RCE British Columbia - 2023

Infusing Climate Education into the BC Curriculum
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Infusing Climate Education into the BC Curriculum
Submitting RCE: 
RCE British Columbia
Contributing organization(s) : 
Simon Fraser University
University of British Columbia
Royal Roads University
University of Northern British Columbia
BC Ministry of Education and Childcare
BC Climate Change Secretariat
Environmental Educators Provincial Specialist Association (EEPSA)
Classrooms to Communities Provincial Network
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
David Zandvliet
Organizational Affiliation: 
Simon Fraser University
Format of project: 
Consultation process
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Sunday, July 2, 2023
Environmental Learning and Experience Guide for Teachers
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
British Columbia
Address of focal point institution for project: 
SFU Institute for Environmental Learning
c/o David Zandvliet, Director
Central City Rm 5288, Fifth Floor Galleria,
250-13450 102 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 0A3
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
British Columbia is a geologically, biologically and culturally rich province in Canada which is home to diverse First nations communities, agricultural regions and urban, suburban and rural communities.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Sea level rise (in coastal communities), heat domes (in urban regions), water shortages and forest fires are becoming more prevalent with the advent of climate change and habitat loss. Provincial governments and teacher organizations are increasingly looking for ways to authentically bring climate change topics, Indigenous knowledge and more information about ESD into a crowded curriculum. New resources need to be located and new ideas about curriculum and pedagogy need to be shared.
January, 2022
The development of this research will assist teachers of all subjects and grades to integrate climate education into teaching and learning. Intended as a support framework to guide teachers in their education planning and will be complemented by resources to support environmental learning in diverse subjects. A curriculum mapping process assists teachers to turn theory into practice by connecting learning outcomes across K-12 curricula with the elements of the framework document and teachers guide. In the final year of the research, we envision a program of teacher professional development to assist in the dissemination of research outcomes from Year 1 and 2. The goals of the PD will be to 1) resolve barriers to environmental learning among teachers, 2) disseminate best practices for climate education to both teacher and informal educator audiences, and 3) to increase awareness of indigenous knowledges and world views related to environmental learning practices.
Engage with Indigenous / informal educators / teachers /academics about their needs related to ESD and Climate Change education. Provide a framework for thinking about and designing curriculums and pedagogies in these areas. Identify opportunities in the formal curriculum through a curriculum and resource mapping exercise
Conduct professional development throughout British Columbia
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Consultative Methods
The focus and working groups conducted as part of this research occured in a variety of communities around BC and as mentioned, included broad representation from various stakeholder groups including (where possible) the Ministry of Education, schools, informal education organizations, first nations, university students and academics. The structure of these meetings were congruent with the PAR approach in that they were co-lead and co-organized by community members and participants – with researchers acting as resources (alongside teachers, administrators and officials) for the working part of the meetings.
There were a total of 22 working meetings held over a one year timeframe in various communities around the province -- ranging from a half to full day format. Follow-up work and submissions were required with further input and feedback solicited by email and other forms of communication (online submission forms and survey).

‘Working’ Meetings and Focus Groups
For each working meeting (or consultation), participants were provided with the original government document: Environmental Learning and Experience (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2007) as well as a variety of other resources. Participants were then organized into small working groups each tasked with re-visioning or re-purposing certain aspects of the original document (acting as quasi-editors for example), while after each working session these groups may report back on their work to the whole community (or to individual facilitators) to have their ideas further scrutinized or enhanced. Researchers, teachers and graduate students acted as resource persons and record keepers throughout
this community–based process of data collection. As a further enhancement to the process, community members made further presentations to the community about their place-based practices in environmental learning and were encouraged to comment on how our project should be communicated to the wider teacher audience and as to what format the work should take. These communications continued for several months after a face-to-face consultation – thereby extending the content re-visioning process in each community.
Size of academic audience: 
200 educators
Results highlight the need to help teachers shift from old ways: a transmission-based education to a transformative holistic learning that integrates mind, spirit, body, heart. We need to shift the language -- to invite teachers into a sense of facilitating learning, while weaving their identities together with Indigenous and Western perspectives. In this, two-eyed seeing may be a useful organizing structure, while also highlighting the need to include diverse learners. Results stressed that experiential learning is cyclical and that understanding comes from holistic inquiry. A key idea emerging is that we may need to structure our final documents and publications as guided inquiry for teachers with multiple entry points / outcomes.

Lessons learned: 
Summarizing, we note that conversations about Indigenous knowledges should recognize plurality and cultural diversity. First Nations ideas and knowledges have been systematically suppressed by dominant (hegemonic) perspectives. If we do nothing else, we need to address this in our framework revision. The support of UNESCO may be a key lever in this undertaking as it has recently declared the Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032). Importantly, climate and ecojustice were also discussed as being topics that are imbedded– and need to be made explicit in the framework. Perhaps the most important takeaway from the research was a final thought from a FN participant: “learn with Indigenous people not about us, as if we’re under a microscope.”
Key messages: 
Our consultation process about how to infuse climate education and Indigenous perspectives into curriculum met with great success with a total of 22 consultations of various formats. The results of this research are informing the creation of future publications and resource guides in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
The consultations were closely related to other RCE networking activities and leveraged our connections with other institutions and organizations throughout British Columbia.
Pacific Institute for Environmental Learning (PICS)
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: