Where Kids Discover a World of Eco-Fun and Environmental Awareness!
Interactive learning program for the development of sustainability competences and pro-environmental attitude and behavior
Guide for Trainers
It is widely accepted that climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. Relevant policy initiatives and actions target the need to create awareness of sustainable development among people around the world and to promote a healthy lifestyle in response to research evidence supporting the growing connection between environmental issues and individual human behaviour and attitude.
Yet, awareness-raising alone has proved insufficient as the value-action gap persists across the EU. It seems that Europeans, even though they think that climate change is a serious problem in their country which is impacting their lives, they display lower or little commitment to change certain behaviours and habits. These social patterns negatively affect the perspectives and habit formation of children, whose environmental attitude and behavior starts to stabilize and consolidates, according to research, between 10 to 14 years old.
Therefore, children’s pro-environmental attitude and behaviour need to be proactively addressed for them to become green change agents, adopting sustainable individual habits, preferences and lifestyles as early as possible. They need to be aware about environmental and climate change challenges and equipped with the necessary tools that enable sustainable individual preferences, consumption habits and lifestyles. Investing in children’s education regarding sustainability is viewed as a promising public investment, including their contribution to a sustainable development of societies.
In this respect, the VRGreen Adventure learning program aims to support children in engaging in pro–environmental behaviours and in achieving an environmentally friendly lifestyle by establishing an enhanced degree of motivation, willingness, autonomy, and commitment.
This teachers’ manual aims at providing the necessary information and step by step methodology for the effective implementation of the VRGreen Adventure learning program with the students. It is designed for teachers to inspire and guide their students in engaging in pro-environmental behaviours in the 7 thematic areas: recycling, waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, reuse-circular economy, green products consumption and sustainable transport. It includes an overview of the structure of the learning program and further activities and questions for reflection for further practice per thematic area.
Teachers are encouraged to adapt the activities to meet their students’ needs. They are also welcome to reproduce any part of this guide for distribution to students and other educators.
Structure of learning program
The VRGreen Adventure learning program includes interventions in 7 thematic areas that are linked to environmental issues:
- Water conservation
- Energy conservation
- Reusing – circular economy
- Waste reduction
- Green products consumption
- Sustainable transportation – mobility
For each thematic area, the scope is to organize an in-classroom workshop, that could last 1 or 2 school hours, divided in the 3 following sections:
- Video presentation
The teacher will present to the students the video that the consortium has created. The video includes an introduction to the topic, provides information about the current situation and suggests ideas and ways to engage in actions that promote pro-environmental behaviour. Each video is short, about 5 minutes and is used to trigger thoughts and to further enable dialogue with students.
- Discussion after video
After the presentation of the video, the teacher will engage students in an interactive conversation in the classroom about the topic, based on a set of predefined questions.
- Classroom activities
For each thematic area, there are proposed 1-2 activities to be implemented in classroom, in order to further engage students in sustainable behaviours in an interactive and playful way. Teachers can choose among the suggested activities the one that better fits their students’ needs, characteristics e.t.c.
After each activity, students will be encouraged to discuss their experience and to develop an individual plan with the actions they are willing to take.
Apart from the above-mentioned sections to better assist students in engaging and establishing the new behaviour, it is necessary to use daily (or every 2 days) reminders for 1 or 2 weeks after the workshops. Some flyers, notes, or brochures in a central place in the classroom could be used to remind students of their “duties” towards the environment protection. Short oral reminders, such as questions like “how your individual plans are going?”, “did you manage to recycle, reuse… yesterday?” etc. could also fit our purpose.
Finally, to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented program and how well students have worked towards the environment’s protection we should take some time to collect feedback on the program. After the implementation of the workshops, the students will be invited to discuss on their progress, what are the new behaviours they have established, what are the difficulties they have faced in their attempt to follow their personal plan and further proposals on how to keep acting pro-environmentally.