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This is a new term, which means there is no agreed upon definition yet.
To some, Sustainable Teaching is a way to support teachers in their own professional growth, which in turn improves the education they provide. For others, Sustainable Teaching means to teach in a way that protects the natural resources of the planet and sometimes Sustainable Teaching is used interchangeably with Teaching Sustainability.
The thing that all definitions agree upon is that this is a long term solution in order to improve both the education we provide and our world as a whole.
At The English Classroom, we define Sustainable Teaching as:
Sustainable Teaching is the practice of giving students the skills they need for life-long learning outside of the classroom. We do this through teaching issues of sustainability as well as soft skills such as critical thinking, research, collaboration, and presentation skills.
We are bombarded with huge amounts of information at a pace never seen before. This requires constant development, adaptation, and analysis of the world around us and our place within it. For example, by the time a University student graduates from a three-year degree, the reference material used in their first year is already out of date.
Therefore, standard secondary school education is no longer sufficient to educate students for the rest of their life. They need to be able to navigate the information available to them and keep their skills up-to-date in an ever-changing world. In the post-truth age of social media and advertising, deciding where to educate oneself is no easy task.
We develop students ‘toolbox’ of skills and practice them over the course of their secondary education, so students can continue to learn long after they leave the classroom. Through Sustainable Teaching, students learn the ability to make informed decisions and analyse the credibility of information they are exposed to. They learn to work in collaboration with others, using effective communication skills to express ideas. In short, Sustainable Teaching prepares students for the modern world.
Sustainable Teaching is a focus on skills and processes rather than knowledge and facts. The content of lessons is important, of course, but through all lessons should be the red thread of critical thinking, research, collaboration, and presentation skills.
We build Sustainable Teaching practices into all lessons at all levels of English, from A1 through to C2. All Sustainable Teaching methods are already built into every lesson so it is no extra work for the teacher but the students will benefit for the rest of their lives. Isn’t it time we adapted our teaching methods for the modern world? We think so!
Made for teachers.
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Written by Jennifer Gardner
Owner of The English Classroom