The UN 2015 sustainable development (SD) agenda requires a united effort to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for everyone. Lifelong learning and education are key to this vision. SDG 4.7 aims to ensure that by 2030 all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote SD, including through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
PEERMENT is a three year Erasmus + project coordinated by the University of Malta through its Centre for Environmental Education and Research (CEER). The project was conceptualised via two main considerations:
- Teachers’ training is a crucial tool for school innovation and improvement. Mentoring and Peer-Mentoring are among the most effective ways of staff training but they are rarely used in European systems of Formal Education. Annually, many teachers leave courses enthusiastic to put into practice initiatives that encourage SD, yet upon returning to their classroom, their passion is often challenged by day-to-day work realities. Avenues that rekindle their desire become crucial and research indicates continual engagement to be effective.
- ESD is becoming increasingly important, especially for new generations who are set to face dramatic and new global challenges. Unfortunately, national policies do not currently foresee adequate “accompanying measures” at the level of teachers’ training. Teachers are required to have new and unprecedented competences: to lead pupils toward values of peace, solidarity and democracy, and simultaneously allow them to understand complex phenomena using knowledge from different subjects. Currently, none of the existing national systems of teachers’ training in the EU appear able to support teachers in this challenge.
The project aims to lay out, test and disseminate a new model of Mentoring and Peer-Mentoring for ESD. This will be done through a process of Action/Research involving around 20 Education Specialists as teacher’s trainers and senior mentors, and about 50 teachers as mentors through purposefully set up Local Testing Groups.
The first desired impact is to spread and improve the use of Mentoring and Peer Mentoring approach and ESD in a combined way. The second is a wider use of Mentoring, and Peer-Mentoring in initial and in-service training, for disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary subjects.