Forty nine trained in EPA’s 7th Annual Environmental Education Workshop for Teachers
Education is the foundation for progress and teachers are key to laying that foundation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes competent teachers as an asset in the national and global movement for advancing environmental education and awareness in all spheres of society. This has motivated, the conduct of impactful teacher training workshops to stimulate the integration of environmental education into the school curriculum. First conducted in 2009, the teacher environmental education workshop has now become an annual activity on the EPA’s calendar.
The primary beneficiary of the teacher workshop is the Cyril Potter College of Education. In previous years, pre-service teachers from the Turkeyen Centre were engaged in four days of the educational nature escape. This year, EPA scaled up the training workshop to include both pre-service and in-service participants from five CPCE centres in the country, namely, New Amsterdam, Anna Regina, Linden, Georgetown, and Vreed-en-Hoop. The camp-in workshop was held during November 15-17, at Camp Wesleyana, nestled in greenery along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway, and saw participation from forty-nine (49) teachers enrolled in CPCE’s Early Childhood/ Primary and Secondary Programmes.
Participants during a group activity Winning team for best lesson plan
The central focus of the workshop was to enable participants to utilize a variety of methods to successfully infuse environmental education into the main subject areas of the school’s curriculum. Teachers were introduced to core issues affecting the environment, such as climate change, biodiversity, solid waste, and energy. As they engaged in games, worksheets, group work and group presentations, the teachers developed a better understanding of possible solutions to tackle these issues. They were also exposed to strategies that they can employ to cultivate positive attitudes and change in their pupils. The natural setting of the workshop served as a constant reminder and learning tool for the indispensable benefits our environment provides.
As the training workshop progressed, the participants showed increasing team-building, critical thinking, analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills. While knowledge-building occupied most of the camp’s schedule, the participants were able to unwind and build social interactions during the traditional talent night and campfire before the final day. Dancing, singing, poetry and folk songs marked a memorable evening under the stars.
On the final day of the workshop, the teachers were challenged to develop actual lesson plans to infuse a given environmental topic into specified subject areas. This exercise was used as an assessment tool of the main objective of the workshop. The facilitators from the Environmental Communication Education and Awareness Programme of the EPA were satisfied that these teachers would be able to chart a new course in our schools to build a citizenry that is aware of the environment and the threats it faces and will guide students to think about and take actions that are needed for a sustainable future.
The event culminated with the distribution of prizes for the best lesson plan and participation. The winning lesson plan focused on infusing the topic of energy conservation into a mathematics lesson. The team chose to make their students aware of energy conservation during a lesson on Venn diagrams. It is this kind of innovation that the EPA seeks to elicit each year and this will drive the continuance of this training exercise into the future.
Participants at this year’s workshop
This year’s participants deemed the workshop a success and followed the trend of participants of previous years by expressing the desire for the workshop to be of longer duration and greater frequency. This is a cue for business, and educational institutions to invest in environmental education by training teachers and take advantage of this definite win-win opportunity. The EPA is willing and ready to provide training expertise for any venture to train teachers in environmental education.
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