Climate change discussions and campaigns have taken over the media and everyday activities and engagement.
Despite the seemingly widespread awareness of the dangers of climate change and ways people can save the earth, a greater margin of the earth’s population still remain oblivious to these dangers.
The dangers associated with climate change as well as the gap in knowledge has prompted students to engage in social movements for climate justice.
In this article, we will be discussing ways teachers can support students in their quest for change and participation in the most urgent issues of our time by promoting a sense of urgency and empowering them.
Help them understand the issues
Some students have witnessed, first hand, the impact of climate change – they’ve seen natural habitats destroyed and pollution lurk at almost every corner of their surroundings.
Teachers can further support them by engaging them in issues that directly impact their lives via collaborative inquiry projects for change and going beyond the classroom by supporting their participation and leadership in social movements.
This way, the teachers become their allies and ensure that their views and ideas on these issues are implemented for change.
Help them identify the causes
Help them narrow down the causes e.g. identifying and speaking to the people that are most affected by these issues, dialoguing with corporations that are polluting the environment without being held accountable and fighting against environmental regulations, lobbying policymakers to draw up better environmental policies, etc.
The good part in this is that students’ involvement in these issues does not have to be a one-sided discussion or reading.
Their actions could be in form of art: songs, art exhibitions, paintings, poetry, skits, or simply hold interactive research activities to explore the root causes of these issues.
This will allow them analyze their everyday experiences to yield new ways of thinking about their world.
Build their skills
Its no news that for students to effectively organize this, they may require new skills — conducting research, negotiating with stakeholders, talking to journalists, publicizing campaign events, drafting petitions or letters to elected officials, etc.
This is where teachers come in because they are better experienced to assist them with these activities.
There is indeed power in partnership because it enables allows for the combination of resources to achieve a goal.
Teachers can assist students with contributing their viewpoints and ideas by providing structured and supportive ecosystems.
Helping students see themselves as change makers in critical issues that affect their environment evokes that feeling in them that they have a role to play – both individually and collectively – in setting things straight.
Help them plan
Encourage students to take on a critical issue by starting with a goal that is defined and specific.
It could be in form of campaigns that target specific policies about the environment – mostly organized around pressuring politicians to make environmentally conscious policy decisions.
You could also ask them to write to corporations who are advocates for safer earth or even a politician.
The aim is to build community knowledge and power to address the issue with direct action through a collective plan.
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