Best Practice Example Bac Lieu, Vietnam
Teachers that want to integrate environmental education into their own lessons, can find plenty of good practices examples. One of those is an integration process in Vietnam, in which Greeneducation4all was involved:
Integrating Environmental Education in Secondary and High Schools in Bac Lieu Province, Viet Nam
Integrating Environmental Education in lesson plans demands two essential preconditions: sound information that can be integrated and somebody that is doing it.
Supported by the German Government, the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) conducted the project “Adaptation to Climate Change through the promotion of Biodiversity in Bac Lieu Province”. The project consists of different components out of which one was integrating environmental education. Over a period of 2 years biology, geography and civic education teachers of Secondary and High Schools were supported in adjusting their lesson plans.
The approach can be applied by other projects and interested teachers. The developed materials can be used for all non-profit purposes.
In close collaboration with the responsible provincial Department of Education a group of teachers had been chosen to work with the project. They were assigned and had the mandate to serve as multipliers and focal points between the activities in the project and the 90 governmental schools of the province Bac Lieu.
During regular get-together meetings of so called Teacher Working Groups (TWGs) information about nature and environment (first phase) of the area was compiled, lesson plans were analyzed in order to find entry points of environmental topics and the adjustment of the identified lesson content was undertaken (second phase).
First phase – gathering information
The first step of the integration of Environmental Education in lesson plans is the collection of information on the topic suitable for the area. Even though general knowledge about environmental protection and climate change is essential, the specific information of the area is very supportive to meet the needs of teachers and the interest of students. This specific information is partly available in the internet but mostly to be found in local universities and departments like the Forest Departments and Natural Resource Departments. The first activity was therefore to assigned teachers from one of the main pre-service teacher training university to collect available material on the topics nature, environment, environmental protection and climate change.
The next step was setting up the teacher working groups. The selected teachers for the groups were equally distributed between the subjects biology, geography and civic education and appointed by the local government.
Lesson learnt: even though the teachers of the working groups showed a high level of professionalism and motivation, it is a necessary step to include a final proof reading as well as a harmonization of the written by an external service provider. That helps through ensuring the red threat of the elaborated and gives the involved teachers security in regard of the involved ministerial departments.
Second phase – integration of content
Once all relevant or rather all available data on nature and environment is collected, the teachers are asked to analyze their lesson plans in order to find appropriate entry points for the additional information.
In Vietnam a guideline by the Ministerial of Education and Training on the integration of environmental education is in place. This document is listing all lessons in which the new content can be integrated. Back in the TWGs, based on this list, the teachers can choose a number of lessons in which they are going to integrate the new content.
Lesson learnt: The simple identification and incorporation of additional information about the environment, even though they are related to the conditions on site, are not enough to call it a successful integration of environmental education. Especially with the actual act of implementing the new content in class the teachers shouldn‘t be left alone. Therefore an iterative group process of integrating the content on paper – quality check – try out in class – reality check is needed to equip the teachers with enough security.
Alongside with the work on the lesson plan content the group was identifying needs in visual supplements. A list of posters and photos that would support the transfer of the new content to the students was worked out and searched for.
The material that was developed by the TWGs can be clustered in three parts: The first is the compiled information about environment. The second is the lesson plans that had been adjusted. The third are additional teaching supplements that were elaborated to support the integration process. All three together created a set of material that was practically for the use in class and therefore was successfully integrated in teachers’ lesson plans.
Information about nature and environment
With the end of the pilot phase the teachers had developed adjusted lesson plans for geography, biology and civic education of Secondary and High Schools.
There are no limitations to subjects or education formats beyond the ones used in Bac Lieu. Other interested teachers were found in subjects like literature or mathematics, other school forms can be universities or vocational training colleges.
What needs to be kept in mind is that there is no common set of material that serves the purpose of integrating environmental education. It has to be developed and adjusted according to what is needed by the teacher; the same accounts for the used methods. How the new content is transferred is solely in the hand of the respective teacher. One is more secure in the traditional way of teaching, like presentations, questions and answers; others are more modern and prefer new methods. What matters is that the students understand and apply.
The most effective way to influence students understanding and their attitude towards nature is the combination of teaching and the actual experience outdoors. School excursions are a perfect mean to transport the content that is related to environmental education. Even more, positive experience in nature influences the level of environmental friendly behavior in children and teens in their adult years. The younger the tested student, the more obvious was the effect.
Adjusted lesson plans and additional teaching aids
The overall objective of the pilot project in Bac Lieu was to support teachers to cope with the challenges of „greening“ their lesson plans.
In the process of integrating the content the demand for appropriate photos to visualize the new information became a first priority. The best way to get photo material is to ask the students or search within the own data base. The photos need to reflect the situation on site and in the best way also show known areas. That connects the content with the day-to-day life of the students and makes relating to the challenges easier.
Find the photos for single use here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sgendera/sets/72157631886615169/
To download them all in one, click here: https://issuu.com/greeneducation4all/docs/photos_all_in_one
Lesson learnt: It is necessary to have the photos in a minimum resolution of 300 dpi in order to use them in class. Another essential is to respect the ownership and copy right of the original owner of a photo. In order to spread the developed material it is a must to have the right to use the photo.
Sometimes a photo is not enough. If there are processes to be visualized or a message needs to be linked to the picture, posters are needed. The teachers were asked to elaborate drafts and ideas of posters that would be needed in order to support the integration of environmental education in their subject.
The following pictures are examples of sketches that were developed by the working group and the posters that had been developed out of them. The first sketch on the right was a request to visualize the population pressure on natural resources, the second a food chain and the third the process of photosynthesis. The colored pictures are the results after multiple adjustment loops.
(gallery: food chain, population pressure, photosynthesis)
All together there were 17 posters developed. They are available in English and Vietnamese.
– Acid Rain
– The effects of overpopulation on our environment
– Birds of Bac Lieu Birdsanctuary
– Facts and Figures of the Bac Lieu Birdsanctuary
– Greenhouse effect and Climate Change
– Food web – mangrove ecosystem
– Mangrove forest
– Mangroves as habitat
– Process of photosysnthesis
– Propaganda poster – Protect our forests
– Propaganda poster – Reduce/Reuse/Recycle
– Propaganda poster – Don‘t litter our rivers
– Propaganda poster – Plant trees
– Propaganda poster – Role of water
– Sustainability Triangle
– Sustainable Aquaculture
Find the posters for single download here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sgendera/sets/72157632527708886/
To download them all in one (engl), click here: https://issuu.com/greeneducation4all/docs/poster_all_in_one_engl
To download them all in one (vn), click here: https://issuu.com/greeneducation4all/docs/poster_all_in_one
The process of developing the posters was twofold. Besides creating and adjusting the needed teaching aids by Greeneducation4all, a capacity building workshop to develop posters by the teachers themselves was conducted.
Lessons learnt: In order to ensure the practicability of the new skill of designing their own posters, the teachers need to be taught by using open source software for example GIMP. The download and use of this so called open source software is free of charge and ensures the ongoing of its use after the project ends.
In order to share the developed material and to know how other free web services were use. For example:
– Dropbox to share photos and documents
– WeTransfer to transport documents from A to B
– Fickr to upload and display photos and posters
– Issuu to store and display documents
Please be aware of the possibility that the user rights by using the free services are not well protected. In order to avoid copyright abuse clear communication and labeling of photos and posters is recommended. Another must have is also the integration of logos and ownership remarks in the text of the document itself or as part of the poster design.
Lesson learnt: Without the active participation of the Department of Education and Training in the pilot province of Bac Lieu, the incredible motivation and interest of the involved teachers, the GIZ project in Bac Lieu and the support by the Ministry of Environment of Germany the project wouldn‘t be what it is now: a successful pilot and an example of best practices of integrating environmental education in Secondary and High Schools.
THE FOLLOW UP
The pilot in Bac Lieu took in total 3 1/2 years. The teachers had 2 years out of that to work on the material and on developing their own capacity. They were supported by the GIZ project and can be seen as best practice after the end of the project. The Ministry of Education and Training in Viet Nam recommended the material and officially accepted it as reference source for the use in class in Bac Lieu Province.
All material is tailored to the needs in Bac Lieu. In order to use the lessons learnt and the results within a broader area, the content had to be adjusted. Therefore the Departments of Education and Training and the GIZ projects in the broader Mekong Delta were brought together.
Through a common effort, additional content and available material had been identified that would be needed in order to harmonize the results in Bac Lieu with the other Mekong Delta Provinces. Even though a common basis of information was agreed on, if other provinces and schools want to integrate environmental education on an advanced level, a pre-phase of adjustment and extension of the content based on the local needs had to be undertaken.
Based on the folder design of Bac Lieu, a commonly accepted and complete set of materials for the integration of environmental education in the Mekong Delta is available. The folder system is based on exchangeable sub-folders. This special feature allows choosing between the content that is of most interest in teaching environmental education on site.
The final set of material includes two additional folders from Soc Trang Province and information requested by An Giang Province. All together the content is harmonized and fits the needs of the Mekong Delta in general.
General Part: Environmental Education
The first sub-folder is available in Vietnamese and English and covers topics like nature and environment of Vietnam, environmental challenges and Climate Change. The folder is supposed to give a first overview and reflects the actual state of the environment in Vietnam.
Specific Part: Bac Lieu
This folder deals solely with the environmental conditions in Bac Lieu Province. It is available in Vietnamese only. If other Provinces want to integrate Environmental Education it is recommended to spend some time before hand and work on a folder that serves the needs of the specific province.
General Part: Mangrove Manual
This folder is newly integrated in the follow up process and is available in Vietnamese and English. The original was developed by the Department of Education and Training, the Forest Department and the GIZ project in Soc Trang Province.
General Part: Waste, Water, Sanitation Manual
This part is also new and available in Vietnamese and English. The original was developed by the Department of Education and Training, the Forest Department and the GIZ project in Soc Trang Province.
6 Specific Parts: Lesson Plans
These lesson Plans were developed by the teachers in Bac Lieu. It is labeled „specific“ to underline the necessity to integrate the content needed to undertake Environmental Education in class by the individual teachers that will use it. Even though the already adjusted lesson plans can be used it is recommended to rather utilize them as reference material and develop them further. The lesson plans are available in Vietnamese.
Alongside with the sub-folders, a set of 29 photos and 17 posters is available.
To find all pdf documents on one page, click here: https://issuu.com/greeneducation4all
The material is free to be used. The copyright is with the GIZ. It is therefore requested to only use it in a non-commercial, non-profit way and mention the origin (GIZ/Greeneducation4all).