Sustainability action process

Learning for sustainability seeks to enable and empower students to make decisions and take actions that contribute to creating a sustainable society and ecosystem. Sustainability action is both a preferred pedagogical approach for teaching sustainability and an essential set of knowledge and skills for students to learn.

This learning is best delivered through a wide range of teaching and learning activities utilising all of the Key Learning Areas. Students will develop strong environmental knowledge, awareness and capacity for positive environmental change when it is contextualised or taught using real examples, problem solving and with active student participation.

This process supports students to identify, investigate and take sustainability action. When sustainability action is applied as a systematic process to issues and needs, it can be modelled, reapplied to new problems and learned by students with increasing levels of sophistication and complexity. The ultimate learning goal is for students to be able to implement sustainability action with such fluency that they can operate independently of the need for a scaffolded process. The Sustainability action process has five steps:

Possible strategies include thinking skills, conducting interviews and conduct surveys or audits.

A student may ask or be asked:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What do we believe is happening in our school with regard to electricity use? (make a prediction or hypothesis)
  • What data do we need to collect?
  • What are the tools/methods available to gather this information?
  • Who is the data being collected for?
  • What have we found out about how energy is used in our school and are there opportunities for improvements?
  • How will we communicate our findings?

About how they will work:

  • Will they work as individuals, in a group or as a whole class?
  • What skills will be needed?
  • What equipment will be needed to complete the task?

Students analyse the results and dacide where the action can be taken.

Possible strategies include brainstorm, discussion and think/pair/share .

Students may need assistance or guidance to:

  • decide which information is most important and how it should be recorded
  • identify the order of steps or actions
  • develop a process to prioritise and order their ideas.

Students will :

  • allocate roles and responsibilities
  • identify skills or knowledge to share  with others in dealing with any unexpected issues.

Students develop a proposal to convince the principal, then they communicate the plan to the school.

Possible strategies include brainstorming, group work, use of ICT – multimedia presentations, video and planning scaffolds.

A student may ask or be asked:

  • Does our planning address the original problem and account for the needs of the school, teachers and students?
  • What does this means for saving energy in the school?
  • How does this plan support all aspects of what we are going to do?
  • How can this be plan be communicated?

About how they will work to:

  • allocate roles and responsibilities for developing and communicating the proposal
  • identify skills and knowledge necessary to effectively communicate the proposal.

Students put the plan to work.

Possible strategies – group work/project teams or a design brief.

A student may ask or be asked to:

  • clarify their roles or actions
  • ensure the safety of all involved.

About how we will work

  • as a team or individually
  • How do we record our actions for communicating and reporting?

Students ask –What were the results? What did we learn?

They use webgraphs to illustrate learning. This may lead to further exploration and action.

Possible strategies – revisit KWL chart, interviews of key stakeholders, comparisons of evidence.

A student may ask or be asked to:

  • clarify their understanding of sustainability and their role in taking positive actions
  • formulate any future actions based on findings.  New ideas based on reflections can be developed planned and implemented.

Learning resources

Resources to help you facilitate the sustainability action process

Years 3 to 6

Energy use and efficiency

Water use and efficiency

Waste and materials

Biodiversity

Sustainable transport

Kitchen gardens

Thermal comfort

Years 7 to 10

Energy use and efficiency

Water use and efficiency

Waste and materials

Biodiversity

Sustainable transport

Kitchen gardens

Thermal comfort

Sustainability education

Sustainability education - Developing a deeper understanding and supporting student learning supports a school presentation on sustainability education to provide a deeper understanding of sustainability, ways to support student engagement and describe the Sustainability action process.

Sustainability education – facilitator notes

Managing for sustainability

The department's asset management resources (staff only) provides information and resources on the sustainable management of your school grounds.The Education facilities standards and guidelines (EFSG) provides information to assist those responsible for or with an interest in, the management, planning, design, construction and maintenance of school facilities.

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