Case Forest - pedagogy towards sustainable development
Case Forest aimed to improve teaching and learning about forests and how they influence our everyday life.
The project built upon a special pedagogy developed at the University of Eastern Finland, suitable for all education levels, from primary school to university. The specific objectives of the project were to:
• increase knowledge of the economic, environmental, social and cultural values of forests among compulsory school teachers
• promote the Case Forest methodology in the project partner countries and facilitate teaching about sustainable development in primary and secondary schools
• assess how the Case Forest methodology works in different countries and education systems
• improve the communication between forestry experts and the public.
The project designed and organised courses for teachers on the Case Forest pedagogy and produced teacher manual explaining in detail the concepts of the new method. The project also launched a dedicated website for each partner country where teachers can find all the course materials and manuals in their native language.
Working with Case Forest activity is divided into four main phases, which take place partly at school and partly in the chosen natural and cultural environment. The learning project emphasises collaborative activities. The learners work in small groups (3-6 persons) and the aim is that the team members have different kinds of expertise and skills. The role of teacher is to facilitate and guide the learning process; the teacher does not need to know everything, but must be an active member of the learning community seeking and evaluating knowledge. The idea is also to collaborate with external experts during the learning project.
Country: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden
Coordinator: Swedish Forest Agency, www.skogsstyrelsen.se
Target groups: college students, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university students, vocational school students
Topic: Environmental sciences, Forestry science
Start year: 2008
End year: 2010
Contact person: Marja Gustafsson, Swedish Forest Agency, marja.gustafsson (at) skogsstyrelsen.se
The Case Forest pedagogy is based on the perspective of developing an inquiry-based learning process. The inquiry activities should ideally be linked to the real world and meaningful to learners. The Case Forest pedagogy also asks learners to think about different aspects: economic, ecological, social or cultural.
By using the methodology in schools:
• children will become more interested in forests and forest related topics. They will also increase their creativity and joy in learning.
• children's ability to evaluate and make their own decisions about how forests should be used will increase.
• teachers will use other learning arenas than the classroom: forests, forest museums and forest industries and involve forestry experts in the teaching activities
In the Case Forest methodology children use a computer-based planning tool to plan in advance a field trip to a forest, forestry industry or a forest museum, and choose a problem they want to address. During the trip, they collect data and carry out their research; the results are then presented to their peers.
The four stages of the learning activity can be described as follows:
1. Articulation of the phenomenon
• Discussions about selected challenges and phenomena related to forests and forestry
• Choosing the driving question related to it
2. Designing the learning object
• Becoming familiar with the resources of the learning object
• Choosing the real object(s) to study
• Making the learning object plan
• Designing the structure
3. Data collection
• Collection of data during a field trip
4. Construction of the learning object
• Choosing, organising and integrating the collected data
• Design and implementation