One of the programs developed by LCEJ focuses on the Eco-training of school teachers. We have programs for preschool teachers, and for primary, junior secondary, senior secondary teachers. We have opted for a full-day session, and we adapt the content of the sessions to the specialty of the teachers. We have a curriculum for preschool teachers, for those teaching in the primary and those teaching in the secondary.

 

The one-day session is an intensive program with three 45-minute lectures in the morning and three 45-minute practical reflections and activities in the afternoon.  A tea break and a lunch break give us also the possibility to talk in a more relaxed atmosphere. For example, the first three lectures are on climate change (and global warming), plastic waste and Political Ecology.

 

In the afternoon, after a good lunch break, the reflections can focus on the possibilities of reducing plastic waste in homes and at school. The activities can aim at developing practical skills such as making your own all-surface cleaner using lemon, vinegar and a few more ingredients. We can also reflect on how we could do shopping without using plastic bags. All sessions end with developing games or activities which could be used at school to develop a greater awareness among students about the dangers of single-use plastic and the problems related to plastic waste.

 

Our presentations are usually given in English with PowerPoint presentations in English and Tamil. Furthermore, a translator and facilitator is always present to make sure that our studies and reflections are done as a group so no one would feel excluded.

 

During our first session for preschool teachers (because of COVID-19 we invite only small groups at a time), I was not sure if the format would be accepted well by the teachers. I felt relieved when a senior teacher, during a tea break, confessed that she had come to this session forced by the principal of her school and that she was not happy to waste an entire day listening to boring talks about ecology. But after coming and participating in the lectures and activities, she was feeling happy to have come here, and she was highly motivated to promote new activities at school to reduce the usage of plastic. Not only had she been exposed to all kinds of facts she was not aware of, but she realized that there are plenty of things she could do in her school to protect the environment. She even asked me if I could come one day to her school to give a session about ecology & justice to the parents of their pupils.

 

For the LCEJ staff and for the Director, those sessions require hours of preparation and a well-organized program if we want to affect the teachers in a way that promotes a more Eco-friendly school. It is also a very rewarding program because at the end of the day, teachers have been transformed and understand better the role they can play. If school children do not start to change their attitude concerning the usage of plastic and toxic waste, the effects of climate change and pollution will affect a good part of the population, especially those with low incomes, in a life-threatening way.


The Centre hopes that its little contribution will affect education at school in the District of Trincomalee and generate a change of lifestyle that promotes Zero Plastic Waste Zones and Zero Toxic Waste Zones

 

©2020 by Loyola Centre for Ecology & Justice.