Topics: The “Commons” and ecosystems services; ecological economics; thermodynamics and the economy; externalities; policies, accountability, and governance; ecosystem services; globalization and trade; local economics; culture; economics indicators; business structures; ideology and greenwashing; life cycle analysis
Audience: 6-8, 9-12, higher ed, adult ed
Disciplines: economics, business, civics/government, environmental science
Career Connections: economics, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, law, international relations and diplomacy, public- and environmental policy
"Loop Scoops" is a collection of short videos with lessons for grades K-4 to "help kids think about the stuff in their lives." Developed by WGBH (Boston) with Creative Change as content consultant.
"Sustainability and Economics 101," an article by Creative Change's Executive Director, Susan Santone. The beginning of the article has an overview of ecological economics that is useful for any reader; the last part identifies teaching strategies for elementary.
Level I programs introduce new ways of reframing content and instruction through a lens of sustainable economics. Participants envision and define possibilities for change as they experience approaches they can replicate in their own classes. A typical package includes:
Example: An educational institution is seeking ways to introduce environmental sustainability and social equity into its economics programs. In a two-day workshop, Creative Change engages educators in hands-on activities that explore a “triple bottom line” perspective of environmental, economic and social wellbeing. Topics explored include the relationship between human and natural systems, the “Commons,” economic models and indicators, and policies to advance sustainability. Educators review age-specific curricula and resources, and evaluate ways the approaches can be integrated into existing instruction to meet achievement goals.
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Our Plan the Change programs provide 3-6 months of strategic planning to help institutions define goals, strategies, evaluation, and a timeline. The work is guided by our Instruction Change framework, a needs assessment tool that examines institutional culture, curriculum, professional development, and other factors affecting the successful integration of sustainability.
Example: After collecting data on faculty impressions and interests, Creative Change meets with the leadership team to develop a plan for integrating sustainability into the curriculum in ways that support existing initiatives.
Level III programs provide professional development, curriculum licensing and ongoing support focused on revising curriculum, courses and programs. Spread over a year or more, a typical package includes:
Example: After completing the Level I program, the same institution works with Creative Change to map out a year-long initiative focused on restructuring economic and business courses to have a “triple bottom line” perspective. The initiative unfolds over a calendar year in three steps: A) on-site professional development, B) on-going support to staff and faculty, and C) evaluation and communication.
Workshops begin by immersing teachers in content knowledge and research-based pedagogical strategies. To model effective approaches, the sessions engage staff in hands-on activities they can replicate with their students, followed by thoughtful analysis and discussion. Approaches include:
Through these activities, educators define how the content and approaches can improve learning at their grade level. Staff then evaluates their existing units or courses and set goals for reshaping them. A science teacher integrates hands-on activities to demonstrate entropy and regeneration, and supports the economics teacher to use apply this knowledge to an analysis of economic models. A business teacher decides to collaborate with local businesses in an analysis of the regional economy. An economic course adds a new focus comparing the GDP to indicators of sustainability. In language arts, reasoning and rhetorical techniques are applied to analyze ideological opposition to sustainability and the underlying cultural assumptions. All efforts integrate social equity by exploring connections among race, class, and economic inequality. The staff works together to generate authentic ways students can apply their learning, such as examining school policies and their impacts on the local economy.
The PD now shifts to the on-the-ground work of redesigning the units based on the goals set. Creative Change’s approach to instructional design provides educators with a process and framework for planning units that start with students’ experiences, build an integrated knowledge base, and culminate in meaningful civic engagement. In-depth workshop materials and multimedia curriculum resources from the on-line Curriculum and Resource Center support teachers as they
As faculty continue their work in a learning community approach, Creative Change provides on-going planning support through phone, email, and in-person meetings. Support strategies include unit planning, developing assessments, and evaluation support. For example, Creative Change develops specialized assessment tools to ensure the project meets achievement goals.
By the end of the year, the educators’ efforts have resulted in a collection of instructional modules that demonstrate best practices in content and pedagogy. The faculty has evaluated the impacts of its work and wants to replicate the approaches in other areas of the curriculum. To support this, Creative Change compiles pictures, reports, presentations and other documentation in order to communicate results to the district- or organizational leadership team and provide models for replication. Based on the success of the work, the collaboration with Creative Change grows to other departments or schools through a Level IV program.
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Level IV programs enable schools and districts build internal capacity and institutionalize successful approaches. Clients gain training, resources and strategic planning assistance focused on preparing an internal team to lead, evaluate, and sustain instructional change. These packages, spread over a year or more, typically include