Change the way we teach
Across all subjects and levels, our students' work, research and creative practice can contribute to a better world. We must not only change what we teach, but our approach to teaching and learning too. We give our staff the tools, skills and resources they need to develop a new type of curriculum.
What we've done so far
Delivering on changing the way we teach
The Academic Discourse and Action Learning (ADAL) working group is delivering on changing the way we teach and leads our work on embedding Education for Sustainable Development. It’s 1 of 4 working groups within the Climate and Environmental Action Group (CEAG PDF 290KB). The ADAL Working Group is committed to 3 key aims (PDF 79KB) and wants to deliver on them before 2026.
- has developed a set of guiding principles for climate, racial and social justice (PDF 105KB)
- has developed a framework for embedding climate, racial and social justice into all our courses (PDF 528KB)
- has developed a toolkit of foundational knowledge and skills for climate, racial and social justice – including a glossary of terms, teaching and learning resources, case studies and library guides
- has developed and is piloting a programme of staff development to support them to deliver climate, racial and social justice in their teaching - this includes Carbon Literacy Training and graduate-led training and workshops
- is working to provide opportunities for student and staff voice and activism, helping to mobilise models of co-production, rapid adaptation and student climate advocacy
- works with Climate Advocates across all academic programmes and courses, auditing course handbooks to understand how the principles for climate, racial and social justice are being embedded
- is piloting experimental approaches to change the way we teach in a 'living lab' model, for example, a project exploring what it means for students and staff to spend time in nature within their teaching and learning
- has recruited an educational developer based in our Teaching and Learning Exchange to lead and coordinate these activities.
To find out more about the ADAL Working Group’s commitments, email Nina Stevenson, Co-Chair of the working group email@example.com.
Staff networking, training, and support
Our staff development programme helps all academic staff to integrate our principles for climate, racial and social justice into the curriculum. We support staff to embed Education for Sustainable Development through:
- Carbon Literacy Training accredited by the Carbon Literacy Project
- workshops and bespoke staff development support
- Facing Climate Fears, a staff development workshop and resource which addresses eco-anxiety.
Our staff induction explains our approach to sustainability and how to support our climate action objectives. Every staff member takes our online carbon literacy training module (PDF 1.33MB) during their induction.
Tools and resources
Our research centres and academics have developed tools and resources to integrate sustainability into the curriculum.
FashionSEEDS was developed by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at LCF. It includes a:
- Fashion Design for Sustainability Reader
- Course Designer
- Design Canvas to map your vision, values and goals
- set of Cards to support course design
- Learning Activity Tool.
The Collections Action Group began to think about what a sustainable collection might look like and how it might operate. A set of evolving resources were developed by the group.
Plastic Justice is a pan-European educational collaboration between 5 art and design academies. It's focused on the long-term impact of invisible micro-plastics on the human body. The Plastic Justice teaching guide explores how we teach environmental issues to graphic design students. It's supported by references related to the topic and relevant to arts educators.
The Responsible Design Framework (PDF 122KB) was developed by the Design School at London College of Communication. It guides staff in embedding responsible design approaches and principles within the curriculum, while sharing this knowledge with students. They have produced case studies of teaching practice (PDF 8.22MB).
Frameworks for sustainable learning, teaching and research
We're working towards re-accreditation to ISO 14001 for our Environmental Management System (EMS) for sustainable teaching, learning and research. ISO 14001 is a framework we use for integrating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). It provides a mechanism for setting targets and reviewing and reporting on progress.
We've increased the levels of student oversight of this new teaching, learning and research EMS. Our Climate Advocates and Climate Emergency Network play a key role in helping students to understand the terminology and the benefits of an EMS. Alongside the Arts SU, they’re also a critical friend to the university, independently checking that we're doing what we say we're doing through internal site audits.
We've also made good progress on this thanks to support from our Climate Advocates and sustainability interns, who have been conducting internal audits. This year they carried out a course handbook audit (308KB) to assess all courses against the framework for embedding climate, racial and social justice (528KB) into our teaching and learning. All the information gathered is also independently verified by an external and accredited ISO auditor every year.
Climate Advocates are students led by climate advocate leads in each College. They promote environmental awareness and sustainability in teaching. All Climate Advocates are paid through Arts Temps, our social enterprise recruitment agency.
Their primary role is to support the work of embedding climate, social and racial justice into the curriculum, working closely with course leaders and programme directors. Climate Advocates can also propose projects in a 'living lab' model to change the way we teach. They’re also taking part in events like Earth Day and staff development activities.
Climate Advocates will also regularly meet with Climate Advocate Staff Leads to share good practice and to create and empower this community.
Read more about the Climate Advocates scheme.
What we'll do next
- increase our climate and environmental literacy
- embed climate justice in all our courses by 2026, acknowledging its intersection with social and racial justice
- create the conditions for collaboration, enabling our students and staff to make individual changes, take action and advocate for further change in the curriculum
- provide support and development opportunities for staff to aid in transforming the curriculum to address climate justice.