Feb/2022: Seminars on environmental education debate strategies to teach for a sustainable future
The two-day online event organised by the STEM Education Hub on the 16th and 17th of February will be held as part of King’s College London annual Brazil’s Week
The practical approaches to engage a young generation on the green agenda topics is the theme of the STEM Education Hub next free online seminar: Environmental education: How to teach for a sustainable future?. On the 16th and 17th of February, at 6pm-9pm (GMT)/3pm-6pm (BRT), specialists from the UK and Brazil will lead roundtables to discuss and explore with participants the concepts related to environmental education and practical approaches to implement pedagogies sensible to the current global challenges.
The event is part of the Brazil’s Week agenda, an annual event promoted by the King’s Brazil Institute at King’s College London. The two seminars will have simultaneous interpretation available in both English and Portuguese. The seminars will be taking place on Zoom.
In the aftermath of COP-26, the UN climate summit held in Glasgow last winter, the event seeks to promote knowledge exchange between leading researchers and educators in Brazil and the UK, and to support schools leaders on environmental teaching. Specialists will discuss key issues related to sustainability and how to approach the topic in classrooms.
The programme for each session and the panellists’ profiles are detailed below.
|Time (BRT/GMT)||16th Feb/22||17th Feb/22|
|3.00pm/6.00pm||Welcoming and presentation (Arthur Galamba, KCL)||Welcoming and presentation (Arthur Galamba, KCL)|
|3.10pm/6.10pm||Lizzie Rushton, KCL & Lynda Dunlop, University of York||Danilo Kato, UFTM|
|3.50pm/6.50pm||Alessandra Bizerra, USP||Jennifer Rudd, Swansea University|
|4.30pm/7.30pm||Fernando Fernandes & Sufyan el Droubi, University of Dundee||Karen Davis, Science Museum Group|
|5.10pm/8.10pm||Sandra Unbehaum, Fundação Carlos Chagas||Héliton Barros, Museu da Vida|
|5.50pm/8.50pm||Closing remarks||Closing remarks|
Elizabeth Rushton & Lynda Dunlop
About the panellists
Dr Elizabeth Rushton is Lecturer in Geography Education in the School of Education, Communication and Society, King’s College London and is director of the Geography PGCE. Her research interests are focused in geography and science education, specifically the professional development of teachers, student participation in research and environmental education. Recent research has been funded by BERA, the ESRC and the AHRC. Lizzie is co-founder and Managing Editor of Routes – The Journal for Student Geography, and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).
Lynda Dunlop is a Senior Lecturer in Science Education in the University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG). With a background in teaching in schools in the UK and internationally, her research focuses on the philosophical, political and environmental dimensions of science education, and on public engagement with new science. She is co-lead of the 2021 British Educational Research Association Research Commission which takes a participatory and inclusive approach to understanding youth and teacher perspectives on education for environmental sustainability. For more information about past and current projects, visit:
About the panel
Title: Education for environmental sustainability: co-creation of futures with students and teachers.
Main question: How can Education for Environmental Sustainability provide opportunities for co-creation with teachers and school students?
Abstract: For decades, education has been recognised as a fundamental part of local, national and international efforts to bring about a just world with equitable access to key services, resources and participation in advocacy and decision making. In recent years, youth and teachers have persistently called for fundamental changes to education so that they are able to adequately respond to the challenges posed by the climate emergency. However, the question remains, what would it mean to put environmental sustainability at the heart of education? In responding to this question, we share our approach of inclusive, participatory manifesto-making to identify young people’s (aged 16-18 years) and teachers’ priorities for education for environmental sustainability (EfES) across the UK. Drawing on analysis of qualitative data from over 200 teachers and young people who participated in futures and visualisation workshops, we identify key educational priorities at the levels of classroom, school, community and policy, based on consensus between teacher and youth perspectives. Whilst consensus-seeking comes with a risk of favouring ‘soft’ actions which reinforce unsustainable practices and systems, the process of identifying more desirable futures and immediate barriers, which must be negotiated to reach them, has the potential to create spaces for more critical pedagogies and practices. There is a need for policy makers and school leaders to recognise the interests of teachers and young people to enable greater participation in decision making at different scales, and to ensure that those with the greatest capacity bear their burden of responsibility for education for environmental sustainability.
About the panellist
Alessandra Bizerra is a biologist, with a doctorate in Education, and a professor at the Institute of Biosciences at the University of São Paulo. The research areas in which she has worked are non-formal education and scientific dissemination, with a focus on participatory processes in science/society relations. She served on the Board of the Science and Technology Park at USP and at the Brazilian Association of Biology Teaching. She is currently a visiting researcher at King’s College London with CRESTEM. She is the coordinator of the CHOICES research group (sites.usp.br/choices/) and a collaborating researcher at the INCT in Public Communication at C & T (inct-cpct.ufpa.br).
About the panel
Title: Projects in the community: an analysis of socio-environmental issues based on the territory
Main question: What are the main contributions and challenges of producing participatory media based on the territory interpretation together with local actors?
Abstract: In Brazil, the proposition of a critical environmental education, as a social practice aimed at transforming reality, is widely accepted and permeates the regulatory documents of formal education. However, traditional environmental education, which prioritizes individual actions, disconnected from the realities of students, and reproduces unequal power relations, is still the keynote in many Brazilian schools. The tensions that generate and emerge from this contradiction are varied, such as the conditions of teaching practice, infrastructure problems or the inefficiency of public policies. In this meeting, we will discuss the appropriation of the living and experiential space by the students. We will address the potential of children and adolescents’ perception of the territory for the complexification of socio-environmental issues, when different social actors, such as schools, NGOs, families, students and educators, are in effective dialogue. To promote the debate, I will present two examples of educational actions involving the production of media based on co-creation and co-authorship, revealing their theoretical-methodological perspectives. The first was developed with and by elementary school students from schools in a rural area in southern Brazil, and the second, with and by children and adolescents living in a favela in São Paulo, the largest metropolis in South America. Keeping in mind the teaching praxis, I will address some of the main contributions and challenges of producing socio-environmental participatory media from the territory interpretation together with local actors, emphasizing the underlying mechanisms of social participation.
Fernando Fernandes & Sufyan el Droubi
About the panellists
Fernando Fernandes is Reader (Teaching and Research) at the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education with the Community Learning and Development programme. He holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Geography (both at Fluminense Federal University, Brazil); and a PhD in Geography (at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). His professional and academic experience, however, has been always beyond the boundaries of Geography in a permanent dialogue with sociology, social anthropology, media studies, public health, and community learning and development. His research activities reflect his engagement with the field of human rights in the context of community development, with special attention to the role of stereotyping social representations on policy and practice. He has been empirically exploring this in Brazilian favelas, and most recently, with marginalised groups in Scotland.
Sufyan el Droubi is Lecturer (Teaching and Research) in Law within the School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee. His research is particularly concerned with international organizations and non-state actors; and with the impact of international processes on sustainable development, on a just transition to a lower carbon economy and on indigenous and other vulnerable peoples, notably in Latin America. Previously, Sufyan was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of São Paulo and at the University of Manchester, sponsored by a FAPESP Postdoctoral Fellowship. He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Essex. A fully qualified lawyer in Brazil since 1996, he spent twelve years in practice in business law before turning to academia. He is one of the editors of the Melland Shill Perspectives to International Law (MUP); one of the editors of The Just Transition to 2030 and 2060 (Palgrave MacMillan – Springer); co-director of the International Investments in Latin America Network, and co-director of the Just Transition Hub, University of Dundee.
About the panel
Title: Teaching for Just Transition
Main question: What is the importance of teaching in a just transition to a lower-carbon economy?
Abstract: This research argues that education is crucial in realising a just transition to a low-carbon economy and provides a framework of what educating for a just transition requires. Estimates suggest that worldwide investments needed to ensure a transition to a low-carbon economy in the next three decades amount to circa US$93-173 trillion. Further, studies demonstrate that several regions for instance whose economies are highly dependent on fossil fuels are likely to suffer more than others in terms of bearing the costs of a transition. The truth is that, left to the market, the transition to a low-carbon economy is likely to exacerbate inequalities. This is because as disinvestment in fossil fuels and investment into renewables gain pace inequality between individuals and regions will increase due to the inability of individuals and regions to timely prepare for the new conditions and demands of the market. We argue that education, when funded in the principles of critical thinking and human rights, can be crucial to better prepare individuals for achieving a just transition. We advance, educating for a just transition means not only preparing individuals for the transition to a low-carbon economy, but enabling them to critically think of the transition that they are experiencing, and understand what is necessary for the transition to be ‘just’. The concept of just transition emerged in practice and in academia in response to the problem of inequality and injustice. In defining a just transition, we adopt the JUST Framework to assert that just transition be understood in three different dimensions – time, which emphasises the urgency of the transition (a slow transition is, by definition, unjust); space, which reminds us that we live in one planet (our action or lack of it has implications elsewhere in the globe); and justice, which is understood in distributional (fair distribution of benefits and costs), procedural (respect to processes at all levels of governance), recognition (notably of vulnerable individuals and groups such as indigenous peoples), restorative (violations must be prevented and if they occur, repaired) and cosmopolitan (justice in one region should not jeopardise justice in another region).
About the panellist
Sandra Unbehaum is a social scientist. She has a Master’s degree in Sociology (USP/2000) and a Doctorate in Education (PUC/2014). Since 1995, she has been acting as a researcher at the Carlos Chagas Foundation. Her main research interest in the Education field is tackling educational inequalities of gender and race in basic and higher education. A few years ago, a specific theme mobilized her work: gender and racial inequality in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Her most recent project is the research “Teaching Natural Sciences and its Technologies in Basic Education in Brazil: a diagnostic and comprehensive framework” supported by the British Council.
About the panel
Title: The environmental education in academic literature on science teaching
Main question: What does the research of the last decade on science teaching in basic education highlight about environmental education?
Abstract: The climate crisis is on the national and international agenda and when observing social indicators such as class, gender and race, it is possible to perceive that the consequences of the climate crisis affect people unequally. In the panorama that we have produced about science teaching in Brazilian basic education, an analysis of the academic literature shows that it is essential to deepen and articulate themes such as equity, diversity and the sustainability of life not only as content, but also as an intrinsic pedagogical practice in the curriculum. At all stages of schooling. In our presentation, we want to stimulate a dialogue about the importance and potential of science teaching in basic education to contribute to a critical awareness of the problems that affect the life of the planet.
Danilo Seithi Kato
About the panellist
Danilo Seithi Kato is adjunct professor at the Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM) in the Department of Education in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Technologies. He is a permanent professor in the graduate programs in Education and in Education in Science and Mathematics at UFTM. He is editor of the academic journal Cadernos CIMEAC (ISSN 2178-9770). He is also leader of the study and research group on interculturality and science education (GEPIC). He participates in the Brazil-Africa international cooperation network and the Collective in Environmental Education focusing on the state of the art in environmental education research in Latin America and the Caribbean (EARTE-ALyC). He participates in research projects: Reading and writing in Brazil, Honduras, Angola and Chile: contemporary university education and (re)production of knowledge; Environmental Education in Latin America: Analysis of academic production; Education for Biodiversity in initial teacher training: a comparison between six case studies in Brazilian Universities; Biocultural Memory as a Linking Axis Between Rural Education and Science Teaching: An Investigation in the Context of Traditional Communities in Rio Grande Do Sul. He has experience in the field of Education, with emphasis on teacher training, working mainly on the following themes: popular education; science education; environmental education; rural education; interculturality.
About the panel
Title: Environmental Education And Critical Interculturality: Reflections On The Knowledge Of Traditional Communities And The Idea Of Sustainability
Main questions: Assuming that the socio-environmental crisis and the conflicts that mark the Latin American reality, and that the peoples with ontologies and epistemologies from the Modern Western perspective were relegated to invisibility, which educational processes could be delineated from an Afro-cosmopolitics – amerindian? If these are the peoples that resist the symbolic and epistemic violences of colonialism that have been established for more than 5 centuries, how can one think and practice EE with the presence of ontologies and epistemologies of native and Afro-diasporic peoples?
Abstract: Considering the diverse and pluriethnic aspects of Brazilian society, it is important to think of a research agenda that aims at models of teacher training that are more sensitive to cultural diversity and the socio-environmental issues of their territories. Thus, I present the results of research produced in the context of the Group of Studies and Research in Interculturality and Science Education (GEPIC-UFTM) on teacher training involving intercultural dialogues between knowledge of traditional communities and knowledge of modern Western science, in particular aspects related to Environmental Education. Taking the socio-environmental crisis and the conflicts that mark the Latin American reality, and that peoples with ontologies and epistemes different from the Modern Western perspective were relegated to processes of invisibility, I question what educational processes could be delineated from an Afro “cosmopolitics” -Amerindian? If these are the peoples who resist the symbolic, epistemic, and physical violence of colonialism that has been in place for more than 5 centuries, how to think about EE research with the presence of ontologies and epistemologies of native and Afro-diasporic peoples? Based on these questions, I present data from research carried out by the GEPIC Group in the context of a cooperation project called “Environmental Education in Brazil: analysis of academic production – thesis and dissertations”, known as the EArte Project, with the participation of 15 research professors from 8 different national public institutions. I present some trends and characteristics regarding academic production in EE in Brazil, regarding the relationship between the knowledge of traditional peoples and the idea of sustainability. As main results, I discuss how research explores the relationship between traditional knowledge and sustainability, and how this relationship can be based on a critical intercultural project based on elements specific to the Brazilian, Latin American and Caribbean reality.
About the panellist
Jennifer Rudd is a climate change educator and climate activist. She has a background in Chemistry and has lived in Germany, Switzerland, America and the UK. She has looked at climate change from a technological and behavioural perspective and is passionate about helping fix the world. The question “Can we teach climate change in a way that effects behavioural change?” is her driving force.
About the panel
Title: You and CO2 Lessons Learnt From the Development and Deployment of an Interdisciplinary Climate Change Education Programme for Secondary School Students in the UK
Main question: How can we teach climate change in a way that effects behavioural change?
Abstract: Students are becoming increasingly aware that the planet is warming and that this will have a significant effect on their lives now and in their futures. To combat rising climate anxiety it is important that students feel empowered to act on climate change, not just learn about it. In addition, students need to understand that climate change needs to be tackled from an interdisciplinary perspective and not just by scientists or geographers. You and CO2 is an interdisciplinary climate change education programme aimed at students aged 12-15 created with the aforementioned goals in mind. In this talk the project’s Principal Investigator will give an overview of the project and the data collected sharing insights into what the team have learnt about students’ attitudes towards climate change and climate mitigation. The PI will also reflect on the project’s strengths and weaknesses and suitability for curriculum integration in the UK and beyond.
About the panellist
Karen Davis is head of Learning Research and Resources at the Science Museum Group. She is passionate about learning in informal settings, having spent her career (over 30 years) devising innovative ways of engaging a wide range of audiences in science, as well as supporting museum professionals, teachers, and STEM professionals nationally and internationally to do the same. She works strategically with the Museum Leadership, Development and Project teams to maximise Learning’s input across the public offer ensuring that audience needs, wants and expectations are addressed, and works with a range of academic partners, including University College, London, King’s College, London and the University of Edinburgh on large-scale learning projects.
About the panel
Title: Engaging all audience with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) using a science capital approach in and beyond the classroom
Main questions: How can informal science institutions support schools when teaching environmental education? How can you engage ALL students with STEM?
Abstract: Karen Davies from the Science Museum Group (SMG) will explore how science museums and centres play an important role in the science learning landscape by responding to societal issues and helping more diverse young people connect with the science that shapes their lives.
She will share with you the tools the Science Museum Group uses to provide engaging, inspiring and memorable experiences for all, and how you can use these tools in your own classroom. Based on this conference’s theme you will also get the opportunity to experience this hands-on approach for yourselves and see how museums can be a practical ‘resource’ for teaching environmental science.
For those new to the concept, science capital gives us research-based insights into what shapes people’s attitudes, engagement and relationship with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It recognises the significance of what you know about STEM, how you think about it, what you do and who you know in shaping your identity and relationship with science and maths. Equity and social justice are integral to the concept of science capital, enabling and empowering everyone to access the opportunities and wonders of STEM.
The informal science sector is one of the places where an excitement and curiosity about science can be sparked and kindled across a lifetime. But as part of the larger learning landscape SMG recognises that no one institution can build a person’s science capital in isolation, it requires a holistic joined up approach across sectors, including schools.
About the panellist
Héliton Barros has a degree in Biological Sciences and a Master’s degree in Science with an emphasis on Teaching Bioscience and Health from Instituto Oswaldo Cruz – Fiocruz. He worked as a university professor between 2010 and 2012, he was manager of Science and Technology at the Minas Gerais State Department of Health, during which time he coordinated, in this department, the Research Program for SUS (PPSUS) of the Department of Science. and Technology of the Department of Science, Technology and Strategic Inputs (Decit/SCTIE) of the Ministry of Health. He has experience in the area of Scientific Dissemination, working mainly on the following topics: non-formal education, science, art and science museums and the elaboration of scientific exhibitions . He was the executive coordinator of the events held by Fundação Oswaldo Cruz during the National Science and Technology Week between 2013 and 2019 under the general coordination of the Vice-Presidency of Education, Information and Communication. He coordinated the Visitation and Public Service of the Museum of Life – Fiocruz between 2017 and 2018 and the Education Service between 2018 and July 2021, when he took over as Head of the Museum of Life-Fiocruz.
About the panel