Environmental induction for staff

An environmental induction for (seasonal) staff

Present the quiz at https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/04/specials/climate-change-solutions-quiz/

Organise staff into groups, present the online quiz using a suitable projection system with groups competing to find the correct answers

What do these results suggest to us as educators?

Elicit general ideas on what staff can do as influencers

Refer to http://theconsensusproject.com/ for the benefit of any doubters

Display the main pages which show the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is happening and that humans are the cause

What, so far as you understand, does the future look like from an environmental point of view?

This is to elicit how much staff already know and is preferred to any kind of hard-hitting input which might be shocking to some. Allow a few minutes for group chat then feed back to all. Some of the predictions for the future may be quite scary.

What do you understand by the term ‘environmental responsibility’?

Try to elicit the ambiguity of the phrase as in ‘it is our fault’ and ‘we need to act responsibly’ – see below.

What can we do to encourage environmental responsibility?

Elicit ideas from staff across the school. Try to elicit ideas about discouraging waste, teaching about sustainability, helping students to connect to nature, serving as role models, etc. You could divide into groups for this: teachers, activity staff, welfare / admin, etc. Display feedback – eg. on a whiteboard / flipchart. Key term = Influencer

Talk to staff about what (your school) is already doing to be environmentally responsible.

Use your statement of environmental responsibility or, if you don’t have one, ask staff to help you create one. If possible talk to staff about what the host school is doing in this regard.

How do you feel about all this?

To elicit the strength of feeling and any worries among staff. Hopefully there will be some sense of urgency about what needs to be done.

Refer staff to sources of materials / forums for further discussion of environmental issue and links for further information / research / teaching ideas

In particular see https://eltfootprint.org and associated Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/eltfootprint/

See also the list of links here.

Talk about the need to stay positive, acknowledge the emotional distress that can come from an understanding of the issues for students and staff and offer support.

Talk to staff about the need to stay positive and go gently with students. Refer to sources of good news in the list of links above. Talk to staff about your own reactions to the issues, perhaps with reference to family; acknowledge that distress about the future is a normal reaction. See https://green-action-elt.uk/take-action/support/ for further information.


Environmental Responsibility

The term ‘Environmental responsibility’ contains a useful ambiguity. On the one hand it can mean accepting responsibility, as in ‘This is our fault’. On the other hand it can mean acting responsibly as in, ‘We need to do something about this’. Humanity has grown up. We can no longer pretend to be innocent players on the environmental stage. We need to be ‘mature enough to tell it like it is’ (Greta Thunberg to UN). We are aware of what we have done and continue to do to the only home we have, our planet. We have caused this problem; it is not going to go away by itself; we must solve it as no one else is going to do it for us.