ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Greening an English Program – Student Orientation

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Our goal for the orientation was to introduce students to environmentally responsible options for purchasing food and other items, and to give them information about recycling and waste disposal. We followed this outline during the two hour orientation.

We began by giving students an overview of the Greening HELP Project. We explained both how and why we wanted to make the IEP more environmentally friendly. Next, we gave students a brainstorming handout which asks a variety of questions and introduces some environmental vocabulary words. These questions deal with eating, shopping and disposing of waste in environmentally responsible ways and give students an opportunity to share their opinions and knowledge. Students discussed these questions in groups and then shared ideas as a class.

Next, we gave students an FAQ and an environmental information handout. The FAQ provides answers to the previous discussion questions, explaining the reasons behind certain environmentally responsible behaviors. The information handout gives names, addresses and contact information for local businesses offering environmentally friendly goods and services.

We then gave students a green directory. This directory informed students about a local community supported agriculture program, a farmer’s market and a couple of nearby natural food stores. We also gave them information on waste disposal and recycling in the area. We introduced them to Freecycle Honolulu and local thrift stores. Finally, we provided information about transportation including nearby bike shops and the public bus system.

For a review activity, students answered discussion questions and did roleplays. (This activity was cut short or dropped from most orientations due to time restrictions.) The last component of the orientation was a field trip. Each teacher walked with one group of students to one of the following locations: a nearby natural foods store, the natural foods section of the supermarket, a thrift store or a farmer’s market. At that location, we pointed out things that the students had learned about and answered their questions.

For more information on this aspect of the project, please listen to podcast #5.

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