Virtual Exchange Student Teacher Exchange

Student Teacher Exchange Series 2024

Teaching for Sustainability & Climate Action


A SCoTENS North-South Virtual Student Teacher Learning Event




This event brought together student teachers from a number of our SCoTENS partners. It offered the opportunity to meet virtually with other student teachers, north and south, to hear about what teachers do in the area of teaching sustainability and climate action.  The goals included sharing ideas and resources, and learning together on ways of teaching about sustainability, living sustainably and addressing climate action. 

 WEDNESDAY, 17 January 2024

1: The Start-up Webinar
[5pm – 7pm ]

Our event started with a short talk from Elaine Nevin of eco-UNESCO on Why we need to teach Sustainability in schools and how to start doing so.  We then heard from a group of enthusiastic and very capable primary and post-primary teachers who shared their practice and offerd suggestions on how some of the SCoTENS event materials can be used in very practical and straightforward ways within the curriculum and/or to support work for things like the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalists Award, or EU Climate Coalition Challenges. Ideas and examples of teaching resources that are suitable for particular age groups and themes were shared.  These are freely available to event participants and come from eco-UNESCO, the Irish Schools Sustainability Network, and the EU Climate Coalition. The session closed with some ideas about how small teams may wish to work together to do interesting cross-border teaching or shared projects as part of teaching practice/ placement, and details of upcoming online webinars / real-world opportunities to develop further teaching skills in this area.

 THURSDAY, 18 January 2024

Teaching for a sustainable world and climate action.
[5pm – 7pm]

The second SCoTENS webinar focused on materials and ideas on sustainability and climate action to be used in teaching setting and on giving detailed examples of how they work with different age groups. The session opened with a short talk by a Brussels-based policy maker on Why we need to teach Sustainability in our schools; a view from Europe. This was followed by another session with members of our expert panel of enthusiastic and capable primary and post-primary teachers who provided further examples of good practice when embedding ideas about sustainability and climate action in teaching. We looked at both classroom activities and school-wide settings to develop expertise and confidence when addressing these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The use of serious games to address key concepts in climate action were introduced with an emphasis on interactive, dynamic activities that lead to new teaching and learning experiences for student teachers and pupils alike.

Additional one-hour support webinars will be scheduled for February to consider activities for a climate action game that can easily be built into teaching placement / practice plans and that will prove enjoyable for the children.

SCoTENS Certificate of Participation  

All participants in the 2024 SCoTENS Virtual Learning Event will receive a SCoTENS Certificate for taking part in this North-South webinar.



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Project Aims

For Participating Students

  1. To broaden students’ experience of teaching practice by undertaking part of it in the neighbouring jurisdiction on the island of Ireland.
  2. To increase students’ cultural sensitivity by engaging educationally and socially with other students, teachers and pupils in a cross-border, cross-community context on the island of Ireland.
  3. To enable students to experience the education system of the neighbouring jurisdiction.
  4. To enable students to explore similarities and differences in curriculum provision and approaches in a cross-border, cross-community context.
  5. To encourage adaptability, reflexivity, confidence and an increase in personal and professional self-awareness in students through engagement with culturally diverse groups.

For Participating Lecturers

  1. To provide opportunities for colleges of education on the island of Ireland to affirm and respect cultural difference and to promote positive attitudes towards cultural diversity.
  2. To develop a model of professional practice in response to cultural diversity by supporting students who engage in a period of teaching practice in the other jurisdiction.
  3. To develop a deeper sense of community among educators on the island of Ireland that recognises the contributions of different cultural and religious communities.
  4. To become more familiar with a variety of curriculum programmes and methodologies, North and South.
  5. To explore and develop strategies and approaches currently in practice in colleges of education and universities, North and South, and to contribute to the development of an inter-college culture of collaboration on the island.