One of the foundations of promoting a sustainable approach is to ensure that sustainability is embedded as a mindset as explained by Jamie Cloud of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education in the video below.
But how do you promote a mindset? Here’s a suggestion for introducing the idea, first with silent bingo which means that the teacher sets out to notice sustainable attitudes and approaches, and then a follow up including all students in creating more bingo cards and competing to be the first to be able to claim Bingo!
Sometimes when people are bored at work they play a bingo game crossing off the meaningless jargon that they expect to hear during the next meeting. How about adapting this for a positive purpose to think about what we as teachers could say to promote a more sustainable approach and then what we would expect to hear from our students as evidence that they are thinking sustainably?
Creating the cards
The first step would be to build a set of Bingo cards comprising phrases and questions which you might expect to hear in a classroom where teacher and students had a sustainability mindset.
A starting point for making our Bingo cards could use Sterling’s (page 54) general suggestions on useful questions to ask to check for sustainability.
Holistic: ‘How does this relate to that?’ ‘What is the larger context here?’
Critical: ‘Why are things this way, in whose interests?’
Appreciative: ‘What’s good, and what already works well here?’
Inclusive: ‘Who/what is being heard, listened to and engaged?’
Systemic: ‘What are or might be the consequences of this?’
Creative: ‘What innovation might be required?’
Ethical: ‘How should this relate to that?’ ‘What is wise action?’ ‘How can we work towards
the inclusive wellbeing of the whole system – social, economic, and ecological?’
Then think about your current teaching and suggest ten additional phrases or questions relating specifically to your course that you could try to include in your lesson to highlight a sustainable mindset. Add these words or phrases to a 3 x3 table in Word, or 5 x 5 if you are feeling ambitious! Here is an example of a 5 x 5 card made in the Bingo card website.
Silent Bingo: teacher awareness
In your next lesson see how many of the questions you can cross off your bingo card. You may cross off a question when either you or one of your students have used it in a sustainable way. So if during a lesson, you are able to cross out a whole line horizontally, vertically or diagonally then you can shout ‘Now that’s what I call sustainability!‘ (silently to yourself!)and you have won. Well, at least it means that there is some sustainable thinking in your classroom!
Full Bingo: involving the whole class
How about telling your students about the game after you have tried it out yourself so that they can suggest new questions to put on the cards? Do you think that your students would compete to be able to complete a line?
PS. This could be adapted for any other mindset that you are aiming for such as Visible Thinking or Growth mindsets.