Sustainability Education for ESL

In 2011 the Victorian Government provided funding to the Lalor Living & Learning Centre for an innovative project to develop awareness about environmental sustainability for people from non English speaking backgrounds or recent migrants.

Our Environment project team leader Sarah Poole worked closely with adult education staff at Lalor Living & Learning Centre to develop materials accessible to those with limited English. The project created six units under the title Our Environment (bringing sustainability to the ESL Community):

  • Unit 1: Climate Change
  • Unit 2: Energy Efficiency at Home
  • Unit 3: Managing Household Waste
  • Unit 4: Being Wise with Water
  • Unit 5: Smarter Shopping
  • Unit 6: Sustainable Transport

The Teaching Units are based on the nationally accredited Certificates in Spoken & Written English (CSWE) curriculum framework and include corresponding Teacher’s Notes, Image Support Files, Flash Cards and the Waste Game.  To cater for the busy ESL Teacher most of the activities can be taught independently of other activities in the unit and teachers are encouraged to adapt the materials to the ESL level and curriculum framework they are using. The Teacher’s Notes reveal the answers but also offer suggestions to make the activities more complex for higher ESL levels or less complex for lower ESL levels.

The initial project proposal imagined the development of a full set of resources freely available online. Unfortunately, due to restructures within the relevant Victorian government departments subsequent phases of the project did not take place.

Happily, after some time, CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) through their Sustainability for Organisations program became aware of the material.  You can now access the Our Environment (bringing sustainability to the ESL Community) units for free via their Sustainability Hub website.