Teacher: Ding Qiuyue, Ma Cun School, Shilou County, Shanxi Province

With the development of China’s economy, conflicts among enormous population and limited resources, as well as production expansion, environmental pollution and waste of resources have become increasingly obvious. As the economy continues to grow and the population continues to increase, the issue of shortage of water, energy and mineral resources is getting more serious. The contradiction between ecological environment destruction and protection is also becoming more fierce. In light of the future of China’s economy and society, how long can those natural resources and the ecological environment that people rely on last? I, as a Geography teacher, often think of this issue.

In the context of this growing environmental and resource problem, based on Zigen’s idea of “sustainable development”, our school attaches great importance to the development of students’ environmental education. The school regularly organizes environmental protection activities based on academic situations and problems in the surrounding environment. In November, 2018, with ample discussions and preparations, and within the framework of environmental protection education, I gathered 22 eighth-grade students and delved into village daily lives. I wanted to stimulate the students’ initiatives, improve their organizational and advocacy abilities, while also promote the study of “China’s natural resources” in the Geography classes. We wanted to discover and solve problems by conducting in-depth research of the farm families around the school campus and publicizing the protection of natural resources. The aim of the campaign was to “Protect natural resources, reduce environmental pollution, and resist excessive consumption”. Starting with daily life, each individual should reject behaviors that waste resources and pollute environment. When we cultivate students as seeds of change, they will take roots and grow over time, developing their potentials to propagate movements and become a positive energy in the effort to conserve natural resources.  

Students carried out interviews with local residents surrounding the campus regarding their waste disposal and water usage

The activity was divided in to 4 stages:

  1. In-Class Discussion, Independent Plan Design

To make the field survey and activities more organized and proceed more smoothly, I instructed the students to discuss the plan in detail during the Geography and self-study classes – from personnel allocation, route planning, interviewee identification, interview questionnaire, to publicity content, etc. After grouping, we chose the team leaders, vice team leaders, reporters and clerks. Then, we decided on the team focus. The first team focused on grassland protection; the second team on water conservation, and the third team on cherishing water resources. The final step is for the students to draft a promotion plan. Although the basic elements of the discussions were highlighted, the discussions took four or five class periods. Objective factors such as our remote location, economic backwardness, and information isolation resulted in subjective viewpoints that contributed to the inefficient use of time and the lack of breadth, depth, and objectivity in the prepared material.

  • Promoting the Plan in the Village

On 22nd of November, based on the prepared plan (activity foci, goals, contents, scope, methodology, slogans, records, interpretations, and reviews), the students grouped into three teams and conducted interviews of mainly the elders, middle-aged villagers, animal farmers and produce store owners. They interviewed about land use, waste disposal and classification, water sanitation and usage. During the interview, some students serving as translators for villagers who do not understand Mandarin. The main problem stemmed from the aforementioned insufficient preparation, causing lack of objective data and in-depth questions. For example,

Q: How do you manage used batteries?

A: Throw away.

Then, an unrelated question followed. There was no feedback to share related knowledge about batteries disposal to the respondents. This led to absence of constructive and convincing feedback to a specific environmental issue.   

  • Return Visit

Based on the previous plan and the interviewing results, the students made slight revisions and created a new plan. Since the interviewee’s awareness of resource conservation was extremely poor, the students focused on universal education and gave constructive advice to those who had not changed their awareness at all. Take multi-use of water for example, the students provided further advice to the targeted group. And for those who had made changes, the students encouraged them to actively promote the idea of natural resources protection to others. One month later, on 25th of December, the students went back to the previous interviewing area, and found really impressive results. Several households had no increased garbage generation, nor water consumption. Though the changes were minor, it was a great encouragement to the students. The students made significant progress in their levels of thinking, communications, and collaboration abilities. At the same time, the transmission of environmental values was effective to a certain degree. There were some “stubborn” villagers who refused to cooperate. They only allowed a short interview time and retorted to everything students said. Calling those people a group of “nonsensical difficult people” is not an overstatement. The students were a little sad, but were not discouraged by those reactions.

  • Wrap-up

After the two promotional visits, we held a wrap-up meeting on 28th of December, 2018. At the meeting, school Principal Hao Yanping gave a speech and introduced Zigen and its years of assistance to the school. The Principal was too busy to be familiar with the details of the promotional activities. With some skepticism, he randomly selected two students to talk about the purpose, details, significance, and impact of the activities. The students’ truthful answers greatly impressed the Principal. The participating teachers also complimented the students for their spirits and the results, and expressed willingness to make this event better in the future. The students felt that this event inspired them a lot. Prior to the event, this consciousness was on their lips but gradually dissipated. After the event, not only did they promote the idea to others, they themselves learned an in-depth lesson.

Reflection and Feedback     

The design of the course followed the principle of the new curriculum reformation by applying student-centered methodology, being relevant to their daily life and letting the students gain related knowledge and experience through field activities, while also expanding the scope of the curriculum. From the perspective of the students, they actively participated in the practice of knowledge, realizing the student-centered, teacher-led teaching philosophy, and their interest for further exploration was stimulated! From the perspective of the teachers, they enriched the teaching methods, accumulated the experience of practical lessons, and extended the concept of (Education for Sustainable Development) Zigen advocates into the classrooms, extracurricular activities, and everyone’s heart. 

 Through the development of this activity, students’ awareness of “protecting the environment; diligence in conservation starts with me” is further enhanced. Wherever they go, whether on campus, off campus, or even at home, they will set themselves as examples to others and will actively influence others. This event has played a very important role in promoting the school’s classroom, academic, and campus culture. I hope we can use this as a base to further strengthen, refine, and improve the next event.

Translated by Chelsea Zhang, born in Taipei. Worked in the field of retail store design and construction in Shanghai after graduation. She is working in the digital marketing field in Shanghai.

Edited by Florence Pu, BA of Foreign Language and Literature from National Taiwan University, MS of Library Science from University of Rhode Island, currently retired from the University of California system.

“保护自然资源”主题活动有感

山西省石楼县马村学校 教师 丁秋月

中国经济发展到今天,人口多与资源少的矛盾,生产扩大与环境污染及资源浪费的矛盾日益突出。随着经济不断发展和人口不断增加,水、能源、矿产等资源不足的问题越来越严重,生态环境破坏和保护的矛盾也越来越激烈。面对中国经济和社会的未来,中国的自然资源供应能够维持多久?人们生存依赖的生态环境能够维持多长时间,这些时常让作为地理教师的我陷入深思。

学生根据自己的活动方案,分成三组到村子里就土地的利用情况,垃圾处理与分类,水源卫生与用水情况等向村民进行采访

在这种环境与资源问题日益严重的背景下,基于滋根“可持续发展”理念,我校高度重视学生环保教育的开展,根据学情及周边环境存在的问题经常性举办一些环保实践类活动。在环保教育中,为了激发学生的自主性,提高组织能力、宣传能力,同时间接促进地理课中对“中国的自然资源”的学习,2018年11月份,我组织八年级共22名学生,经过充分讨论与准备,决定走出校园,走进生活,去发现并解决问题,深入学校周边的农家进行调研和保护自然资源的宣传。我们的活动宗旨是:“保护自然资源,减少环境污染,反对过度消费”,坚持从自己做起,从日常生活做起,减少和拒绝一些浪费资源和污染环境的消费行为。如果把每个学生都当成一粒种子,我相信他们会在一定时间内生根发芽,发挥巨大潜能,成为移动的宣传手,为保护自然资源出一份力,传播正能量。

活动分四个环节:

(一)课堂讨论,自主设计方案

为了使得本次实地宣讲调研活动更扎实有序,我利用地理课和自习课的时间带领同学们对本次活动计划进行了详细的讨论,包括人员分工、出行路线、采访对象、采访问题、宣传内容等。分组后,学生首先确立组长、副组长、记者、书记员等人员分工,继而确定主题。第一组为保护草地;第二组为保护水资源;第三组为珍惜水资源。最后,同学们写出具体宣讲内容的方案。虽然,讨论的基本要素能够凸显出来,但由于我们身处偏远山区,经济落后、信息闭塞,各种客观因素形成的主观能力问题,导致讨论用了四五节课的时间,效率不是很高,准备并不够充分、深入、客观。

(二)入村宣讲

按照提前做好的方案(主要包括活动主题、活动目的、活动内容、活动范围、活动工具、活动口号、活动记录、活动意义、活动反思等),在11月22日同学们分三个小组走出校园,主要针对年长者、中年者、喂养牲畜者、水果蔬菜店进行采访。他们就土地的利用情况、垃圾处理与分类、水源卫生与用水情况等进行采访,采访中学生能够快速解决一些沟通障碍,如听不懂普通话者,会有另外一个学生及时句句翻译。不足的依然是前期的准备不够,导致没有客观数据,每个问题的深度不够,只停留在问题表面。例如,问:“请问您的废旧电池怎么处理?”答:“扔掉。”接着就是下一个问题,没有对这一举措进行评价,并顺势普及相关知识,这也导致一些针对性的环保建议并不具体,难以令人信服。

(三)效果回访

在上一次计划的基础上,同学们根据宣讲结果做了微调,再次做了一个方案。因为采访对象保护资源意识极其贫乏,所以对于完全没有改变的人群,学生便以普及教育为主,并给出具体建议,比如:一水多用;对于有所改变的人群,学生不仅要给进一步的建议,还让其积极进行宣传,带领其他人群保护资源。一个月后,12月25日,同学们再次回到上次的采访点,发现结果是令人欣慰的。有几户人家周边的垃圾没有增加,用水量减少,尽管只有一点小变化,可这对于同学们来说已经是很大的鼓励了。相对于以前,同学们确实跨出了一大步,思考、沟通、配合的能力明显提高,还有环保价值观的传递有一定效果。当然,也少不了一些“顽固派”的极力不配合,他们让学生们采访的时间短,还说一句顶一句,用“胡搅蛮”来形容一点不过,同学们有些伤心,但并未气馁。

(四)总结会  

在两次实地宣讲活动后,12月28日,我们召开了总结会,会上郝彦平校长发言,对于滋根及其多年来给予学校的帮助做了介绍。校长由于公务繁忙,对活动进展的细节不是很清楚,便带着质疑心理随机抽查了两名同学说说这次活动的目的、详情、意义、感受,学生真实的回答令校长对此刮目相看,并表示非常满意。参会教师也表扬了孩子们勇于实践的精神及成果,并表示愿意一起将这一活动做到更好。学生讲到这一活动对他们的触动很大,之前只是将这一意识停留在嘴边,然后淡化。活动后,不仅给周围人群做了宣传,更是给自己的一次深层次教育。

活动反思与评价:从课程设置方面来说,这次实践性课程的设置遵从了新课程改革的宗旨,以学生为中心,更贴近学生的生活,通过实地的活动参与,学生能够在实践中收获相关知识和经验,同时拓宽了课堂形式。从学生们的角度来说,同学们积极参与实践,充分实现了学生为主体,教师为主导的教学理念,进一步探索的兴趣被激发!从教师角度来说,丰富了教学手段,积累了实践课的经验,将滋根理念深入课堂,延伸到课外,走进每个人的心里。

通过此次实践活动的开展,学生们“保护环境、勤俭节约,从我做起”的意识得到进一步增强,学生所到之处,无论是校内,还是校外,甚至是家里,他们首先会以身作则,并积极宣传影响他人。本次活动对我校良好班风、学风乃至校园文化的进一步升华都起到了很好的促进作用,希望我们在下次活动中能在此基础上进一步加强、细化、提升。

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