Environmental Issues in the EFL Classroom

Environmental Issues in the EFL Classroom

Hameda Suwaed, Assistant Professor at the Department of English at the College of Arts and Education, Sabratha University, Libya, shares how she embeds environmental issues into the EFL classroom when teaching writing skills with her learners. I first met Hameda on the online course ‘Language Teaching for the Planet’ and have been so impressed by her knowledge and dedication to her students and how she empowers them to take positive action in this area. You can read a detailed article by Hameda, and articles by other teachers from around the world, by visiting the IATEFL Global Issues Special Interest Group’s publications page and downloading the publication “Creating Global Change”.

How I can integrate environmental issues in my writing classroom?

I was thinking about how I can integrate environmental issues in my writing classroom to raise my English language college students’ awareness about the environment so I decided to use a ‘providing solutions to problems’ essay to answer the question: how to protect the environment.

After explaining the structure of the ‘providing solutions to problems’ essay, I divided the students into small groups. Then, I asked them to choose an environmental issue in Libya through reading articles and reports and write an essay about it. Two groups selected rubbish as the main problem in the big cities such as Tripoli, and one group selected air pollution.  

After submitting the essay, the small groups presented the problem that they had selected and their solutions. There was general agreement among the students that the main problem is that people are not aware of the damage that they cause to the environment. Based on that, students made posters and signs to raise awareness among the other students about the environment. One group suggested recycling as a solution to the rubbish problem so they brought three rubbish bins with different signs to recycle the waste.

The outcome

The positive attitude that my students had encouraged me to think more of our role as language teachers to provide a safe space for our students to discuss the environmental issues that they have heard or read about and involve them in activities that will enhance their life skills and help them to be more responsible citizens.

How do you embed environmental issues into the EFL classroom in your skills lessons? If you have any ideas, share them in the comments or via the contact page!

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