Every year on 5 October, World Teachers’ Day celebrates teachers’ efforts in transforming education around the world, while acknowledging the support and resources they need to excel in their vocation as well as reevaluating the way forward for this profession.

At the LearningPlanet Alliance, we strive to highlight and hear from teachers leading the way forward from all over the world. Read on to meet Glória Cristina Marques Coelho Miyazawa, who is a teacher at the Federal Institute of Education inSão Roque, Brazil. She is passionate about environmental education, which has been one of the key focuses of her teachings for over 20 years.

How does one become a climate educator?

I believe everyone should be concerned about climate issues because of how present they are in all of our lives. From this concern on, people who seek knowledge about the subject get out of their comfort zone and start to see more clearly the need to become a climate educator and contribute to the dissemination of scientific information to all kinds of audiences.

However, it is important to note that the theme is quite complex and must be addressed in depth so that people can have a correct understanding of it.

Who or what are your sources of inspiration?

I have three materials that I consider a source of inspiration for working on climate education in high school and that I use as references in my classes. They are:

  1. Climate Change in the Classroom: UNESCO course for secondary school teachers (elementary II and high school) on climate change education and sustainable development (EMCDS). Authors: David SELBY and Fumiyo KAGAWA. Brasília: UNESCO, 2014.
  2. Current Themes in Climate Change: For elementary and high school. Authors: Pedro Roberto JACOBI; Edson GRANDISOLI; Sonia Maria Viggiani COUTINHO; Roberta de Assis MAIA and Renata Ferraz de TOLEDO. São Paulo: IEE – USP, 2015. 
  3. New themes in climate emergency for elementary and high schools. Authors: Edson GRANDISOLI; Pedro Henrique Campello TORRES; Pedro Roberto JACOBI; Renata Ferraz de TOLEDO; Sonia Maria Viggiani COUTINHO and Kauê Lopes dos SANTOS. São Paulo: IEE-USP, 2021.

How do you and other teachers involve kids this age on such topics?

I always use strategies that make young people think, reflect and act on the causes and consequences of the problem. I use documentaries, podcasts, readings and discuss scientific articles, posts on social networks, and community interventions. 

Teachers animating debate

Gloria animating a documentary debate on a screening and discussion of the documentary A Campanha Contra o Clima, “The Campaign against Climate”, with the 1st year class of the Integrated Environment Education Technical High School.

What’s the best advice your students have given you?

My students surprise me on a daily basis with their concerns and positioning regarding their future and the future of all people on the planet. The best advice they have given me is to expand internal and external actions to raise awareness about climate change, so that I can increase the number of people involved in the search for solutions.  

Class visit to the Municipal Natural Park “Mata da Câmara”, at the city of São Roque.
Students listening to the guide at the Municipal Natural Park “Mata da Câmara”, in São Roque.

Are you optimistic about the future?

Sometimes, when faced with deniers and people who use economic and political power to manipulate public opinion, I get a little discouraged. However, when I see young people fighting for a better future, I renew my hopes. I remain hopeful that it is possible to change the tragic path that we have chosen to follow.

Meet Gloria

Gloria works for the Federal Institute of Education of Science and Technology in São Roque, São Paulo, Brazil. (https://www.ifsp.edu.br/)

She works with young people in high school, aged 15 to 18, and adults in higher education, aged 18 to 60. 

She has a Teacher’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, a Master’s degree in Ecology and Natural Resources, and a PhD in Science and Mathematics Teaching.

She has been working with Environmental Education for over 20 years, helping to form multipliers.