A workshop for UNESCO Associated Schools in Gifu Prefecture in FY2014
Gifu University held a workshop for UNESCO Associated Schools in Gifu Prefecture in FY2014 at Gifu University Satellite Campus nearby JR Gifu Station on Wednesday, September 17.
Gifu University, a member of UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPUnivNet), has held this workshop since FY2012 as part of the Japan-UNESCO Partnership Project conducted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) will be held in Japan this year, and under such circumstance ESD has been gathering broad attention. Under the theme of this year's workshop "Expanding ESD activities in school and improving its quality", guest lecturers who are engaged in activities of ESD or UNESCO Associated Schools spoke before the participants.
The workshop started with an opening speech from Dr. Fumiaki Suzuki, Director of the Gifu University Office for Academic Globalization. Following the speech, Prof. Kenichi Matsumoto of the Faculty of Human Development (University of Toyama), Specially-Appointed Associate Prof. Yukiko Kobayashi of the Center for Collaborative Study with Community (Gifu University) and Mr. Hiroshi Ono, Senior Teacher of Okayama Prefectural Wakesizutani Senior High School gave a lecture or presentation respectively. Prof. Matsumoto of the University of Toyama said the goal of ESD is cultivating "a warm-hearted human being" that is a person who can accept diversity and think about future, and it is important to realize warm feelings which children naturally have and embrace it. Specially-Appointed Associate Prof. Kobayashi of the Center for Collaborative Study with Community encouraged utilization of local government, NPO, or associations in the prefecture when practicing ESD such as environmental education in school. Mr. Ono, Senior Teacher of Okayama Prefectural Wakesizutani Senior High School, spoke about the case that awareness of students was raised through UNESCO activities such as volunteer work taking advantage of historic resources in the region. Mr. Ono also mentioned that ESD would not be so difficult if introducing educational measures, including group learning and considering the link between educational materials, into classes.
Roughly 20 faculty and staff working for elementary schools and junior and senior high schools in Gifu Prefecture and UNESCO Association staff attended the workshop, and they listened attentively to lectures. At a panel discussion led by Prof. Toru Tatsumi of English Education Course (Faculty of Education) in the latter half of the workshop, participants actively exchanged information on ESD.
After the workshop, we received feedback from the participants such as "It was very helpful." and "As a teacher, I learned the importance of ESD for educational activities we are currently pursuing in the school." It was a great opportunity to deepen participants' understanding of ESD and reflect that into ESD practice in their respective schools.
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