An important part of the GREENT project is the creation of several sample lessons. They were created in the summer of 2016 by the project coordinators from each of the 5 countries, after agreeing on a common template containing a framework structure for each lesson. The idea of these sample lessons is to serve as guidance and example for the national teams of teachers who are going to create the full set of lessons.
After completing the sample lessons, we gave them to these teachers and to external experts to review. Each country organized a focus group session in the period October-November 2016 where participants could share their opinion regarding the usability, attractiveness and usefulness of the sample lessons, as well as recommendations of how they could be improved.
The questions used for the focus groups were:
- Is the content appropriate for the age of the students?
- Is the content engaging/interesting?
- Would the time indicated for the completion of each activity be appropriate/enough?
- What do you think about the lesson structure we’ve chosen?
- Is the length of the lesson appropriate?
- Is the language and terminology of the lesson easy to understand?
- Where in the school subjects/curriculum do you think you can fit this material?
- How would you approach teaching this material in the classroom?
- Would it be a problem for you and your students if some of the YouTube videos we are suggesting to use in the classroom are only in English and don’t have subtitles in the national language?
- Was there anything in the lesson that was not clear?
- What recommendations do you have to improve the GREENT content?
- Any other feedback you may give us?
The report available below is a summary of the feedback received in the 5 focus groups.
The overall conclusion is that the content of the sample lessons is engaging and interesting, although at some places the language needs to be made less scientific and more understandable for the students’ age. The teachers welcome the inclusion of online resources (videos, calculators, articles, etc.), as well as of interactive exercises. They would like to see more games which motivate students the most. A major concern of the teachers is the length and volume of the material (32 separate lessons) and the expectation that it would be very difficult to teach it even for the course of one school year. This is, however, an opportunity to spread it out over the course of several school years during high school.
There is an array of very useful conclusions that we received during the focus groups and will incorporate in the final editing of the GREENT course:
- It would be best to ensure that the GREENT lesson structure resembles the lesson structure of the JA programs as closely as possible because teachers report that it is very clear and easy to use in the classroom.
- Each lesson could start with a question towards the students “What do you already know about the concepts, what is your understanding about them?” Or the teacher can give them a task/problem to solve in the beginning. Otherwise they will be only passive recipients of definitions and theory.
- It would be nice to develop a “hi-tech” and “low-tech” version of each lesson. There would be schools that have all possible technological resources and it wouldn’t be a problem for them to work with the version that has many online videos and links. There are however many other schools that have slow Internet connections, screen and multimedia only in some of the classrooms, or schools that do not even have a printer.
- Another suggestion is to form a pool of eco entrepreneurs, experts and mentors who have given explicit consent to help the students in developing their practical project (Part II of the GREENT syllabus). The teachers will have access to their contact information and will be able to reach out to them.
- A very interesting recommendation is to suggest to the teacher to use a “co-creation” methodology in delivering the content. At the beginning of the GREENT course the teacher can share the thematic plan with the whole class and can encourage the students to choose topics they are interested in. Then the teacher works with the respective student in advance so that the student prepares the lesson together with the teacher and they both deliver it in the classroom.
Currently, the full set of GREENT lessons is being developed by the teachers who participated in the focus groups. By the end of January 2017, each country will organize a second round of focus groups where the completed course will be presented to a new groups of teachers in order to solicit their feedback and recommendations, before piloting the content in the classrooms.