Teaching Writing through Sustainability

We are living in an era that is characterized by regular storms and floods that can’t be contained among other adversities such as depleting natural resources from Mother Earth. This has significantly raised concern among people of different ages, and most people are sold to the idea of making the world better by being more conscious about the environment. Incorporating sustainability in learning is a good step towards inspiring more people to be environmental stewards in whichever capacity that they hold. As a teacher, you have a role in preparing your students for future sustainability challenges. Moreover, that can be done by finding ways to infuse sustainability in your writing course.

Infusing sustainability in your writing class

Incorporating sustainability in your class is all about teaching your students how to write better by tapping into their love and passion for the environment. This can bring in a ton of benefits for your students. These benefits include:

  • Helps them connect their course content to current social, economic, political, cultural and ecological happenings, which aids in finding relevance for the students
  • Sustainability learning also helps students connect what they are learning with other disciplines, which fosters collaboration skills for now and the future
  • Environmental learning is interactive and hands-on type of learning, which helps spark imagination and creativity in writing
  • As students research and investigate complex sustainability issues, their creative and critical thinking skills are improved, which makes them better individuals in the workplace
  • Sustainability education helps students understand how their actions affect the environment and strive to take better actions towards conserving the environment

 Tips for teaching sustainability in writing

Sustainability is all about creating and maintaining the conditions where humans and nature can coexist productively to support the current and future generations. Finding ways to integrate this concept in teaching writing can be a challenge. That is why you need sound strategies to be able to do it. Here are a few ways that you can use:

  • Link teaching to mushrooming events in sustainable development – For instance, if you are teaching engineering students how to write, you can have them complete assignments on things that are cropping up currently such as writing about wind energy or green roofs and how they work.
  • Connect your teaching to sustainability issues that your students deal with in their daily life. This will help you bring your teaching to life as well as establish course relevance to your students
  • Choose topics that connect to your course content – This can help you to better align your sustainability teaching to the core content of the course  

Activities that you can do

As said earlier, sustainability is interactive and hands-on. By using hands-on sustainability-themed activities to engage your students, you will be making learning not only fun but also easier to understand and adopt in their daily lives. Here are a few activities that you can do as a class to supplement your teaching about writing:

1. The reduce, reuse, and recycle project

This activity, helps students identify how they can reduce waste in their lives. It includes identifying recyclable and non-recyclable materials. You can have them look at their trash. Let them identify the reasons why they threw things in the trash away. Then teach them how they can reduce that waste by sorting out things that can be reused and those that can be recycled. You can also guide them in buying items that can be reused rather than thrown away after a single-use. For instance, they can purchase reusable pens and pencils for their writing. 

2. The save energy activity

Teach your students about renewable and non-renewable sources and how each affects natural resources. Let them know how saving energy helps save the environment from pollution. The activity can include identifying areas with the most energy waste at home and in school. In addition, share energy-saving tips. For example, turning off the lights and turning off devices when not in use saves energy. You can also ask them to have an energy-free day or hours to help them identify which areas they need electricity and what alternatives they have.

3. Nature walk

The best place to learn about sustainability is in nature. You can take a walk along the beach, to a nearby farm, or around a nature trail. Hold conversations about the connection between natural resources such as water, sun, animals, plants, and humans. You can brainstorm about other topics such as greenhouse gasses, landfills, recycling, and more. Have your students write about what they learned from the walk.

Bringing in interdisciplinary solutions

Sustainability is an interdisciplinary concept that covers interconnection between different areas and systems. By bringing different players into the classroom, you’ll instill collaboration skills. Those skills are important in handling future sustainability challenges. You can bring in other colleagues and their students in the class, or invite a guest speaker. You can also collaborate with other professionals such as freelance medical writers to learn better ways of writing while keeping sustainability in mind. In addition, you can then share these tips with your students. 

Conclusion

Teaching sustainability may not be an easy concept. However, it is necessary for the sake of a good future for the environment. Integrating the lessons in different disciplines like writing is helpful. It may feel overwhelming but you can do it with the right strategies. There you have a sample guideline on how you can go about teaching sustainability in your writing class.

Author: Bella Clarks