The PC Green

Jamie Cloud and Education for Sustainability (EfS)

Last week I went to the inaugural meeting of the PAISBOA Sustainability Affinity Group. (PAISBOA is an association of 180 independent schools that shares best practices and makes collective purchases, and of which Penn Charter is an active member.) This new Sustainability Affinity Group will bring teachers, administrators, and facilities managers together to discuss environmental stewardship, education, and opportunities. I know that words like “consortium” and “affinity” and “collective purchases” don’t inspire much enthusiasm, but our first meeting was awesome. After some chatter about how the group could be organized, progressive, and useful, we got to the main event...

Jamie Cloud spoke to the group about Education for Sustainability (EfS). Jamie is the Director of the Cloud Institute, one of the world’s foremost authorities on sustainability curriculum, and is a master of articulating the excitement, pedagogy, methods, creativity, and neuroscience bubbling around sustainability education these days. She's been one of the visionaries in this movement for decades now. Some of the more interesting/helpful (to me) notes that I took:

  • David Rock’s SCARF brain-based model for collaborating and influencing people. This model helps us understand how to encourage people to move “toward” (as opposed to "away" from) an issue/challenge by honoring their hard-wired reactions to certain intellectual stimuli. Want to rally a community behind a challenge and get community buy-in around environmental issues? Find ways to keep them in a "toward" state. (Secret: Rock's model is NOT specific to environmental issues, so you may want to visit the link and use the SCARF model at the dinner table!).

  • There is no “away”! The first law of thermodynamics relates to the conservation of energy (and matter). Since matter and energy can’t be destroyed, then you can’t really throw something “away.” There is no “away”!

  • Borrow from the pedagogical model of “backward design.” Think about the world that we would like in the future, then design our education systems to get there!

It was a fantastic discussion and I hope to engage the Cloud Institute to help PC faculty design and implement some Education for Sustainability in the future. 

Posted by on Monday April 21, 2014 at 01:36PM
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