The new PACE Educators Guide shows teachers how conservation education can both make their job easier and enhance student learning. Conservation and environmental education can make the learning process, whether in early childhood, primary or secondary, in science, arts, social studies or project work more meaningful and improve outcomes. PACE (Pan African Conservation Education) thereby supports core teaching and learning while simultaneously building conservation values – win : win for schools, learners and conservation.
Appreciating this, the Kariba District Schools Inspector, Dzveta Jason (north west Zimbabwe) has teamed up with the local PACE team to pass our resources, message and techniques on to his teachers and schools. The DSI is ambitious, he wants his teachers to engage learners in transformative learning, he expects students in his schools to excel in exams but also to leave school equipped with skills that will help them cope with the ever changing environment they live in. He’s chosen and endorses PACE as a resource to support this.
To this end earlier this year the DSI introduced PACE to his teachers and school heads at a routine district seminar. One ward was selected as a pilot and September 19th twenty teachers from six schools in the Mola ward came together to get to know the resource materials properly and build their skills for using them, both in and out of classrooms. PACE trainers Charles and Palloma facilitated. They explored the PACE pack – Reader, DVD, Action sheets and Educator’s guide and used different teaching and learning methods, including games.
“The teachers seemed impressed by the Educators guide and how it shows that the conservation message can be integrated into different disciplines. It was also interesting to see how involved the teachers were in the games and role play sessions we had. In their own words, these activities engaged them in the learning process and reminded them how it was important to include various teaching techniques on their classrooms.”
“The DSI gave more valuable comments, including encouraging use of the materials at home, and shared how he has benefited from the Conservation Agriculture Action Sheet. The Action sheets not only provide information but practical skills that can be employed in our existing ways of living.”
Each teacher received a copy of Africa Our Home, the Educators Guide, CD and DVD, and copies of Action sheets on different topics. Additional to this each school received classroom sets of the book and posters. Teachers were advised to integrate PACE resources in the different subjects they teach, to reinforce to learners the cross-cutting nature and relevance of knowledge and skills. They were encouraged to consider running school Environment, Conservation or Wildlife clubs as these bring together the educators and learners with shared interests. Charles’ tree nursery (below) has already provided seedlings to these schools, we hope he will soon be working with teachers and students to create their own school nurseries in some new school clubs.
One of the follow-up activities that will be organised by Palloma and Charles is a Quiz Competition. It will be based on both the school curriculum and the PACE resources in order to show how they complement each other. Quizzes like this were popular and successful with schools in Sebakwe (below). The prizes for Mola schools however will include a game drive or boat cruise that will allow the leaners to closely (and safely) observe the wildlife in the region and interact closely with nature.
Closing comments included –
‘This was certainly a worthy training’ and ‘We left the teachers energized.’
Congratulations to Carbon Green Africa, Sebakwe Conservation & Education Centre, African Conservancies and to DSI Dzveta whose ‘passion to make this happen’ was noted by participants!