Students from Edmund Rice College took their education into their own hands on Thursday, collaborating with University of Wollongong researchers to plan a series of classes on climate change.
The school's Year 10 boys put their heads together with experts to share exactly what they wanted to learn about climate change and sustainability, designing an 11-class unit of study for future Edmund Rice students.
Marcus Henriques-Takur, 16, said it was vital for young people to contribute to the climate change discussion, and to see a curriculum that explores not only the problems sparked by climate change, but also innovative solutions.
"We're going to be a generation dealing with the biggest consequences of climate change - we need to have a voice and an opinion, and to be involved in these discussions," he said.
Mr Henriques-Takur said he wants to see a strong emphasis on sustainability practices, and ways to work towards climate solutions.
Jonah Kaiser, 16, said their collaboration with researchers from the University of Wollongong's Centre of Excellence for Australia Biodiversity and Heritage and his own teachers would benefit students for years to come.
"The way they've brought Year 10 students in is really encouraging because it allows us to give feedback on the courses, which can also help younger years when they come into year ten to be more involved," he said.
For Mr Kaiser, putting climate change in a global perspective was an important element of the new unit, through exploring its implications both in Australia and overseas.
The unit will aim to explain the causes and consequences of climate change, incorporating global solutions, and approaches from first nations people, as well as individual actions to live sustainably.
University of Wollongong Professor Shirley Agostinho from the School of Education said the design challenge empowered students to express their opinion and guide their own learning.
"It's really important for students to share their opinion on what kind of things they want to learn about, to be empowered with strategies on how they can deal with climate change in their own environment," Professor Agostinho said.
Edmund Rice College Director of Learning Dr Gerry Sozio said it was wonderful for the students to exercise agency in their education and collaborate with not only their teachers, but with researchers and academics in the field.
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