Forum 5.1

This forum is a place for you to share your takeaways and learnings from week 5 – Environmental Sustainability.

In the comment section of this page, please respond to following three questions:

  1. What is one takeaway or learning you had from the phone conversation with your learning partner this week? It can be something your partner shared with you or your own idea that the conversation helped you flesh out.
  2. What was your experience like with this week’s daily peace action? Is this is action that you could see incorporating into your personal life, your teaching, or with your students? If so, how?
  3. What is one quote from any of the readings or videos that you find particularly relevant or motivational for your teaching and education work?

14 thoughts on “Forum 5.1

  1. I spoke with Courtney this week. One question that Courtney posed about the principles of the Earth Charter is that, considering that some of the principles are more sensitive to people’s life styles, should we be having conversations with parents prior to teaching certain principles? For example, lessons on the principle “treat all living beings with respect and consideration”, might seem disrespectful because it is difficult for some families because meat from humanly treated animals is more expensive than meat from others. Lessons on the principle “promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace”, might be seen by military-parents as disrespectful. It was an interesting point that I had not considered about teaching the Earth Charter.

    I found the daily peace action challenging this week. Since this class began, I have been taking more time to appreciate peace and beauty in my environment and experiences. For example, I realized that the walk back to my apartment after using the gym in the morning was full of beauty! I felt good about myself and admired the plants, people, weather, animals, and buildings I saw. It became a beautiful part of my day that I greatly enjoyed. But the assignment to take a picture of something beautiful stumped me. How could I take a picture of this beauty when it was more of a beautiful experience and feeling instead of an object? This week, I think I became too concerned with the picture and I also felt more forced to see beauty instead of naturally finding and appreciating it.

    The quote that I found most relevant to my teaching is:
    “the peace principle in the Earth Charter is the concluding principle because implementation of all of the preceding principles is a prerequisite for achieving peace. The Earth Charter constitutes a map of the interrelated issues involved in promoting nonviolence and peace.”
    I find this quote relevant because it provides me with another framework for helping my students achieve peace. Peace will not be reached if students have not learned about and accepted the other themes of the Earth Charter because they build on each other. I can use the themes of the Earth Charter as a guide for what to teach and when to teach it.

  2. 1) My partner was Shawanda and because I was away from email and not checking my cell phone this weekend, we just connected this eve. I was impressed with all the ways her charter school tries to help kids to be healthy. They have a yoga program. They had a program in which teachers were encouraged to lead exercises with the students every 30 minutes to take a break. Shawanda also participated and did well in a program for teachers to trim down. Last school year at Wilson, a local group, called Health Corps or something like that funded a full-time person in our school to lead health and wellness programs. For example, we teachers had a competition to take as many steps as possible in a day. The group had to withdraw because the contract ran out or something. I miss that program. My takeaway from our conversation is that schools can send important messages to teachers and students that their health is valued.
    2) We liked the daily peace action of savoring beauty. Shawanda noticed some flowers by a bench at her daughter’s daycare that she hadn’t paid much attention to before. I cleaned the windows to my balcony so I could see the trees better and I admired their beauty.
    3) What made the biggest impression on me this week was the carbon footprint exercise. Particularly the aspects of what food I buy really hit home with me. I thought that the carbon footprint exercise was something concrete I could do with students. The Earth Charter seemed a little hard to grasp. Here was a quote from the Story of Stuff that struck me: “Knowing the story behind the things we buy, use, and toss can help us to consume in ways that improve our lives and the lives of others.” I’ve been focused on some aspects of protecting the environment, but not others. The Story of Stuff and carbon footprint exercise opened my eyes up to some areas I hadn’t been thinking much about.

  3. Unfortunately I was unable to connect with my partner this week. I hope she is well and enjoying these last weeks of summer.

    This was a great peace action. I thoroughly enjoyed the act of savoring, however, I encountered a number of difficulties in sharing the experiences. On the first day I savored the scent of a cheese in the supermarket’s cheese section. Can I tell you it was yummy and I think I piqued the interest of a few fellow customers by the way I was wandering back and forth, sniffing various packages trying to identify the one which caught my senses. The next day, I realized I had no way to download pictures from my phone so I found pictures of sights I have savored that were downloaded in the past year and successfully sent those in. Then on Wednesday I took myself for my favorite lunch at Crisfield’s (a little seafood restaurant in Silver Spring,Md) as birthday present to myself. I savored the fried shrimp dinner I purchased, stopping only to take a few pictures forgetting that I couldn’t send them. Sooo on Thursday, I went up to my school and was able to download the pictures but just looked in my sent file and do not see that I sent them. (Daryn I will figure this out I know they are in my dropbox.)

    Sooo…This was a great experience savoring but for me (lol, the “equipmentless” media specialist) this was the most frustrating by far. Actually I can’t imagine an application for this within my program but that could be because I may have a “mental block”.

    My favorite quote this week was: “Peace education should be made mandatory for all students and universities should start a course on peace education without further delay”. – Former Supreme Court Judge of Sri Lanka and former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice C. G. Weeramantry.

    (Citation: “News: Make Peace Education Mandatory.” Global Campaign for Peace Education Newsletter: July 2013. Global Campaign For Peace Education, July 2013. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. )

  4. 1. My partner was Mary Ann, one take away was, In the I and we situation from Vanessa Kings’ intro video for this week they talked about the “I” in illness and the “We” in wellness it was great to hear the difference in I and We. Some ways that my school experience both illness and wellness in the broadest sense of these words are by introducing healthy choices and options in the school. We can also discuss how certain foods can causes illnesses if we eat too many of these particular items. In our school they do not offer pork or red meat. Our Executive director only offers the students healthy snacks.

    2. What was your experience like with this week’s daily peace action? Is this is action that you could see incorporating into your personal life, your teaching, or with your students? If so, how? This week’s action plan week was very peaceful. I truly enjoyed going out finding objects on earth that I considered to be peaceful. I valued the quality time with earth and the relationship that was gained. I will use this activity in my class at least once a week. This will allow my students to value items that were created by man or items that are made from nature. We will write about how the picture made you feel and how this feeling could be duplicated.
    3. What is one quote from any of the readings or videos that you find particularly relevant or motivational for your teaching and education work? One quote from the reading was very motivational for my teaching abilities and strategies is “Earth has enough for our needs but not enough for our greed”, by Gandhi. With this quote it will help in the class with the framework of knowing that what we have in the classroom is sufficient enough to reach students and mastery of each subject presented if we only focus on what we have for learning and not all the wonderful things that a teacher think students need to be successful. We just have to reach students with what we have in our classrooms, books, computers, and mind.

  5. The principle of the Earth’s Charter that resonated with me is “Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful.” If this charter is adopted and fully operational on a global level it would be like “heaven on Earth.” All humans, animals and nature as a whole would benefit from this charter. If the human needs are satisfied then people would be more contented and will be able to focus on other Earth issues that would make the livelihood of all more secure and meaningful.
    I did not take many pictures but there were many things in nature that drew my attention this week. I was actively engaged in Vacation Bible School this week and the children were giving the opportunity to pet a variety of animals that came from a petting zoo. Most of the students were curious, and fascinated by the animals that included chickens, ducklings, turtle, sheep, goat, pony etc. What caught my attention however was the positive reaction that a 3 year old boy had with the goat. He cried when his mother had to leave. This really affirm my belief that animals and humans can really co-exist and make long-lasting connections on this Earth.
    One quote that I found motivational was taken from The Earth Charter which says, “The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.” When we all demonstrate the level of respect for all then this Earth will be a better place for all that occupy this space.

  6. 1. Cassandra was my learning partner this week and I must say I really enjoyed our dialog. One thing on note that was my biggest takeaway was the benefits of and ways in which other schools implement the we in wellness. Cassandra talked about a program where teachers on all grade levels supported students and each other by remediating students not by grade level but by pairing those who struggled a particular skill or concept in spite of grade level. This seemed to be a great way to cultivate community and to bring all the stakeholders together with a common goal in mind.

    2.This weeks peace action was a modified version of something I have been conditioning myself to do for about the past year. It was a way for me to mitigate feelings of disconnection and homesickness. The new element of taking photos was a bit of a stretch for me but it did provide by weeks end a set of tools to refer to for a pick me up.

    3. The quote that I found most thought provoking and the one that kind of helped me to frame this weeks learning was as follows… ” Attempts to deal with problems in isolation will, at best, have only limited success. An inclusive, well-coordinated, long-term strategy is part of the meaning of living and acting sustainably.”
    This quote is to me one part presentation of the problem and one part the beginnings of an answer. It gives the basis for how we can frame the dialog and how we should approach helping students understand and focus on being at peace with the world around them.

  7. The most relevant activity was carbon footprint exercise. We need to close the gap in the amount of unnecessary things that we do for convenience. Ultimately we are destroying the earth in which we live in. We need to make positive choices and lifestyle changes for the better. Men lie, women, results don’t.

  8. 1. Daryn and I talked about how so many of the Earth Charter principles resonated with us! It’s difficult to imagine how these principles would truly be enacted, but the key, of course, is through education (in my opinion)! We also discussed how much we enjoy the idea of the peace action — finding beauty in little things/moments in life and that we both use Instagram to capture these things. I’d love to follow other folks in this class on Instagram if you all are on it? You can find me at this username: cadyvoge

    2. I loved the daily peace action this week. I love taking pictures and I would love to try to take one picture every single day of something I find beautiful. I would love to take a picture every day and then look back at the whole year. We do a similar project for our students during training where they all do a “training through my eyes” project and they can take pictures or videos throughout the weeklong training. However, we have never specifically mentioned that they should be appreciating the beauty and take a moment to appreciate everything around them — that is a great addition!

    3. I loved Principle #14:
    “14. Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills
    needed for a sustainable way of life.
    a. Provide all, especially children and youth, with educational opportunities that empower them to contribute
    actively to sustainable development.
    b. Promote the contribution of the arts and humanities as well as the sciences in sustainability education.
    c. Enhance the role of the mass media in raising awareness of ecological and social challenges.
    d. Recognize the importance of moral and spiritual education for sustainable living”

    The principle represents so much of what we do at OWYP. It is so hard to get peace education and education about sustainability into formal education, but it is so important! I appreciate that there is a full principle just about this and it gives me hope that there is huge group of people behind the Earth Charter who are also working on this effort. I would love to have our university student facilitators read the Earth Charter as part of their training to learn about the field and what else is out there.

  9. 1) I had a wonderful conversation with Jerron. Both of us agreed that the daily peace actions that this class offers are useful for not just for educational purposes but they can extend into applications for a better life. One takeaway from my conversation with Jerron was the positive impact that sports or extracurricular activities can have on students. Both Jerron and I agree that it is important to balance the importance of doing well in athletics, however, knowing that academics are also extremely important because most athletes will not make a living playing professional sports. As a future teacher, I also want to coach cross country and track and field. I have realized I need to strike a balance between pushing my student athletes to do well in athletics but also realizing that academics are just as important.

    2) I really liked this week’s daily peace action for the sole purpose of it allowed me to realize that my problems might not be all that big. It allowed me to realize that there is plenty that world has to offer in terms of beauty and all we need to do is stop and take it in. It also made we realize and be open to the possibility that beauty is all around us. That beauty doesn’t have to be that perfect sunset or sunrise. But immense beauty can be found in extremely simple things. Thinking back in my educational journey I remember a similar activity being used in high school religion classes. In my future history classes I can see a similar activity being used as I could have students take pictures of the changing historical landscape around them. The activity would have a little different focus, but I could see something like this working in my classroom.

    3)I really liked the carbon footprint exercise this week. I thought it was extremely powerful to understand the results of the lifestyle choices that we make. I really would like to find a way to incorporate this into my future classes. I think I could incorporate this into a history class when I talk about the industrial revolution. I feel that could also integrate this in a geography class would be good to have as well because it focuses on the impact that we as humans have on the globe.

  10. My conversation with Alex was great. I thought I was feeling this way by myself, but she was also in agreement. This weeks theme was somewhat hard for me to relate to and try to input the substance in my class. Being that my my population of students are surrounded by “carry outs”, and other not so healthy choices it would be hard to do some of the things asked to do. We don’t have the organic stores in our community nor fresh markets. The footprint activity was good, but I don’t think our students will fully grasp the importance of it.
    Being that I am on vacation I was snapping away taking pictures of the water, sand people playing in the water. This to me seems like a step in the direction of some type of peace. Not having the same everyday worries at home as I do here, priceless

  11. All of the Daily Peace Actions are great, this particular one is something I would incorporate because it makes us value the beautiful things that surrounds us. Fortunately for me I was able to go to the hall of fame inductees ceremony and bring some of my players and everyone is take pictures of the beautiful things that god has create. Some of my guys never experience seeing a cornfield or an actual farm. This is a good daily peace action.

  12. One think that I took away from my conversation with Alex is that we look at life and sometimes have to reflect on what is peace. This course is very viable. Alex explained to me that he is getting his masters at AU in secondary education and leaving a job in radio that required so many hours of work and an unfair balance for his own personal life. Moving into education allows him to make an impact on the youth but also allows him to have personal peace. He asked me how do I find a balance with coaching and teaching? I told him it’s simply, I don’t have a wife or kids yet, so I could devote my time to the youth. I love football as well and I find peace with the sport. It was very easy speaking with Alex, it seemed as if I known him for years.

  13. 1. One takeaway I had from my conversation with Tina is that we really struggled with the Earth Charter reading, and thought our students would certainly as well. As valuable and clearly applicable as a great deal of the readings have been so far, we both anticipated our students having difficulty connecting to this particular dimension of peace education. I see the value of educating students about their carbon footprint, but as I remarked to Tina, many of our students struggle with healthy choices for themselves let alone healthy choices for the planet, that’s a lot of responsibility for them, and even for me it seems daunting and unachievable.

    2. I enjoyed the experience of taking photographs and reflecting on beautiful things in the world around me. Also the idea of keeping a daily photo journal seems like a great practice for someone who is interested in becoming more observant, or as a reflective exercise.

    3. From Martin Lees’ The Earth Charter as a Guide to Building a Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development. “To achieve a culture of peace, we must explicitly strengthen international solidarity, trust, and cooperation.” I’d like to see what I can do within the microcosm of my classroom to create the environment of solidarity, trust and cooperation that can hopefully carry over into these students future lives.

  14. Pingback: Week 5 – Environmental Sustainability (Summer 2013) | Peace Learner

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