What conditions are needed to realise climate protection, environment education and sustainable development? How should school education be organised to raise environmental awareness among primary school pupils and teachers and motivate them to take an active role in environmental protection? These are some of the question that the joint Sino-German research project seeks to answer. The project is jointly supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Zhejiang International Studies University (ZISU) and the Teacher Education Centre of the City of Shanghai. The steering group of the University of Passau, led by the Chair of Education/Primary and Pre-Primary Education, provides the academic guidance for the project, which runs from 2015 to 2017.
'The project is interesting not only for its implications for education, but also for its global reach,' said Professor Christina Hansen, who carries the overall responsibility for the project at Passau. 'Climate does not adhere to national borders. We have to raise environmental awareness of school pupils and teachers before it is too late.' This long-term learning outcome will be ensured primarily by implementing ten teaching and learning modules in the area of environmental education in 27 primary schools across five Chinese provinces, said Christina Hansen.
'The Chinese economy has been one of the fastest-growing in the past 30 years, and the price for this growth is our environment', said Professor Wu Weidong of Zhejiang International Studies University. 'Environmental protection is not just something we can leave to the experts – it's up to each and every one of us. We wish to share our experiences with the German experts to improve how we teach environmental subjects at our primary schools.'
Janne Leino, Project Head at Hanns Seidel Foundation in Shanghai, said that the next stage of the project will provide opportunities for Passau's teacher education students to complete a teaching internship at Chinese primary schools. This approach is particularly valuable to German teacher education students, who will become tomorrow's teachers, as they gain a glimpse of the challenges involved in teaching classes with pupils from differing cultural backgrounds. Professor Chen Xiaoping of the Teacher Education Centre of the City of Shanghai lauded the intercultural exchanges between Passau and Shanghai, saying that 'working together with the University of Passau has broadened our horizons and helped us along our path to internationalisation.'
Another important area of the collaboration with ZISU Hangzhou was initiated by Professor Michler, by starting a large empirical research project which involves studying the preconceptions of Chinese and Bavarian students and teachers as to what constitutes good classroom teaching. This project is led by the Chair of Chair of Educational Science with a focus on Empirical Research on Teaching and Learning, held by Professor Jutta Mägdefrau, and aims to make the education standards for teacher education and training usable for teacher education in China.
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