This week, we're reposting a blog from our archives to complement new resources available for educators. As part of the Teaching Socio-Environmental Synthesis with Case Studies short course, held at SESYNC in July 2013, participants have produced a series of case studies for use in the classroom.
Click here to access the case studies (scroll down).
Click here to complete an instructor survey after using a case study in your classroom. (Your feedback is important to us!)
by CYNTHIA WEI
Assistant Director, Education and Outreach
What are the topics, concepts, and competencies associated with teaching socio-environmental synthesis (SES)?
By glancing at this word cloud generated by participants of the short course recently hosted at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), it is clear that SES involves a broad suite of topics, concepts, and competencies. However, the words above—though they hint at the complexity of SES—still do not capture the essence of what it means to teach SES, as it is more than just a collection of topics, concepts, and competencies. Rather, it is a problem-solving approach, and the key to learning about SES lies in the examples—in the details of the profound socio-environmental problems that SES addresses.
Stories are keys to student learning. Teaching is most effective when students are engaged, and a compelling way to draw students in is to relate the lesson to something students care about and are interested in. This is the basis of the case study method of teaching, a high-impact, active-learning pedagogy. Given the problem-based focus of SES, this approach is a good fit for teaching SES. Thus, a course that introduces participants to this teaching approach and helps them build SES-focused case study activities of their own serves as a good place to start our short course offerings.