Teaching Future Sustainability Leaders in K-12:
How can cross-sectoral groups support secondary educators as they work towards teaching sustainability-related topics?
In our current climate crisis, some educators strive to teach sustainability education, but our current education system limits their content, time, and resources to take action.
The Dow Innovation Teacher Fellowship (DITF), sponsored by the Dow Company Foundation, aims to provide educators with more support for teachers on their journey to become better stewards of the environment. DITF is implemented through the University of Michigan’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER). DITF supports the education of teachers in the Saginaw-Midland-Bay City tricity area of Michigan on sustainability education methods, through professional development opportunities. The program integrates sustainability across school subjects, to support the execution of interdisciplinary sustainability learning units in middle and high school classrooms using project and place-based pedagogical methods.
This DITF case follows DITF Fellow Phil Schwedler, an eighth-grade teacher from Freeland Middle School. This case will focus on Phil's experience from the summer professional development workshop, through lesson creation and implementation, to how other practitioners can participate in similar work. Trying something new as a teacher is always risky, but teaching in times of environmental crisis brings new challenges. The Dow Innovation Fellows Program offers supportive partnerships and professional development for educators.
The purpose of our research with Phil was to develop an inaugural CEDER Michigan Sustainability Case Study about how teachers develop and implement place-based sustainability education. The case is set up to narrate these experiences in order to reach a broad range of audiences with specific helpful insights to aid educators and other sustainability education organizations in their future endeavors with this work.