There are the key principles of learning and teaching that Foodweb Education has identified and uses in the planning and application of all aspects of the program. We believe they are essential for developing education programs that provide students with a solid theoretical and practical knowledge of earth and human systems. These are our own recipe for resilience and are intended to be used as a guide and reflective tool for educators.
Foodweb Education Pedagogy:
- Pattern based learning (Are lessons and activities related to general ecological principles and reinforce the identification and understanding of the world through patterns – eg. recycling and the water cycle are tied to matter cycling and life cycle analysis?)
- Consequence based learning (Are you using real, small scale consequences for developing a sense of stewardship and responsibility, and not fear or guilt about larger consequences?)
- Systems thinking (Are lessons or activities revealing and offer students the opportunity to think in terms of relationships and interconnections, and develop skills to understand systems and their place in them eg. Ecosystem, bio-geochemical cycles, school community?)
- Elicit and confront preconceptions(Are you asking students what and how they already understand things before you start introducing new concepts and assuming what they know and are capable of knowing?)*
- Independent experimentation and discovery(Are students encouraged to experiment and take responsible risks through involvement and peer support?)
- Avoid preaching, fear or guilt (Are lessons teaching understanding and skills to deal with sustainability and resilience issues, not just fear or guilt about them?)
- Avoid simple “tick the box” sustainability (Are you teaching skills of inquiry and frameworks for broader understanding, not rote solutions?)
Incorporating experience based learning (borrowed from the Fifth Pedagogy)
- Learning by doing (Are students actively involved in hands on exploration and investigation?)
- Being in the environment (Are students encouraged to experience and appreciate the special characteristics of the natural environment?)
- Real life learning (Are learning activities based on real places, real issues, and authentic tasks?)
- Sensory engagement (Are opportunities provided to explore the environment using all five senses?)
- Local context (Are students encouraged to explore and investigate environmental problems and issues in “their own backyard”?)
*Koba, S. (2009) Hard to teach biology concepts: a framework to deepen student understanding, National Science Teachers Association Press, USA.