Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) hosts climate crisis conference for teachers

On Thursday 7 January 2020, The University of Manchester's Institute of Education (MIE) hosted the online PGCE Generation Readied by Environmental Education Now (GREEN) Conference, designed to open up discussions on how schools and colleges can take environmental action and enable teachers to develop educational responses to the climate crisis.

Bringing together current and trainee teachers, Initial Teacher Education (ITE) educators, and representatives from environmental organisations in Greater Manchester such as Manchester Environmental Education Network, the day began with a keynote speech from Kevin Anderson, one of the UK’s leading climate change scientists and Professor of Energy and Climate Change at The University of Manchester.

Afterwards, delegates were invited to join a series of workshops designed to empower them with the skills to introduce environmental education into their teaching and provide ideas on reducing the carbon footprint and enhancing nature in their school, college or organisation.

The conference was a collaboration between PGCE trainees, alumni and staff from MIE and Teach the Future; a campaign led by school students working to ensure that education and action on climate emergency and ecological crisis are a key part of the education system.

The idea to run a conference initially developed from a group of MIE trainee teachers whose pupils were demanding a curriculum which acknowledges the unprecedented challenge of the climate crisis and provides opportunities for engagement, activism and action.

Dr Andrew Howes, Director of PGCE in MIE, said: “This conference was a significant step for initial teacher education at the University of Manchester.

"It represents a powerful challenge by young people to accepted thinking and practice in schools and in teacher education.

"So we are following the lead of trainee teachers and young people in pushing for a curriculum fit for the challenge of the climate crisis, and teacher education programmes which enable new teachers, mentors, and partners in schools to develop forward-looking educational responses to the climate and environmental crisis.”

The MIE and Teach the Future are continuing to work together with teachers and trainees, and with local and regional organisations, to promote actions and learning in schools focused on reducing carbon and increasing attention to the natural world.

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