Within the framework of this intellectual output (I.O.), the “Curriculum – Train the Trainer in the Field of Sustainable Development” with three modules ( lasting approx. 1 – 2 days each) will be designed, developed, and examined in 2 transnational practical tests. Further, the curriculum will be adapted and completed for further application and dissemination. During the desing phase of the curriculum, the VETSD (Vocational Education and Training for Sustainable Development) methods are taken into account and developed alongside “regular” teaching material. They include the training of mediation competences, diverse methods, as well as usage and support of information and communication technologies (ICT).
The three modules are oriented towards topics which are similar, or identical, in all partner countries in the training of the green professions:
- Soil Science
- Water Management
- Occupational Health and Safety
These topics are used to illustrate how VETSD can be taught to in-company and school trainers.
To ensure that the curriculum can be used in all partner countries, a baseline, valid for all three subjects, must be defined at the start. The framework concept for the curriculum is then built on top.
In agriculture in particular, in addition to scientific and technical innovations (agriculture 4.0 and the associated variety of new ICTs), there are high demands in terms of dealing with nature and the environment. In addition to the traditional forms of teaching and learning, new methodological and didactic approaches have to be developed and implemented in the course of the requirements of VETSD. These include:
- Promote sustainability in thinking (systemic thinking)
- Using ICT systematically to gain knowledge
- Generate actions from information (recognition of facts)
Furthermore, in order to convey professional ESD, the three dimensions of ecology, economy, and social equilibrium must be treated equally in all three thematic areas.
These guidelines and steps are necessary for the pedagogical framework. The trainers should learn how, with participatory approaches, the company and the school learning experiences can be combined with the personal experiences of each pupil, so that they learn to reflect their own actions.
The curriculum is intended to help trainers enable a holistic approach, or understanding of “systems”. This teaches their students how to deal with and shape complex and contradictory problems and systems. For this it is necessary to develop an understanding and an attitude of sustainability on the basis of job-related teaching material.
Here are the technical contents: soil, water and occupational health and safety are well suited for presenting complex systems, networks, processes and chains of action. Thus, this trains holistic thinking and promotes design skills in pupils.
As a possible example, the negative impact chain triggered by intensive agricultural use, pollutant and fertilizer inputs, and soil compaction can be put in relation with a closed-loop farm management and thus long-term soil conservation.
This also requires innovative forms of education such as explorative teaching and learning methods (excursions, farm rallies) and “blended learning”, which become a core part of the curriculum. The use of ICT as a central element of information and knowledge gathering can be used to support this. ICT thus becomes an important component for the promotion of action and design competences. The application is additionally conducive to closer cooperation between school and practice (company), e.g. through the ICT-controlled integration of theory and practice.
Another element is the integration of explanatory videos and other visual methods for the explanation and clarification of certain teaching material, contexts, complex systems and networks, i.e. systemic thinking.
The development of the modules will take into account the European dimension with regard to European directives and standards, e.g. Directive 2009/128/EC establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides and corresponding competences (health and safety at work). Additionally, in the area of soil and water there are European guidelines which apply in all countries.
I.O. 1 provides an example of how training for trainers can be designed from a sustainable point of view.
The transferability of the curriculum to other training and higher education institutions, as well as transnationally and other content-related areas, will prove to be very practicable through the combination of the guideline and its contents.
Humboldt University coordinates this intellectual output and sets standards in terms of content. In addition, in the first Transnational Meeting, after templates and presentations by the partners, an agreement was reached on the aims, contents, and methods of the curriculum, on a baseline for the technical contents, on pedagogical approaches, and digital solutions. Based on these requirements, the tasks are assigned to each partner, but may be adapted in the course of development:
- Determining the role of individual partners, such as thematic or sectoral responsibilities on the basis of specific expertise. Here, for example, the partner FMM can contribute its expertise in operational and regional recycling management with the practised Dehesa farm management.
- The presentation of methodological approaches on which the partner organisations have expertise and experiences. Our Austrian partners from HAUP/Wien with their extensive experience in implementing VETSD criteria in the education and training of agricultural teachers, which has won many ESD awards, should be mentioned here.
- The presentation on the use of ICTs in education. Here the partners of Joanneum/Graz are a great enrichment to the project.
- The description of the direct and indirect target groups and the possible national differences with regard to the prerequisites and working and learning conditions of the target groups (trainers and pupils). Here all partners with their individual fields of work are .
- The LWK Niedersachsen with direct access to many and different training companies, as well as inter-company training centres and trainers.
In the period leading up to the next workshop, the various tasks defined at the workshops will be worked on by each individual or in national working groups. In case of problems, a solution via Skype or email will be reached.
In order to further develop the content of the curriculum, both the VETSD mission statement, drawn up in the I.O. 2 / Guideline, and the VETSD checklist for agriculture will be compared and tested immediately.
The curriculum is developed further in the various steps. The results of the work are presented and brought together at the workshops.
During step 4, the curriculum of vocational instructors and in-company trainers, from all partner countries, will be tested in Spain at the FMM training company – the practical test will be evaluated and the curriculum adjusted. This will be followed by another practical test in Germany. The curriculum is then completed, translated into all languages, printed, and distributed digitally.