Ghent University’s Centre for Sustainable Development coordinates a Belgian open schooling network that engages with the topic of sustainable cities and communities (Sustainable Development Goal 11). In this densely populated region, issues such as affordable and sustainable housing, safe and sustainable transportation, sustainable urbanisation and spatial planning, air quality, waste management, green public spaces, sustainable food production and consumption are hot topics.
In this network, we support schools and environmental education (EE) centres to collaborate with local stakeholders to utilise local sustainability challenges as fruitful learning environments for fostering scientific literacy for sustainability citizenship. Locally relevant sustainability challenges We have a particular focus on a tool for collaborative planning of open schooling practices focused on locally relevant sustainability challenges, LORET (Locally Relevant Teaching). In a first phase, researchers from Ghent University will collaborate with the government of Flanders (Eco-schools programme MOS) to support pilot schools and an EE centre in designing and implementing a LORET teaching plan.
Together with the MOS coaches and EduQuality, the researchers will support the schools and EE centre to identify and select locally relevant challenges to make their city and community more sustainable, connect them to the curriculum (learning objectives for diverse subjects as well as cross-curricular objectives) and co-create teaching and learning activities (lesson plans).
Based on these pilots, SEAS’ tools and methods will be further tailored and fine-tuned in view of a broad, efficient dissemination throughout Flanders in phase 2. An online manual, database and conference will facilitate the up-scaling of LORET-based open schooling in Flanders. Currently, pilot projects are being established in primary school De Sterrebloem and secondary schools Technisch Atheneum Merelbeke and Sint-Barbaracollege Gent.