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Teach-In How-To

Engage Hundreds in Your Climate / Justice Dialogue

 A Teach-In is an educational forum that creates solutions-oriented discussion among participants-- and is designed to maximize student or community engagement. What should your Climate / Justice teach-in look like? Any event can qualify, and we urge you to be creative.  Below we offer easy-to-organize models for three-hour teach-ins:

Feel free to follow these models, or design your own event. It can last an hour, three hours, or all day.  If your team has the bandwidth, make this an event featuring music, art and educational displays about campus sustainability, regional climate solutions, and justice in the transition.  Bigger events can involve thousands of students-- and we need to do that. 

                   Sign-Up With Your Intent to Hold a Teach-In Today!

Your event will then appear on our interactive map. You don't need to have any specifics or even a confirmed date. You can add full event details later. For now, just plant your flag and let others know there will be an event on your campus or in your community on or around 3/30/22. The Teach-In will start to go viral when people see events popping up all over the world-- please do sign up today! 

College/University: The Three-Hour Teach-In

The Key to Success? Faculty Involvement

This model three-hour teach-in is designed to maximize student engagement by maximizing faculty involvement. It is EASY TO ORGANIZE-- really-- a team of 2 or 3 faculty/staff/students can get it done it in a few hours. The idea is a series of concurrent panels in which climate concerned faculty from multiple disciplines each talk for five minutes about climate change from their disciplinary perspective.  Using this model, it is easy to get more than thirty faculty participating, and that means hundreds of students engaged in serious dialog about climate solutions. For a detailed explanation see this video, and read on below. For additional detail, please download our Teach-In How To.  

Faculty do not need to be climate experts, as their job is just to speak for 5 minutes from their disciplinary perspectives and then help lead discussion. Very little prep, and an opportunity for them to help drive climate dialogue. Climate-concerned faculty will be glad to have been asked. 

Here is the structure, followed by the three steps to organize a high-impact Teach-in.  As soon as practical, please register your teach-in on our interactive map so that volunteers who want to help can find you. 

Group Welcome: 15 Minutes.  Includes a 5-minute video from the WorldWide Teach-In

Hour 1:    Panel 1              Panel 2            Panel 3         Panel  4    

Hour 2:    Panel 5            Panel 6           Panel 7          Panel 8 

Hour 3:     Concluding Panel or Activity: What My School or Organization Can Do

Step 1:  Select your faculty panels from the list below. Modify as needed. Four panels per hour means 32 faculty  panelistts and 8 student moderators. The more more faculty panelists, the more students will be required/inspired by faculty to attend. Recruit students to moderate the panels. Your teach-in will be attended by hundreds of students, many of whom would not nornally attend a "climate event".

Step 2:   Brainstorm the climate-concerned faculty from across your school.  Match them with the topics in the panels. Send them an e-mail invitation. 95% will say yes! They only need to speak for 5 minutes-- very little prep-- and then lead discussion. They will be excited to participate.

Step 3: Reserve your rooms.  Use the templates for sample posters, programs and email ads that we will provide. Starting March 1, 2022: Promote. 

DONE! Note there is no need to invite external experts, which makes organizing the event much simpler.  There is no budget required.  All of the participants can be internal, building energy for further climate engagement at your school.  Also, Presidents and Deans will love this event: it is very rare to have this kind of institution-wide interdisciplainary dialogue. So take credit for that.  

Use this SAMPLE E-MAIL and copy this SAMPLE GOOGLE FORM to let colleagues know to save the date, and to recruit faculty volunteers. 

Sample Panels

SESSION 1 (First Hour)
1. Climate and Justice                                                                                                     2. Climate Science: What You Need to Know
  Moderator: Student                                                                                                          Moderator: Student
  The Green New Deal, Economics Faculty                                                                    Is it Too Late?  Physics Faculty
  Climate & Global Inequality, Politics Faculty                                                              Climate and Water,  Environmental Studies Faculty
  Climate Dividends: Where Should the Revenue Go?,  Politics Faculty                  Local Impacts, Biology Faculty
  Investing in Our Communities, Sociology Faculty                                                     Responding to Skeptics,  Physics Faculty

3. Winning the Story Wars                                                                                            4. Climate Solutions, Global Perspectives
  Moderator: Student                                                                                                           Moderator: Student
  Climate Stroytelling, Film Faculty                                                                                   Roundtable with four Faculty representing 
  Communicating Science & Solutions,  Communications Faculty                            different country perspectves
  The Case for Stewardship, Philosophy and Religion Faculty
   A Finer Future is Possible,  Environmental Studies Faculty 

SESSION 2 (Second Hour)
5. Climate Solutions,  YOUR COUNTRY                                                                          6. Dealing with Climate Depression
   Moderator: Student                                                                                                            Moderator: Student
   University Climate Commitment,  Chief Sustainability Officer                                Artists Respond to Climate, Arts Faculty                   
   State or City Climate Policy,  Local Expert on Faculty                                                Moving Beyond Avoidance, Psychology Faculty
   The National Politics of Solutions, Politics Faculty                                                      Mourn, then Organize, Sociology Faculty
    YOUR Country and the UNFCCC,  International Relations Faculty                        Writing about Climate, Literature Faculty

7. Cities and Climate                                                                                                         8. Climate Solutions,  Energy, Agriculture, Forests

   Moderator: Student                                                                                                             Moderator: Student
   Summer in the City: Heat Waves, History Faculty                                                        The Solar+Storage Revolution, Business Faculty
   Cities and Sea Level Rise,  Anthropology Faculty                                                         Regenerative Agriculture, Biology Faculty
   YOUR CITY Tackles the Climate, Local Expert on Faculty                                            Protecting Forests,  Biology Faculty
   Reimagining Cities, Architecture Faculty                                                                       Electric Vehicles Everywhere: How Soon?, Business Faculty

CONCLUDING  PANEL (Third Hour)

What We Can Do
  Moderator: Environmental Studies Faculty
  Rise-Up, Student
  Vote, Political Studies Faculty
  Organize, Sociology Professor
  Educate, Dean of Civic Engagement
  Entrepreneur, Business Faculty
  How YOUR SCHOOL Can Lead, Chief Financial Officer or President

OR

Taking Action on Your Campus and In Your Community
Our College/University's Sustainability or Climate Action Plan - Campus Sustainability Director
Putting our Money where our Mouth is through Investments - VP for Finance or other Financial Officer
Engaging Our Students - leader of student climate, sustainability or environmental organization
Connecting Campus and Community - local public official or community leader.
 

ALTERNATE IDEA FOR CONCLUDING PANEL (Third Hour)

Host a screening for the Teach-in Participants of your regional "Global Dialog". This is a university-hosted webinar from your region featuring climate experts, indigenous voices, and youth activists, talking about ambitious climate solutions relevant to your audience. OR, show the Global Dialog the the night before, or earlier in the day.  For more on the Global Dialogs, see below.

Additional Panel Ideas

Food Systems, Climate Solutions                                                                                   Solve Climate, Advance the SDGS

   Moderator: Student                                                                                                             Moderator: Student
   Food Justice and Climate, Sociology Faculty                                                                #5 Gender Equality,  Sociology Faculty
   Transitioning to Regenerative,  Economics Faculty                                                     #14 Life Below Water, Biology Faculty
   Plant Rich Diets Cut Carbon,  Science Faculty                                                              #10 Reduced Inequalities, Economics Faculty
   Composting/Biochar, Biology Faculty                                                                            #12 Responsible Production and Consumption, Business Faculty

Theater Performance: How To Talk About Climate                                                                        

  Student actors present three short plays:                                                                                                            
   How to Talk to a Disengaged Student                            
   How to Talk to a Climate-Skeptic Adult                                                    
   How to Talk to a College President                                                             
   (Scripts for this session are coming!)                                   

Sample Poster and Program from 2020 Three-Hour Teach-In at Bard College

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Global Dialogs:    Climate Videos Many Languages

The Three-Hour Teach-In is easy to organze since you do not need to invite any outside experts. The Global Dialogs in turn make it easy to engage your student with climate experts from your region and in your language. These are University-hosted webinars featuring climate scientists and policy-makers, indigenous and community leaders, and student activists. Here are the recorded webinars from April 2021. To view the 2021 locations, click on the map to the left.  You can screen these at no cost as part of your teach-in- either as the concluding panel, or as a pre-event earlier in the day or week.  

students-who-care-about-climate

More Teach-In Models: 

Grades 7-12

What would a three-hour after school or evening teach-in look like for a high school or middle school? See the model below. Note on Timing: The Teach-in can be on or around March 30; it could be a week later or earlier. If the teach-in is earlier, students who want to do more can attend their local college teach-in on March 30th.

Sign-Up to Hold Your Teach-In Today!

Your event will then appear on our interactive map. You don't need to have any specifics or even a confirmed date. You can add full event details later. For now, just plant your flag and let others know there will be an event on your campus or in your community on or around 3/30/22. The Teach-In will start to go viral when people see events popping up all over the world-- please do sign up today! 

We also have suggestions HERE for one-hour Teach-Ins, including lessons and videos about global warming solutions in multiple language from universities around the world. 

Organizing The Three-Hour Teach-In (High School / Middle School)

CORE PRINCIPLE-- Make the Teach-In very interactive.  Limit one-way information delivery to 10 minute videos or 5 minute talks. The student participants leave excited and energized to learn and do more.  For the Teach-In Discussions,  enlist  faculty, staff, alums, parents and community members to serve as small group leaders.

In advance--  Have students do posters/artwork or create music illustrating their thoughts and feelings about climate change. Put these up on display at the venue. (and/or create a slideshow of these images)

Tip-- Screen the Climate Solutions Video from your region of the world found here. There may be several 5-10 minute segments that would complement the sessions below. 

This is a suggestion for a fun, easy to organize and engaging event. For more ideas, see this page. Get Creative!

WELCOME

6:00-6:10 PM Entire Group. Includes 5 minute video from WorldWide Teach-In. Begin with a welcome and local introduction. 

FIRST HOUR: Why Are We Here?

6:10-6:30 PM. Entire Group. Intro Panel (Two Faculty, Principal, Two Students, Student moderator):  What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words “climate change”? What would you like to know more about? On a big piece of paper, next to each person’s name, write their answers to the two questions.

--Before breaking into groups, show:

NASA’s Earth Minute: Gas Problem (1 minute) video 

Be Courageous (3 minute) video. (ADD LINK) 

6:35-7:05. Small Groups.  All participants answer the same two questions, followed by discussion that could include partial answers to some of the questions. On a big piece of paper, next to each person’s name, each small group moderator writes their answers to the two questions. Local Teach-in Organizers commit to summarizing “what comes to mind” and answering the climate change questions via a follow-up email after the conference. 

7:05-7:15 PM Break

SECOND HOUR: Just Climate Solutions

7:15-8:00 PM  Small Group Discussions (two sets of 30 minutes) around some of the JUST SOLUTIONS topics such as:  

  • Solar Power
  • Reducing Food Waste
  • Just Transition: Frontline Communities
  • Just Transition: Who gets Green Jobs and Green Tech?
  • Local actions - what is happening in your community and how can students be involved?
  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Story-Telling and Climate Communication
  • Circular Economy Business Models 
  • Circular Economy Consumption: Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle
  • Protecting Forests
  • Artists, Film-Makers and Climate Change
  • Religion and Climate Change
  • Electric Cars and Trucks
  • How Batteries Help Solve Climate Change
  • Farming the Ocean-- MORE HERE  
Optional: Introduce this discussion by showing Unit 2 of Drawdown, Minute 12:15 to 16:20

8:00-8:10 PM Break

THIRD HOUR: What We Can Do

8:10-8:50 PM Small Groups.  Careers and Action to Solve Global Warming. 

Have several breakout rooms including brief presentations/demonstrations about climate careers, climate-solution college majors and programs or action by local colleges and universities, non-profits or businesses working on climate solutions. Include three presenters in each room, with 5 minutes each for presentations/demonstrations. Appoint student+faculty moderators to prepare questions for the presenters or activities for the audience.  

Alternative (but more work): organize a climate justice education, careers and action fair where local colleges and universities, businesses and non-profits have tables around a large space where students and parents can visit, ask questions and get information.

Before the break, have post-its on the wall that ask two questions: What is one thing I learned tonight?  What is something I can do to solve global warming I had never heard of before? Give people five minutes to write their answers. Teach-in Organizers commit to summarizing the responses via a follow-up email after the conference. 

Option for middle schools: show and discuss Young Voices for the Planet film about 3 eleven-year olds who help get solar on their school roof.

8:55-9:15 PM Entire Group.

Show the WorldWide Teach-In Concluding Video featuring youth voices from around the world (5 minutes). End by encouraging participants to attend local Earth Day events. If the Teach-In is held before your local University Teach-In, encourage students to attend that event.

DONE!

sustainability-masters-student-1

More Teach-In Models: 

Grades K-6

K-6 Schools are welcome to participate in the Teach-In!  Plant your flag today and inspire other schools to join. The best way to engage K-6 students in climate education is  through interactive teaching. The key is to avoid frightening students with gloom and doom, and instead to spark their curiosity.  We have found lots  great climate education resources for the classroom in English.  Please send links to similar resources in other languages to solveclimate2030@gmail.com! We will post them here: Spanish / French / Arabic / Portuguese / Russian / Japanese / Chinese / Korean / Hindi.

faith-based-group

More Teach-In Models: 

Faith Communities

A Faith Community Teach-In educates people about the ethical and justice dimensions of the climate crisis, and how they and their faith community can advance just solutions. Below is a model of a three-hour teach-in that can be adapted to the particular community and its members. The event can be shortened or carried  out over more than one day, and can be in-person (most powerful) or virtual. 

Sign Up to Hold Your Teach-In Today!

Your event will then appear on our interactive map. You don't need to have any specifics or even a confirmed date. You can add full event details later. For now, just plant your flag and let others know there will be an event in your community on or around 3/30/22. The Teach-In will start to go viral when people see events popping up all over the world-- please do sign up today! 

We also have suggestions HERE with resources for faith community Teach-Ins, including lessons and videos about global warming solutions in multiple language from universities around the world.

To read about how each of the major world religions are addressing this crisis, select a tradition from the sidebar at https://fore.yale.edu/World-Religions

 

Organizing The Three-Hour Teach-In (Faith Communities)

Faith Teach-Ins help their members explore personal connections with nature and justice in the context of the climate emergency. Such events can be especially powerful if they take place partially in the outdoors.

CORE PRINCIPLE-- Make the Teach-In very interactive.  Limit one-way information delivery to 10-minute videos or five-minute presentations. Community members should leave excited and energized to learn and do more.  

In advance--  Have young people complete posters/artwork or create music illustrating their thoughts and feelings about climate change. Put these up on display at the venue. (and/or create a slideshow of these images)

Tip-- Screen the Climate Solutions Video from your region of the world found here. There may be several 5-10 minute segments that would complement the sessions below. 

This is a suggestion for a fun, easy-to-organize and engaging  three-hour event. For more ideas, see this page. Get Creative!

WELCOME

6:00-6:15 PM Show the five-minute introductory video from the WorldWide Teach-In. Begin with a welcome  from faith community leaders.

FIRST HOUR: Why Are We Here?

Personal reflection –15 min. Begin with an experiential exercise that connects you to the place where you are located. This can include touching the grass or dirt on the ground, looking up at the sky, noticing life forms you see around you (such as trees, bugs, birds), or simply taking a few deep breaths outside, mindful of the air as it goes in and out of your lungs. Close your eyes and bring the whole Earth into your consciousness, including where you are located.

Reflect on how people related to this same place throughout time. This may include acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples. It can also include a meditation on the changes brought about by industry and economic development.

Consider whether and how the climate has changed already. Think about experiences you have had and/or experiences you have heard about. Consider how these changes have affected different people in different ways, and also how they have affected nonhuman life.

Speakers (5 min each):

  • What is causing climate change and what could stop it? – local scientist or climate activist
  • What does justice have to do with climate? – faith community member or activist
  • How does your faith teach you to respond to the climate crisis?– faith leader or community member

General discussion and Q/A – (15 minutes)

7:00-7:10 PM Break

SECOND HOUR:  Climate and Faith

7:10-8:05 PM  Concurrent breakout sessions –  panel discussions or facilitated discussions with one or more speakers/resource people.  Consider holding two 25-minute sets of panels so people can join more than one discussion. 

Option 1: Climate change and its consequences. What manifestations of the changing climate do you see in your life and in the life of your community? What role does wealth or poverty play in the consequences? What role did wealth or poverty play in causing climate change? What other elements of justice (such as race, gender, national origin) are involved in either the causes or consequences?

Option 2: Spiritual and ethical aspects of the climate crisis.

  • Sacred text or teaching: choose a relevant sacred text or teaching from your tradition, read it together (taking turns reading it aloud, as you wish), and pause for a few moments of silence to take it in. (You may also want to allow people to read it silently to themselves before you read it aloud.) Discuss how it guides your understanding of climate change.
  • Ritual and ceremony: choose one from your tradition reflect on what it may offer to those who are grappling with the climate crisis. If appropriate, you can experience some version of it together with that in mind (examples could include guided meditation, blessing of food, passing of the peace).

Option 3: What can our faith community do collectively? How does climate change fit with the social justice mission of your faith community? How could you incorporate it into that work? Brainstorm about the reach and assets of your faith community, including buildings, land, programs, gatherings. How can they help move towards solutions and how quickly can you make the changes to do so?

Option 4: What can we do as individuals? Share your story. How did you become aware of the climate issue? Has it changed your behavior and if so, how? Have you engaged others in the climate issue and if so, how was it successful or unsuccessful? What will you commit to doing as part of the solution?

8:00-8:10 Break

THIRD HOUR: What We Can Do

Optional: Introduce this discussion by showing Unit 2 of Drawdown, Minute 12:15 to 16:20

8:10-9:00. Brief reports (5 min each) from breakout groups

Discussion – what should we be doing as a community and as individuals?  Next steps?

9:00-9:10 PM  Conclusion

Show the WorldWide Teach-In Concluding Video featuring youth voices from around the world (5 minutes). End by encouraging participants to attend local Earth Day events. If the Teach-In is held before your local University Teach-In, encourage participants to attend that event.

DONE!

Resources for Faith Communities regarding Climate Change and Climate Justice

To learn more about how world religions are addressing climate change, visit The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology https://fore.yale.edu/World-Religions which links to resources such as the following: