Author: Maria Gauci, Teacher of Maltese Language, Upper Secondary
School/Organization: St. Tereża College, Malta
I chose this learning scenario because it inspired me to implement concepts about the environment around the world especially in Malta. It aims to raise awareness of negative environmental changes in today’s world. This scenario focused on the creativity, reflective and argumentative skills of the students, which I think are essential for student communication and decision making (proposing actions which need to be taken primarily by the students themselves). The students will have the opportunity to discuss and debate about the topic in relation to Earth Day (22 April). I have also combined World book Day (23 April) in which students will find a book or a piece of writing related to the environment topic, read it and create a project or a piece of art out of it.
Environmental Changes Around Us (in State Upper Secondary School in Malta)
This scenario was implemented all in the classroom during Maltese lesson. The group was made up of 24 students at the age of about 13-14 years. The subjects Maltese Language and Literature as well as Art were combined. The students used Maltese as the main language for communication during the lesson, hence widening their speaking ability in their own native language. Besides that, the group work helped enhance their communication skills and their abilities in working within a group. They worked on developing further their decision-making skills and developing ideas for possible changes. It also provides students to understand cultural heritage and its changes throughout the years. Students analyzed various scenarios of Maltese environment and global changes (specifically related to buildings vs. environment) and discussed this topic with their peers.
Students were then able to relate the discussions whilst interpreting a poem (Annex) written by a well-known Maltese poet (which is part of the Maltese syllabus for this year group)
The lesson starts with a warm-up discussion of a picture showing two different scenarios: first one with nature and trees and the second with tall buildings.
With the help of various questions (eg. How does the picture make you feel? Do you think this has changed over the years?) a discussion follows. The learning intention is then shared, and topic is introduced.
Instead of looking at paintings, students were shown a series of photographs taken locally, each one having a statement, and the classroom is split into three sections with three posters: Agree, Disagree, Not Sure. Some students shared their comments and views about the statements.
Examples of statements used:
Our towns and cities end up having lots of tall buildings which leads to less air.
Many jobs are being created (for example: plasterer, builders, notaries, bank workers) and many are benefitting from these developments.
Development is beneficial for the economy.
Environmental damage/ degradation effects the quality of life of Maltese people.
The students watched a National Geographic video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4H1N_yXBiA) Causes and Effects of Climate Change (same video described in the scenario) and were asked to prepare a set of possible pros and cons of environmental changes. They had to think and write about how these issues effect Malta as a whole. Then, instead of creating posters and slogans (as per this scenario), students remained in groups and were given a Maltese poem (literature – also related to the same topic – attached here) to read and analyze. The poem was then discussed in the classroom with further detail, and students shared their thoughts. We also emphasized points about Malta and its changes (both culturally and environmentally).
Reading and Project – Homework
Students were taken to the library and with the guidance of their teacher they selected a book related to the topic (related to World Book Day). They were asked to read a story and in a group, they then create a project (drawing, making a model, using technology etc) which was then exhibited at school.
By the end of these sessions the students will have achieved the following:
- Analytic skills in thinking about cultural and environmental changes.
- Finding possible solution for change – Analyze needs for change.
- Communication skills with peers during group work and project work.
I found Teaching with Europeana (https://teachwitheuropeana.eun.org/ )very useful. Browsing through those resources to select one was not an easy task. There are so many I wish to implement in the classroom. They are very student-centered and interactive. Using various learning methods, they apply to all kind of learners and learning styles. This specific scenario I implemented was interactive for the students. They took part in various activities in which they participated actively. This scenario is different from the traditional style of teaching and students feel they are part of it. On the whole, I received very positive feedback from the students and will surely be implementing more in the coming lessons.
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Let’s Make Green Decisions created by Anita Lasić
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? You might also like:
- Connecting with the Environment Using our Senses (LS-MT-307) implemented by Ayrton Curmi
- Tree for the Mind (LS-HR-736) implemented by Sanja Zdralovic
- Climate Change – There is no plan(et) B (EN-CUR-690) implemented by Eleni Aliataki
Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.