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One Teacher's Dilemma

I have recently had the opportunity to use Facing the Future curriculum in a high school classroom as a student teacher.

I’m excited to teach curriculum that I am passionate about but when I think of everything I have learned since I began working for Facing the Future, in September of last year, I feel a bit panicked.

I only have a chance to teach five one-hour sustainability lessons during the quarter.

My goal is for the students to walk away with not only a realistic view of the future, but a hopeful realistic view of the future.

In my first weeks of planning, I looked at the large amounts of curriculum, and keep in mind the small amount of time, and big goals I have for students’ learning it seems impossible to make a big impression in such a short span of time. I must choose the learning goals wisely so that the students learn to think critically but hopefully about the future.

Where do I begin? I asked myself this question for a few days, until it came to me, to begin at the beginning!

There are moments in history when society made small steps toward drastic changes in our human lifestyles. We outgrew the village lifestyle; we strived for a more “sophisticated” society.

The History of Consumption section from the Exploring Global Connections curriculum tells the story of when societies pulled away from the farm, moved to the city, and populations began to soar. Advances in technology brought about mass production and encouraged consumption and the cycle began. My goal for five one-hour lessons is to lead students toward making connections between consumption, mass production and technology.

The long term goal is for the students to realize that perhaps technology has led us to a society obsessed with consumption, ultimately leading to the depletion of our natural resources but it is through technology that we will solve our global issues. With technology, we can monitor water-use in agricultural systems, innovate energy sources and reuse old materials.

It is not easy to plan sustainability lessons.

The scope of wicked problems is huge. Whittling down the information too much can lend itself to a shallow lesson. Facing the Future has sought to organize the curriculum in a teacher-friendly way. It is up to us teachers to construct a meaningful lesson that will stay with the students as they progress into adulthood.

We must produce students that are problem solvers and critical thinkers! It is not enough to give them words to memorize. We must take the students beyond the pages of the books and give them a beacon of hope for positive change in the dynamic future before us.

Comments

Briana Barrett:

I love your attitude & the goal you eventually set. Best of luck in your teaching!

I’ve adapted a K-4 FTF curriculum guide to situations they weren’t made for (e.g. preschool) and, for me, it’s just been fantastic to have the information and resources I MIGHT want to utilize all right there, already, preventing me from getting overwhelmed before I even begin to distill my lesson plans.

Thank you so much for this article — and of course I look forward to hearing students’ remarks and your own!

Feb 22, 2016

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