The project’s primary aim was to develop the competences of educators on the meaningful design, implementation, and evaluation of educational interventions that are based on the principles of Education for Sustainable Development, with educators being given face-to-face training in Greece in 2018. Prior to the group’s departure for Greece, all participants were given the opportunity to share their expectations through the use of the padlet app (https://padlet.com/ialampei/9yugwpozvl72). Educators were exposed to new technologies, which proved to be especially useful during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic (although this was not a predicted outcome at the time of the project’s implementation). The project provided the opportunity to encourage all educators in the use of a cross-curricular approach in tandem with Malta’s education reform. In this context, the project proved to be particularly beneficial given that its theme was a common factor that brought together various teaching and learning techniques catering to each and every learner at the educational institution.
Fourteen participants from 5 schools participated in this project: 1. Graziella Vassallo Theuma, 38, Assistant Head of School and member of the Eco School Team, a qualified teacher of English with a Masters Degree in Adult Education; 2. Dorita Balzan, 38, a Nurture Class Teacher and member of the Eco School Team, a qualified primary teacher with a specialisation in SEBD cases; 3. Althea Schembri Cutajar, 35, a Nurture Class Learning Support Educator, a member of the Eco School Team, and a qualified learning support educator with a specialisation in SEBD cases; 4. Lorna Schembri, 44, School Head, member of the Eco School Team, and a primary teacher with a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership; Melvin Tonna, 30, primary teacher and member of the Eco School Team; Matthew Mallia, 32, a Learning Support Educator and member of the Eco School Team; Stefan Azzopardi, 39, Assistant School Head, member of the Eco School Team, and a primary teacher with a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership; Anthony Falzon, 43, Assistant School Head, member of the Eco School Team, and a primary teacher with a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership; Mary Grace Bailey, 60, Assistant School Head and member of the Eco School Team; Mandy Dalli, 32, primary classroom teacher and member of the Eco School Team; Rita Caruana, 50, a Learning Support Educator and member of the Eco School Team; Maria Falzon, 48, a Learning Support Educator and member of the Eco School Team; Jessica Camilleri, 28, a Geography teacher, member of the Eco School Team, and currently studying a Masters degree in Education for Sustainable Development; and, Ann Marie Vassallo, 32, an Integrated Science teacher, member of the Eco School Team and currently studying a Masters Degree in Education for Sustainable Development.
Sustainable Development was represented as one of the cross-curricular themes within the National Curriculum Framework (2012). As such, training teachers in this field helps in the promotion of ESD principles across all school subjects making the cross-curricular approach more relevant and easier to implement given the particular focus on ESD. Also, trained educators were link teachers for the EkoSkola committee of their respective schools, thus placing ESD at the forefront of a whole school approach that advocates for participatory learning and the active engagement of various stakeholders (parents, local community through the local council, students, other educators) towards a more sustainable school. During the training itself, educators created a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating how knowledge, skills, and attitudes were to be disseminated across all stakeholders. The Eco School team (made up of link persons as well as students from of all years) aimed to delve deeper and take stock of the school’s level of SDG. For this purpose, students used their learning pads (digital literacy, literacy, and mathematics) to conduct interviews with fellow students, parents, and the local community. Students presented their findings in a PowerPoint presentation that was used to create awareness on SDG among other educators and stakeholders, in conjunction with other activities such as the inauguration of water tanks as well as a Celebration Day play that focused on marine litter. This was linked perfectly to the school’s action plan with regard to a cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning that enhanced the ‘We Are All Learners’ mentality whilst using technology to personalise the school’s curriculum. The project itself supported the enhancement of 21st century skills among students, ensuring that every student was included regardless of their age, socio-economic backgrounds, and ability. The trained educators disseminated their newfound knowledge, skills, and attitudes with their colleagues in order to foster enthusiasm for SDG, with students having used their writing techniques (literacy) to compose a poem that was then produced as a song in a professional studio.
As discussed in Methodologies, the project itself, having a very focused and relevant theme, was used as a vehicle to enable educators to implement a cross-curricular approach that moved away from the compartmentalisation of subjects.
Acquired knowledge was shared during the Professional Development Session, with a PowerPoint presentation shared among all members of staff that aided the development of a shared goal not only amongst participants who attended the actual training in Greece, but which also helped foster a whole school approach with regard to marine litter and water conservation amongst educators. The clean up that was conducted in Greece allowed all participants to become more knowledgeable with regard to beach selection as well as safety factors, which were adapted to the needs of particular schools as well as the environment. This made students, parents, educators, local councillors, and Members of Parliament more aware of how littered land and sea areas actually are: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/senglea-pupils-action-and-advice-to-keep-beaches-clean.719776. The project resulted in the installation of water tanks in two schools (Senglea Primary School and Vittoriosa Primary School) with funding provided by HSBC, as both schools, prior to the training exercise in Greece, did not have any water conservation initiatives. The workshop by Shedia-art that was conducted in Greece was replicated by participants in two schools through Crib Competition and Carnival Floats and Halloween Crafts, Christmas Concert, Carnival costumes, and floats as well as Celebration Day costumes and props for the recital: Act Now on Marine Litter. The importance of reducing and reusing were emphasised during the training in Greece, which was implemented through the B.O.B campaign where students were encouraged to make use of reusable cloth bags instead of plastic ones; also, a competition was launched to encourage students to decorate their bag. This was followed by a fundraising activity for the adoption of turtles at a nature trust. The importance of recycling was also emphasised during the training in Greece, with an electronics recycling workshop having taken place in conjunction with a science lesson towards making this approach a cross-curricular one. Furthermore, a hands-on workshop on musical synthesis using marine litter as instruments was adapted by Mr J. Marugg to meet a participating school’s needs. A student class was also involved in the composition of a poem together with eco-school teachers, which was then arranged into a song in a workshop with a Maltese rapper. Posters against marine litter were also created by both Senglea Primary School and B'Bugia Primary School towards encouraging other students to learn about marine litter and to educate the general public.
Participants successfully implemented a number of activities at their respective schools following the training course in Greece, with participants having found such activities to have been immensely successful given the response received from students, parents, staff members and the wider community. Participants embarked on a meaningful path towards minimising the environmental footprints of their respective schools, with students showing a renewed sense of responsibility and ownership at school. Parent participation has also increased dramatically and they are now more aware of such activities when implemented at the school level. During the Celebration Day recital, a booklet was printed and presented to all guests including to parents, members from the Local Council as well as H.E. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca. Indeed, children have come up with ideas and changes that have led to a more sustainable, less costly, and more sensitive approach to the environment. Participants have managed to sensitise themselves and cultivate a more sustainable mindset that has since become second nature to all stakeholders – which was particularly evident in students' drive to make a difference and their proactive behaviour to effect change in themselves, among their peers, and their parents. This progress was further sustained by schools that either retained the Green Flag, or which had been awarded the Green Flag for the first time.
- Project locations
- Project category
- Primary education
- Project year
St Benedict College Birzebbuga Primary School
St Margaret College Vittoriosa Primary School
St. Theresa College Middle School
SGPC Paola Primary A