Three4Climate: Teachers from Germany visited their colleagues in Portugal to exchange on best practices in climate education

The less serious status of the Covid-19 pandemic in early October in Portugal and Germany allowed to celebrate the first in person Teacher Exchange between the participating Three4Climate schools on 6th and 7th of October 2021 at the Professor Sebastião Teixeira School in Salir, Loulé, Portugal.

Published: 06 December 2021

The host: Professor Sebastião school in Salir/Loulé

The Professor Sebastião Teixeira school is located in Salir, a rural village in the heart of the mountain range of the municipality of Loulé. Mrs. Cristina Faísca and Mrs. Goreti Frankzy are two examples of many other teachers in the school who mobilize their students to be part of the transition to become climate neutral and of the promotion of the region’s natural patrimony value and heritage. This school is also a pioneer regarding renewable energy production and self-consumption. With the support of the municipality, it has installed an infrastructure of solar panels capable of producing up to 40kW of power (more info here!).

The school hosted teachers from Celeirós School (Braga, Portugal) and from Friedrich von Bodelschwingh Gymnasium Bethel (Bielefeld, Germany) for a two day visit with a focus on the exchange of good practices and experiences to foster the integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and climate action into daily school activities and lessons. This visit also involved the collaboration with and support from the city council of Loulé, with the participation of the mayor (Mr. Victor Aleixo), the municipal climate action team and the Regional Energy Agency of the Algarve Region.

The participants of the Teacher Exchange visit together with mayor of Loulé Mr. Victor Aleixo. Copyright: FCiências.ID

The promotion of sustainability and climate action was not only reduced to this two day event. It started earlier with the participants from Bielefeld travelling to Loulé: Jens Ohlemeyer and Tobias Dewald made the journey of nearly 3000 km without causing any local emissions, demonstrating that another way of travelling is possible. For more information on the zero emission trip see here.

Day 1: How to link Education for Sustainable Development to hands-on nature conservation

On day one, participants were warmly welcomed to the school in Salir, Loulé. The corridor of the schools was turned into an art exhibition showcasing the students’ submissions to the Three4Climate contest on their vision of a climate neutral city, school, country or world in 2050. To learn more about the Three4Climate student contest, go to the community post Congratulations to the winners of the Three4Climate school contest.

In the corridors of Professor Sebastião Teixeira School in Salir, Loulé the submissions of the students to the Three4Climate student contest were presented to the visiting teachers from Bielefeld, Germany and Braga, Portugal. Copyright: FCiências.ID

The Three4Climate teachers joined grade 9 students on a study visit linked to the to “Coast Watch Europe” project which took them to Ria Formosa Natural Park, the seaside of the municipality. This project aims to get students involved in the monitoring of the fauna and flora of this emblematic natural park, as well as in the removal of rubbish and invasive plants. The study visit was a perfect example of how to integrate ESD in a lesson and how to at the same time contribute to the preservation of the natural heritage.

The visiting teachers joined students in removing rubbish and invasive plants from the beach as part of the Coast Watch Europe project. Copyrights: FCiências.ID

After the study visit, the Three4climate teachers met to analyse and discuss the status of the integration of the ESD and climate action education into the school curricula, taking the Prof. Sebastião Teixerira Salir School as an example. The approach to the topic of sustainability and climate action in daily lessons often depends on the willingness of each individual teacher. Prior to the teacher exchange an online survey was conducted to collect methodologies, techniques and tools teachers in Loulé and Braga have been using to approach the topic of climate change in their subjects. Based on the results, the Three4Climate teachers elaborated an action plan and next steps in order to further promote the topic in their schools.

Day 2: How to address Education for Sustainable Development in all subjects

On the following day, teachers from the Pr. Sebastião Teixeira School organized an open day on which the topics of ESD and climate action were addressed in each subject. The visiting teachers had the opportunity to share best practices by co-teaching with their colleagues. Some examples of the lessons held are a gardening session during which students planted seeds brought by the teachers of Bielefeld (Biology lesson), the creation of a peddy-paper with questions related to climate action (various subjects), a bicycle ride in the school vicinity (physical education lesson) and related lab experiments (chemistry lesson). Participants from Bielefeld also contributed to the English lesson by presenting their e-trip to Loulé. For this presentation even the mayor of Loulé, Mr. Vitor Aleixo came to Pr. Sebastião Teixeira School and was accompanied by the municipal team for climate action and by representatives of the regional energy agency of the Algarve.

The visiting teachers from Braga and Bielefeld had the opportunity to share best practices by co-teaching with their colleagues at Professor Sebastião Teixeira School in Salir, Loulé, Portugal. Copyright: FCiências.ID

A networking lunch offered by the municipality of Loulé not only strengthened the relationship between the participating teachers, but also with the core team of the municipality of Loulé . The mayor of Loulé expressed his wish for future joint projects and exchanges between the municipalities of Loulé and Bielefeld.

Keeping the spirit of the Three4Climate project alive

On their way back to Bielefeld, the teachers from Germany stopped Braga, Portugal at the School EB Celeirós which is also part of the Three4Climate project. Mrs. Graça Pereira, Mrs. Isabel Pinto and Mrs. Mafalda Parente (Three4Climate Braga Teachers) organized for a Ginko biloba tree to be planted together with the teachers from Bielefeld, before they continued their route to Germany. The tree now serves as an emblematic symbol of fraternity and commitment to keep the spirit of the Three4Climate project alive and to continue the collaboration for climate action between these two schools.

On their way back to Germany, the teachers from Bielefeld stopped at the partner school in Braga to plant a Ginko bilbao tree. Copyright: Jens Ohlemeyer