Climate Equity – A Community of Teachers Build and Share Their Wisdom of Practice (2023)


Description

There is an urgent need for education about climate and equity. TERC is designing and testing a new professional development model for teacher leaders who are at the forefront of teaching climate equity. It brings teachers together for a weeklong Institute to share practices, and also to enjoy leisurely spare time for renewal and connecting with nature. Learn more about the Institute, and about how the Climate and Equity teachers are starting to make a real and lasting difference as they build and share their wisdom of practice.

Award: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Discussion

This discussion took place during the TERC Video Showcase Event Nov. 14-21, 2023. Discussion is now closed.
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Gillian Puttick
Gillian Puttick
November 13, 2023 2:40 pm
Our goal for the Climate and Equity institute was to create a productive space for teachers to expand their imagination about possible pedagogies and to renew their sense of hope and empowerment as they teach about climate and equity. Our team conjectured that such a space should bring together teachers from very different contexts to illuminate common challenges of pedagogy. Further, we supposed that if teachers take the lead in sharing their expertise, having ample time for discussion and collaboration, and engaging with equity frameworks, youth action, community engagement, and indigenous ways of knowing, they would expand their understanding of the dimensions of climate and equity pedagogy.  
The Institute has convened in the summer of 2022 and 2023. We are looking forward to a third Institute in July 2024. What constitutes effective spaces for teacher learning and renewal in your projects? We look forward to a lively discussion!
Nuria Jaumot-Pascual
Nuria Jaumot-Pascual
November 14, 2023 12:56 pm
Hi! I really enjoyed this video. The comment about how participants had time for self-care was striking, I guess because that is not what one expects from a professional development opportunity. Could you tell us a bit more about how self-care was integrated into the PD and how you conceived it? Do you notice a difference between more traditional PD models and this one?
Looking forward to the conversation!
Brian Drayton
Brian Drayton
November 15, 2023 2:55 pm
Hi, Nuria, I am sure everyone will want to reply to this question– but I’ll just say that we came to this well aware from our previous work (and personal contacts in environmental ed, conservation bio, etc.) that climate change is really hard to teach, emotionally — hard for the teacher, hard for the kids. So we wanted to make sure to make space for people to share about this kind of thing, and we had the extraordinary help of Dr. Susanne Moser in addressing the emotional costs of the subject.
PLUS, part of our goal is teachers’ renewal – -so they need time to play, talk, and engage with nature.
Gillian Puttick
Gillian Puttick
November 16, 2023 11:49 am
Reply to  Brian Drayton
As you saw in the video, we also scheduled a couple of sessions for being in nature – a sketching session on the seashore guided by an artist, a birdwalk in the early morning. And most important, a 3-hour chunk of time after lunch each day for teachers to hang out, hike, go for a swim.
Nuria Jaumot-Pascual
Nuria Jaumot-Pascual
November 17, 2023 9:42 am
So important to consider our participants’ (and our own) full selves in the work we do. I love that you included art as part of self-care.
Traci Higgins
Traci Higgins
November 14, 2023 3:35 pm
I love the focus on sharing the wisdom of practice. Teachers bring so many strengths to this work. Yet they spend so much time behind closed doors in their classrooms. These opportunities to come together and share seem so important, especially given the urgency of these topics. I’m so glad to see innovators like your team engaging in this work. I think your model could help me think about the summer workshop that I am developing to support a small group of middle school social studies teachers as they explore ways to engage their students with civic data using a civic responsibility and justice frame. How can I continue to stay informed about your work?
Gillian Puttick
Gillian Puttick
November 16, 2023 11:51 am
Reply to  Traci Higgins
Hi Traci – We are working on a couple of papers, but perhaps we should think about doing a presentation at TERC to share our work…and of course we’d be happy to have a conversation with you individually anytime, one-on-one!
Last edited 5 months ago by Gillian Puttick
Stephen Alkins
Stephen Alkins
November 15, 2023 2:15 pm
I love the emphasis on creating a community of teachers that is hopefully long-lasting and can evolve into a community of practice for climate equity. How is the project looking to sustain this community? You also mentioned that the teachers were able to come up with actions. Have they devised any particular resources that they will pilot or share? If so, how and where? We need the momentum of this to be sustained. Thank you.
Gillian Puttick
Gillian Puttick
November 16, 2023 11:57 am
Reply to  Stephen Alkins
Hi Stephen – we are working on ways to sustain the community, as I’m sure you know, not an easy thing to do given how busy teachers’ lives are. We hold monthly online sessions for teachers to share what they’ve been doing with each other, and supporting a couple of groups who have been working on joint projects since the institute. Teachers also share information via a pretty active google group. As far as sharing resources, that is currently happening on googledocs within the two cohorts. One small group of teachers is currently working on a practitioner article that focuses on pedagogy for climate and equity.
Andee Rubin
Andee Rubin
November 15, 2023 9:54 pm
+1 to all the comments above – and as a data nerd, I wonder what kinds of data teachers used as evidence of climate change – both for themselves and their students. Is there a particular phenomenon that “hits home” for teachers and students as an indicator of climate change?
Gillian Puttick
Gillian Puttick
November 16, 2023 1:10 pm
Reply to  Andee Rubin
Hi Andee – I’m sure everyone will have an answer to this question, but there were as many ways in to climate education as there were teachers at the institute. Teachers approaches ranges from place-based conservation actions, to looking at global datasets, to understanding the greenhouse effect, among other things…
Anushree Bopardikar
Anushree Bopardikar
November 16, 2023 3:15 pm
What an innovative approach for supporting teachers to teach about climate and equity! I like how the approach emphasizes that teachers lead their own learning, and it gives them time, space, and resources for reflection and self-care. Could you say more about what teacher and/or student outcomes are of interest to your team and how these are assessed as part of the research? The reference in the video to students generating solutions to climate-related problems makes me wonder if teachers and students taking actions for environmental stewardship at their school or in their local communities, for example, is an intended outcome of your project.
Gillian Puttick
Gillian Puttick
November 16, 2023 6:15 pm
Hi Anushree – We’re interested in the immediate impact of the institute itself and learn from teacher report via interviews and surveys what they have learned and new perspectives gained, as well as of course being there as participant observers. We continue teacher meetings via zoom during the year and are tracking what teachers are implementing that they’ve taken from the institute. Valuing environmental stewardship is one of the things we look for in teacher applications, as is leadership in the wider community – so we’re interested in what ways teachers continue to take leadership in those arenas, as you suggested.