This is an icebreaker in which participants work in pairs to share their
perceptions of 'best practice' and then report their discussion to a new
pair of participants. The activity develops skills of active listening and
encourages participants to work with others they do not know.
- Display OHT 1 which presents an overview of
- Explain how these activities are designed to build on the understandings
of the nature, scope and purpose of coastal and marine studies, especially
the ways in which this can contribute to education for ecologically
sustainable development developed in Module 1.
- Ask each participant to locate a person he/she does not know (or does
not know very well) and to arrange their chairs so that they are sitting
relatively close to each other, face-to-face, for a conversation.
- Ask one person in each pair to volunteer to be an 'active listener'.
Briefly review the principles of active listening - good eye contact,
open posture, smiles and nods, etc.
- The 'speaker' in each pair is to think briefly, then speak for three
minutes on the topic of 'best practice in coastal and marine studies'.
OHT 2 provides some guidelines.
- After the three minutes, ask the 'speakers' and 'active listeners'
to swap roles and repeat the process.
- Ask each pair to join another to make a group of four and invite each
person in the group, in turn, to report to the group on what he/she
learnt about 'best practice' from his/her partner while being an 'active
- Ask each group of four to decide on one key point from their discussions
that they think would be of value to the whole group.
- Hear group reports of these 'key points', making a list on an OHT,
board or chart of these important points. These points will be used
again in the conclusion.
2. Defining Best Practice
- Introduce the activity by reminding participants of the nature, scope
and purpose of coastal and marine studies which were explored in Module 1.
You may like to use some of the OHTs from Module 1 as reminders.
- Explain that the term 'best practice' has two aspects within schools.
Therefore, there are two sides to the question, 'What is 'best practice'?'
The first response could be 'What and how teachers are teaching in their
courses, programmes and field activities.' The second is 'What learning
outcomes students are gaining from doing these courses, programmes and
- What teachers are doing in schools, and
- What students are getting out of it.
- Make the point that a variety of teaching and learning strategies
can contribute to 'best practice' and that what counts as 'best practice'
will vary between teachers, schools and regions depending on local contexts
- Explain that this activity requires participants to work in groups
to design a poster which outlines a framework for describing 'best practice'
in coastal and marine studies.
- Photocopy Resource 1 so that there
is one copy per group of 3-4 participants.
- Cut out group sets of the small slips from Resource 1 and place
each set in an envelope.
- Obtain sets of pens, chart paper, paste, etc. for each group.
Running the Activity
- Give each group an envelope containing a set of slips of paper (Resource 1)
and a sheet of chart paper, pens and paste.
- Ask participants to firstly divide the slips from their envelope into
two groups - 'heading' slips and 'note point' slips.
- Ask the participants to discuss the 'heading' slips in the envelope,
and then to categorise the 'note point' slips under each of the 'heading'
slips. Encourage groups to add extra note points and examples as they
- Ask the groups to arrange the 'heading' and 'note point' slips into
a diagram (or concept map) in order to show the relationship between
the different aspects of 'best practice' in coastal and marine studies.
- Ask participants to lay out and glue the groups of slips on the chart
paper in such a way as to show the relationships between the ideas.
The pens can be used to draw boxes, lines, arrows or anything else that
helps explain the group's views on what a Best Practice Framework for
coastal and marine studies would be like.
- Ask the groups to display and present a brief report that outlines
the Best Practice Framework that they have developed.
- Show OHT 3 (and hand out a copy) to each participant.
Explain that this is a sample Best Practice Framework that was developed
after interviews with coastal and marine studies teachers in fourteen
schools across Australia. Briefly discuss this example with the group
noting points that are on Resource 1
but which are not on OHT 3, and adding any extra points of their
- Ask each group to revise its Best Practice Framework to take account
of the discussion of various frameworks developed by the other groups
and OHT 3.
3. Guidelines For Including
Aboriginality In Environmental Education
The Best Practice Framework on OHT 3 developed from
the case studies in fourteen schools did not emphasise Aboriginal perspectives
on the coast and sea. Sadly, this is not unusual, as indigenous perspectives
do tend to be a neglected dimension of environmental education in general.
However, no discussion of 'best practice' can ignore this very important
- Reading 1 provides a set of suggestions,
organised as five principles (OHT 4) for
helping overcome this omission. Copies should be provided to all participants.
- However, by far the best way of addressing this issue is to invite
Aboriginal participation in the workshop (see Principle 1), especially
from the local community, Aboriginal educational advisers, or Aboriginal
officers in natural resource management agencies.
- Divide participants into five groups and allocate one principle per
group. Allow 10-15 minutes for discussion on including Aboriginality
in environmental education in schools and then hear group reports.
4. Windows On Classrooms
This activity requires participants to apply their Best Practice Frameworks
to the evaluation of several examples of coastal and marine studies in practice.
Two options are provided for this activity, according to the length of time
available. The first option examines six classroom settings, while the second
option investigates three school programmes and should only be undertaken
if there is time for extensive reading.
- Distribute copies of either Resource 2
containing descriptions of six sample coastal and marine lessons and/or
activities or Resource 3 which
includes a more detailed description of three school programmes, to
- Ask the groups to read the descriptions and to answer the following
questions (on OHT 5 and also listed on
Resources 2 and 3):
- How do the lessons/programmes relate to your Best Practice Framework
(or, if you prefer, to the one in OHT 3)?
- Which of the six lessons/three programmes would you most like
to teach? Why?
- Are any of the six lessons/three programmes not really 'good'
examples of coastal and marine studies? Why?
- How do each of the examples help students learn for a sustainable
- What distinctive skills did the teachers in the examples need
to make these activities a success?
- Participants briefly report back to the whole group on their discussions
and answers to the questions.
- Refer participants to the list of key points recorded on an OHT, white
board or chart paper from Activity 1.
These are the points participants thought were very important at the
start of the workshop.
- Ask them whether they would like to add additional points about 'best
practice' in coastal and marine studies after experiencing the workshop.
- Ask each group to select the three points that they believe are most
important and justify their selections.
- Ask participants to identify the skills they will need to be able
to integrate these three points into their teaching.