Northwest Climate Change course

Northwest Climate Change course

i Nov 8th No Comments by

24-27 November 2016, Kroonpark Resort, Kroonstad

A course on Teaching Climate Change was conducted with Grade 7-9 Natural Science teachers at Kroonpark Resort, Free State Province. The course was  aimed at enhancing teachers’ abilities to teach climate change in the CAPS curriculum. Facilitators for the course were Shanu Misser, Caleb Mandikonza, Nyree Steenekamp from Water Wise, Zwakele Ngwenya who is the Ecoschools Coordinator for Free State and Minentle Baleni an EETDP course participant. The Department of Environmental Affairs was represented by Jennifer Sithole and Lethabo Magoro. The course was structured to have an initial four-day on-course phase, followed by a two-week practice-based implementation of lesson plans and a day that will bring the participants together again to reflect on their practice.

Highlights of proceedings
The Fundisa for Change program and partnerships were introduced on the first day of the course, the rest of the day was spent with teachers working on tasks that focused on developing teachers understanding of the notion of climate change. Teachers were   also given a task to establish curriculum links to the notion of Climate Change in the Natural Science CAPS document. Day 2 Kicked off with a recap of and strengthening of the knowledge on Climate Science and Climate Change through presentations and discussions. Different teaching methods were used to consolidate climate change knowledge. The My2050 Energy Pathways Calculator was used to both consolidate climate change knowledge and to illustrate a teaching and learning tool. Other teaching methods included games, puzzles as well as reading and writing activities. The teachers where given a take home task to review their own dominant teaching methods in relation to methods suggested in the Methods and Processes booklet. Rand Water brought in a number of outdoor based activities on sustainable practices around water and water use and understanding of greenhouse effect and its influence on the water cycle. Participants shared their individually developed lesson plans using a lesson plan analysis tool.  Teachers demonstrated the need for capacity to distinguish between levels of questions and structuring questions to change their order. It was also evident that teachers need assistance to produce their own tasks where questions mostly emerge from the text given. The afternoon of day 3, was devoted to teaching methods consolidation, active learning, assessment and write-up of the PoE assignment. The SDG’s were introduced and the critical role of Goal 4: Quality Education where introduced on day 4.


                                                     Participants take part in a Climate Change challenge

A key outcome of the course was that teachers took home an almost complete Portfolio of Evidence (PoE). Educators found the workshop extremely valuable with some of the comments from the evaluation form indicating a deep sense of commitment and value from the workshop. Some of the participants voiced their satisfaction with the course saying they are now more confident to teach about climate change. Another participant said sharing the information with colleagues will enable them to be agents of change.
Other comments from the participants were that the course was a very productive, informative and  knowledge-based  with a very good teaching and learning atmosphere. “It is a program I would recommend all educators to attend as learners can benefit from the knowledge they will get” , he said.
Another participant said the course challenged their creative thinking and made them aware of the earth they are living in thus equipping them to become drivers of positive change. “The information that I’ve acquired is more relevant to what I am doing at school and the curriculum right now, so I am going to use it” she said.
Some of the challenges with the course material, noted by the participants was that the material was limiting in its approach and that it did not adequately cover some of the aspects linked to climate change in the Natural Science Senior Phase. Some of the teachers wanted the course to have more practical activities, and there were some participants who felt that the course was too short.
By Patience Shawarira, Caleb Mandikonza, Shanu Misser

Howick Climate Change Course

i Oct 31st No Comments by

A  five-day teacher training course was held in Howick, Kwazulu Natal from the 5-9 September 2016. The course facilitated by WESSA, was attended by 20 teachers comprising of Grade 7-9 Natural Sciences teachers. Course participants were drawn from KZN schools involved in the Schools Environmental Education Programme (SEEP), a Department of Environmental Affairs driven programme with schools. The course was co-facilitated by Shanu Misser and Caleb Mandikonza, with support from Jim Taylor, The Umngeni Valley Education Team and Ntokozo Ngubo.

Highlights from the course

A presentation on the Fundisa for Change programme and partnerships was made and the issues of the nature of knowledge and climate change knowledge were developed using core text. Another key outcome of the day was the establishment of direct and indirect curriculum links of Climate Change in the Natural Science CAPS document by the teachers.

A consolidation of the notion of climate change through sharing of earth systems and the greenhouse effect was made. The course saw the introduction of the paper and electronic versions of the My2050 Energy Pathways Calculator. A discussion on methods was facilitated by working on active teaching and learning, as well as by the methods and processes resources. Participants also got a chance to work on their Portfolio of Evidence tasks.


Participants work on their tasks during the climate change training course

Participants explored cognitive requirements of assessment using Bloom’s Taxonomy before designing their own assessment tasks, which is part of the assessment requirements for the CAPS. Most of the times, teachers struggle with questioning. It is through questioning that some of the climate change knowledge, affective faculties and action dispositions of learners can be assessed. A presentation on local and provincial responses and understandings of climate change was made by Ntokozo, who works on climate change issues in the KZN province. The teachers were given an on-course task to work in groups to produce lesson plans that they could use as part of their last Portfolio of Evidence question.

A review and evaluation of the workshop was made on the last day of the training. Teachers presented lesson plans that they prepared with emphasis on the portfolio of evidence. A six-week window was suggested for submission of PoEs.



Some of the participants who attended the course


Participants at the climate change training course 


Northwest Climate Change course

i Oct 31st No Comments by

A five-day short course on Teaching Climate Change was held with Grade 7-9 Natural Sciences teachers in Vryburg, Northwest Province from 15-19 August 2016. The course which was aimed at enhancing teachers’ abilities to teach climate change in the CAPS, was attended by twenty-one GET Natural Science and Technology teachers from around Vryburg. The five-day course was facilitated by Lebona Nkhahle and Caleb Mandikonza.

Key highlights from the course

A presentation of Fundisa for Change and the partnerships that enabled the course to happen was made. This was done to build ownership of the course among members of this course who mainly came from the DBE. Teachers were given on-course tasks that focused on developing teachers understanding of the notion of Climate Change in the Natural Science CAPS document.

Participants were exposed to different teaching methods they can use in their work practices.  A discussion on a variety of teaching methods was facilitated using the Methods booklet and paper and the electronic versions of the My2050 Energy Pathways Calculator. As part of the on-course task participants had a chance to work on their Portfolio of Evidence.

The teachers were also taught how to effectively assess their students. Assessment methods were discussed in relation to the teaching methods highlighted earlier. Bloom’s Taxonomy guided facilitation on tasks that teachers can give to their learners in order to foreground critical thinking and transformative learning.

The five-day training course also comprised of outdoor activities where course participants worked in three groups on excursion tasks focussing on land use and waste management. Following the excursion, the teachers were given an assignment to prepare lesson plans. This activity was preparation for their “work from home” task of planning and conducting a lesson on climate change related curriculum content. This home-based task was Question 9 of their PoE tasks, so the teachers had the option of using the lesson plan they developed, adapting a lesson plan developed by colleagues or designing a totally new lesson plan.


Participants work on a group assignment during the course.

The last day of the course saw participants presenting the lesson plans designed in the previous day’s activity to their colleagues. Participants evaluated the course before the Subject Advisor for Natural Science, Mrs Metsi closed the course, while emphasising the importance of capacity building to the teachers themselves and to the learners who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the capacity, “a 6-week period was set for implementing the final task and submission of the PoE for marking.”


Some of the teachers who attended the teaching climate change course