LIFELONG LEARNING EXPERIENCES: A TRAINING PROGRAM PROPOSAL IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR PRIMARY EDUCATION TEACHERS IN CYPRUS C. Stefanou1, D. Vlachopoulos2 1Open University of Cyprus (CYPRUS) 2European University of Cyprus (CYPRUS) Introduction • Constant degradation of the natural environment and quality of life and interdependence with political, economic and social issues • Need to adopt Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as competent means to ensure the sustainability of the planet , . • National Strategic Plan of Action for the EE/ESD in Cyprus: introduction of EE/ESD as an autonomous discipline in the Curricula of all public education levels priority in training teachers of all levels in order to prepare them in promoting EE/SDA in school  • Difficulties and limitations: new scientific field with ongoing developments subject not included in the curricula of the pedagogical departments incomplete initial training of teachers risk of failure unless training opportunities are offered • Any initiative to plan and implement an in service training program, such as the one proposed by this paper, must take into account the principles of EE and the steps for Adult Education (AE) program , , . EE/ESD as a subject and the role of educators • EE/ESD: a generalized and continuous process of awareness, acquisition of knowledge and experiences, cultivation of attitudes, values and skills , ,  that aims at attaining Sustainable Development (SD)  a philosophy that refers to and conforms with that of Lifelong Learning (LLL) ,  according to references in the Belgrade Charter and UNECE’s Report on Education and SS, must be informal, non formal or formal, covering the range from preschool to higher education, as well as the education or training of the educators themselves ,  • The educators: promoters of reforms and co-formulators of the school reality  must have the necessary knowledge, attitude and skills , ,  maintain a positive attitude but lack in basic knowledge of content or methodology  need training in order to implement such programs successfully , ,  Training educators within the context of Lifelong Learning • The explosion of scientific knowledge, in the Knowledge Society, and the need for continuous training for the modernization of their work , , have turned the educators into professional scientists . • The training of the educators, as a part of the Adult Education (AE), must meet the principles of planning, organization and evaluation programs addressed to adults: carefully organizing all aspects by researching potential obstacles and ways to overcome them choosing the context based on the experiences and needs of the trainees encouraging active participation respecting trainees’ personal rhythm and learning profile forming a learning climate governed by communication, cooperation and mutual respect variety of teaching approaches activities that associate theory to practice and promote the heuristic course towards knowledge , , ,. Methodology • • • The planning of an AE program must be systematic and structured in successive levels, in order to stop the internal factors that hinder the learning process and the external limitations connected with its organization. The suggested program for the training of educators in EE/ESD adopts the CIPP model, which conforms to applied and tested programs of EE/ESD and aims at improving and ensuring its sustainability . Both EE/ESD programs and CIPP model are structured on the basis of four stages, which are in a circular sequence, each one integrating the element of evaluation that guarantees the programs flexibility , , . STUFFLEBEAM’S CIPP EVALUATION MODEL EE/ESD PROGRAMS Course initiation Context Course development planning Input Course implementation Process Course accountability Product Study of the present situation • • • • • OECD’s research data report that the professional development and training of educators in Cyprus has not yet evolved into a structured practice, but remains informal, individual and voluntary . Educators largely participate in inspector seminars, conventions or optional training seminars hosted by the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute  without being absolutely satisfied by their context, organization, conduct and results . The opportunities for the teachers to participate in continuing education programs in EE/ESD are limited . Since the introduction of EE/ESD as a subject in the Curricula of public primary schools in Cyprus, the gaps of the relative training and education seem larger than ever. The suggested program for training educators in EE/ESD aims to address the problem of lacking vocational training faced by educators in Cyprus' elementary schools. It is addressed to educators in the level of school units due to the fact that, according to the Curriculum for EE/ESD , each school must plan and develop their own Sustainable Environmental Educational Policy. Examining educational needs • • • • In the case of educators, who, being professionals have their own experiences and pre-existing knowledge, it is necessary to take into account their concerns and needs , , or else the results of the training will be inconsistent with the reality of education , . Relevant researches abroad have shown that the active educators must be trained both in cognitive and in the methodological sectors of EE/ESD . The Cypriot educators request a training that is relative to educational innovation, such as the one that introduces EE/ESD in the Curricula, and to be trained in new methods and teaching techniques . In order to compare the conclusions of the existing researches with the educational needs of the specific target population, we will follow a multimethodological approach by combining qualitative and quantitative research methods and triangulation of data , . a questionnaire to identify the degree of the environmental literacy of educators and to evaluate the attitudes of educators towards the specific subject  individual interviews in a subgroup of educators to cross-check their attitudes  a non participative observation of the subgroup of educators during teaching in school classroom, to examine their needs in relation to EE/ESD methodology  Suggested program for training educators in EE/ESD Title: “Training educators on the effective integration and successful implementation of EE/ESD in the Curricula” Time: 5-5 hour meetings on the first week of the school year (training week in absence of students) Location: 80% (20 hours) of the meetings will be performed in the premises of the participating school and 20% (5 hours) in an Environmental Education Centre (EEC) Contractor – Funding Agency: Ministry of Education and Culture Implementing body: Cyprus Pedagogical Institute Target-group: A primary school unit’s teaching staff Trainers: Educators who have been seconded to Cyprus Pedagogical Institute or to Environmental Education Centers, with scientific specialization in EE/ESD and training relative to AE Program's objective: To give the educators the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude for a smooth integration of EE/ESD in the Curricula and its successful implementation in schools Program's objectives: some of those are taken as is from the Curricula of the EE/ESD (page 257-258)  (a) Knowledge: To determine and describe contemporary environmental issues, which are at the same time the subjects of the curriculum (forest, litter, energy, water, biodiversity, desertification, culture, urban development, production – consumption) To associate the aforementioned environmental issues between them, in order to be able to interpret the interrelation of the environmental problems and the chain effects that these bring in all sectors of life. (b) Skills: To realize that the complex nature of the matters pertaining to environment and sustainable development calls for reorganization of the learning course and adoption of pedagogical approaches based on an active, cooperative and experiential learning. To examine, experiment on and develop those teaching techniques that are proposed in EE/ESD. (c) Attitude: To maintain a positive attitude towards developing EE/ESD in school. To develop their interest and motivation in order to participate in planning and actions to improve school in order to change its culture and make it sustainable. Suggested program for training educators in EE/ESD Content: Subjects – Units Teaching hours 1. The necessity to introduce EE/ESD in School 5 Schedule Educational Techniques Brainstorming, concept mapping, group examination, suggestion 2. Benefits from its introduction for students, educators, school and society 3. Processing the environmental issues – subjects included in the Curriculum work groups, project method, problem solving 5 4. Correlation of environmental problems 5. Field study and other experiential methods of 5 EE/ESD 6. Steps for planning Sustainable 5 Environmental Educational Policy 7. Planning and evaluating the school unit’s 5 Sustainable Environmental Educational Policy field study (visit to a EEC), role playing, simulation snowballing method, group laboratory work group laboratory work, question – answers The suggested training program takes into account the structure of the context of a respective program by UNESCO (2005) entitled “Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future”, which was planned with the participation of educators from various countries and successfully implemented worldwide . Evaluation of the program • Stufflebeam’s CIPP evaluation program: monitors the educational program throughout its planning allows a better introspection of the areas that require improvement is formative and summative at the same time conforms with the principles set by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (1993, 1994, 2003), which focus on utility, feasibility, propriety and accuracy of the program under evaluation , , . • Formative evaluation as to the procedure and results: at the end of every meeting there will be a reflection on the learning process • Summative evaluation: assignment to the participants to prepare their school’s Sustainable Environmental Educational Policy a questionnaire, with which the educators and their trainers will evaluate the program in which they participated . 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