My Project for Social Justice in ELT: Environmental Education through Content-Based Instruction

Posted On 7/13/2019 7:05:00 PM, 0Comments

It has been a long journey since the introductory meetings held in November. We worked hard to come up with worthwhile projects and implement those ideas for months. For me, the process of contemplating a project started right after the meeting in my university. I thought of several topics revolving around different social justice issues. But I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I wanted to do until the first webinar, which focused on environmental education. After the webinar, I decided to concentrate on raising awareness on environmental problems in my project. One reason that I decided on environmental education is the fact that climate change is such an urgent and immediate crisis that affect each and every one of us in every way possible. But the generation who will suffer the most from the impacts of this climate crisis is the very students we are educating at the moment. They should become more aware of this issue and take action in order to have a better future. Moreover, teenagers and young people have been organizing school strikes for the past few months and demanding governments to take climate action to fight global warming and climate change. They already seek justice for themselves.

I realized that I can implement my project in a local high school in ─░zmit which already had policies regarding the environment, so I contacted the school to figure out whether they would allow me to carry out my project there. I got a positive response from the school authority. I was allowed to have one lesson a week with one of the 10th Grade classes. When I first started planning, I figured I would have 11 weeks (hence, 11 lessons) with this class and that I would design each week’s lesson to focus on a different aspect my chosen topic. However, exam weeks and health issues interrupted my project for a few weeks. I ended up having 7 weeks to carry out my project. The lessons followed a content-based approach since I could manage to adopt any topic I wanted to integrate into my teaching this way. The project consisted of two main stages, each stage lasting 3 weeks and focusing on one the two targets that I chose as the main topics of my project (The first week was an introductory lesson into the Global Goals and environmental education).

 I wanted to connect my lessons to the Global Goals. So, I settled on Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) as it felt convenient to adopt in order to discuss environmental issues. I narrowed down my scope to two out of the eleven targets of Goal 12, namely Target 12.2-Sustainable Management and Use of Natural Resources and Target 12.5-Substantially Reduce Waste Generation. The main reason why I decided on these two targets is that they complement each other in that the first one (12.2) focuses on how we generate & use resources and the second (12.5) focuses on what we do with these resources once we are done using them. I wanted the topics to come full circle at the end.

I tried to prepare my materials for my lessons as much as possible. But when I found some really good quality lesson plans or worksheets, I adapted these to use them in my class. I meticulously planned each week’s content to align with the general structure I planned for my project. Each lesson had content objectives, language objectives, and Social Justice Objectives. You can check the materials and lesson plans I used during my project in the Materials Booklet that I presented at the 1st Symposium on Social Justice in ELT which was held at Sinop University in May 2019.  Feel free to utilize the booklet in your teaching environment.

Materials Booklet.pdf (7.74 mb)

Reyyan Yoney

4th year student in English Language Teaching at Kocaeli University