On November 6th, Eddie and Jack from Teach the Teacher visited UCL (University College London) and their world renowned Institute of Education. We were visiting to deliver a Teach the Teacher climate education workshop to a group of trainee secondary school citizenship teachers, as part of the citizenship department’s Resources Day. On this day every year, the students take part in sessions run by charities that engage young people in education and social action projects, including Diversity Role Models, First Give, and Send My Friend to School.
We were really excited to deliver a session at this event alongside these other brilliant organisations! Hans Svennevig, the subject leader for Citizenship PGCE at UCL, invited us to speak after seeing us earlier in the year at the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) Conference, where our team member Django did a great job representing the youth voice on climate education as part of the event’s opening panel. Django made such an impression that we were also invited to contribute an article to the ACT journal ‘Teaching Citizenship’.
It was amazing for us to have the opportunity to run our workshop and teach the students about climate education now, before they’ve become full-time teachers. Being able to give them the skills and knowledge at this key stage in their career means they don’t have to unlearn the way they teach, but will be able to go into their careers already with an understanding of the importance of climate education and how they can integrate it into their teaching. The students engaged with us throughout the session, not only answering our questions to them but also asking us lots of questions about climate change and the work they can do as teachers to address young people’s concerns about the climate crisis.
And that’s one of the best things about Teach the Teacher - it’s interactive! Young people get the opportunity to ask their teachers questions and to get questions asked back. It’s a rare opportunity to flip the dynamic of the classroom and to be the ones in the driver's seat. We believe that giving students this opportunity can be invaluable in boosting their confidence in climate action, and gives teachers a fresh perspective on a topic they may feel they already know enough about.
In preparing for and delivering this session we came to realise just how well Teach the Teacher fits with the ethos and curriculum of citizenship teaching. Citizenship teaches young people about their place in the world, and how they can be active members of their communities and the global community at large. And that’s something we’re aiming for with Teach the Teacher too - for students to realise they can be agents of change in their school and can make a difference to the lives of those around them and around the world.
If you are a citizenship teacher or student, do check out our free Teach the Teacher opportunity for your school or feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!