1993 where she remained until retirement at the rank of full professorof the Department of Didactics, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Director of the Research centre in environmental education and ecocitizenship (visit the Centre’ERE website here).
Lucie held the Canada Research Chair in Relative Education to the Environment from 2001-2011 contributing to developing of research in environmental education. As well, she has led several major international cooperation projects in Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, and Bolivia.
I recall meeting Lucie for the first time as she helped coordinate and co-chair the 5thWorld Environmental Education Congress (WEEC), Montreal, Quebec, 2009. I was immediately captivated by her passion, unassuming leadership style, and the unique manner she conceptualized environmental education which focused on our “relationship with the environment [which] contributes to the formulation of our being-in-the-world. . . .” (read more here). This perspective on environmental education helped foster a much-needed critique on the reductive tendency of the ‘education for sustainable development’ discourse, which emphasized the development of an ethical social relationship with our environment.
Lucie’s research activities are exemplary and her publication record impressive, as is her ongoing directorship of the Centr’ERE of UQAM, where her legacy remains.
Anyone who has had the honour and pleasure of working with Lucie first-hand knows of her grace, passion, and keen intellect. In our ongoing work to educate another generation of teachers on the issues of Environmental and Sustainability Education, Lucie has been stalwart. We wish her all the best as she enters another exciting chapter of her life, as dedicated as ever to lead and educate a future generation Canadians about their ethical relationship with the environment.
Thank you, Lucie!
Hommage aux contributions de la Dr Lucie Sauvé à l’éducation relative à l’environnement et à la viabilité
Le Comité permanent du Réseau canadien d’éducation et de communication relatives à l’environnement (EECOM) sur l’éducation à l’environnement et à la viabilité dans la formation des enseignants félicite la Dr Lucie Sauvé pour l’annonce récente de sa retraite.
Lucie est une fervente collaboratrice du Comité permanent depuis sa création en 2017. Elle a été une participante clé et active lors de la Table ronde nationale organisée par l’Université Trent, prononçant l’un de ses discours principaux tout en contribuant à plusieurs panels. Elle a fourni un important et chaleureux soutien académique à cette organisation naissante depuis ses débuts, grâce à sa participation aux activités de recherche et de sensibilisation du Comité permanent. Au cours des dernières années, elle a offert des conseils et des ressources clés pour soutenir les demandes de subventions fédérales et d’importantes recherches dans le cadre de diverses activités de mobilisation des connaissances : par exemple, Sauvé, L. (2019). Transversality, diversity, criticality, and activism: Enhancing E(S)E in teacher education. In D. Karrow & M. DiGiuseppe (Eds.), Environmental and sustainability education in teacher education: Canadian perspectives, (pp. 49-62). Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature AG. ISBN: 978-3-030-25015-7
La Dr Sauvé a commencé sa carrière en éducation comme enseignante d’histoire, de géographie et de latin et a contribué à la production et à la diffusion de matériel pédagogique au Québec. Elle est entrée dans la vie universitaire dans les années 1980 en complétant une maîtrise en sciences de l’environnement puis dans les années 1990, en complétant un doctorat, le premier dans le monde francophone à se concentrer sur l’éducation relative à l’environnement (en savoir plus ici).
Après une courte nomination à l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières en 1991, elle s’est jointe à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) en 1993 où elle est demeurée jusqu’à la retraite comme professeure titulaire au Département de didactique, Faculté des sciences de l’éducation, et en tant que directrice du Centre de recherche en éducation et formation relatives à l’environnement et à l’écocitoyenneté (visitez le site Internet du Centre’ERE ici).
Lucie a été titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en éducation relative à l’environnement de 2001 à 2011, contribuant au développement de la formation et de la recherche en éducation environnementale. De plus, elle a dirigé plusieurs grands projets de coopération internationale en Bolivie, au Brésil, en Colombie et en Bolivie.
Je me souviens avoir rencontré Lucie pour la première fois alors qu’elle aidait à coordonner et coprésider le 5eCongrès mondial d’éducation relative à l’environnement (WEEC), tenu à Montréal, Québec, en 2009. J’ai été immédiatement captivé par sa passion, son style de leadership sans prétention et sa manière unique de conceptualiser une éducation relative à l’environnement axée sur notre « relation à l’environnement [qui] contribue à la formation de notre être-au-monde. […] » (en savoir plus ici). Cette perspective sur l’éducation relative à l’environnement a contribué à susciter une critique indispensable de la tendance réductrice du discours associé à l’éducation pour le développement durable, en mettant l’accent sur le développement d’une relation sociale éthique avec notre environnement.
Les activités de recherche de Lucie sont exemplaires et son bilan de publications impressionnant, tout comme sa direction du Centr’ERE de l’UQAM, où son héritage demeure.
Quiconque a eu l’honneur et le plaisir de travailler avec Lucie connaît sa grâce, sa passion et son intelligence vive. Dans notre travail continu pour éduquer une autre génération d’enseignant.e.s sur les questions de l’éducation relative à l’environnement et à la viabilité, Lucie a été bien présente . Nous lui offrons nos meilleurs vœux alors qu’elle entre dans un autre chapitre passionnant de sa vie, aussi dévouée que jamais à éduquer les futures générations de Canadien.ne.s, concernant en particulier leur relation éthique avec l’environnement.
Join teacher educators from across Canada and the US to discuss how they are pivoting environmental learning in teacher education to digital formats. Learn from faculty experienced with online teaching about their preferred strategies,promising practices, and innovative ways they are engaging preservice students and inservice teachers in Environmental & Sustainability Education.
Details: Thursday September 24, 2020 – 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Register in advance for this webinar using this Zoom link here
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
We look forward to having you join us for this free event!
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?v=5R7N0txqOxI&feature=youtu.be
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
Dr. Yovita Gwekwerere is cross-appointed between the Laurentian University Faculty of Education and School of the Environment. She offers a course in Environmental Education that is open to all students at Laurentian as an elective, for twelve weeks. Half of the class is usually Concurrent Education students, so it can really be an interesting and dynamic mix of backgrounds and expertise in the course. A core component of the course is getting the students outside and into the community, exposing them to local organizations that can support them as teachers and concerned citizens. Yovita has noticed that a really impactful experience for her students comes out of a very place-based practice, when they learn the Sudbury Story. Sudbury, Ontario, has a history of mining and logging, and the subsequent pollution that devastated the landscape. Thirty years ago, a successful regreening project began in the city, bringing in help from local and international scientists, and local community involvement, bringing back trees, air quality and other enhancements. Most students often do not know the Sudbury ecohistory. After learning some of the details, they also participate in a guided hike at the Jane Goodall Conservation center where they get to see one area that was left “ungreened” intentionally to highlight what improvements were made by the collective action between scientists and citizens. Many students comment after the course that they were greatly impacted by the hopeful message of the Sudbury Story. They also note that it is important to know the impact of humans on our natural environments so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. To learn more, contact Dr. Gwekwerere at email@example.com.
Learning about the story of re-greening Sudbury at the Jane Goodall reclamation trail, City of Greater Sudbury
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/ese/TDSB_EcoSchools/index.html
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.
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 completely 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; 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 will investigate the experiences of experiences of all of the participants. This ambitious project may demonstrate new ways for school boards and Faculties of Ed to collaborate on meaningful, impactful approaches to ESE moving forward.