Cool

Competence oriented open learning for disadvantaged learners

STAND UP TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Avista St. Vincent’s Centre Navan Road is the home of St. Vincent’s Creative Dance Programme. This programme works with 28 individuals with intellectual disability.

The aim of St. Vincent’s Centre creative dance programme is to develop participants movement and nurture verbal and physical communication through dance education. This group was founded in 2017 and has created a number of educational projects using creative dance.

The performers engage in an interpretive dance focused on the key themes of environmental degradation and the need to take action to address climate change. The message of the video was made all the more apparent as the country was battered by three major storms the week of the live webinar premier of the video.

Challenge Tackled

The emergence of climate change is a serious issue worldwide and has led to the idea and implementation of the 2030 Agenda European Climate Target Plan. This plan is comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One of the goals, focuses on how quality education amongst students, impact on SDG 13, which is climate action. Education that emphasises more on sustainable actions will aid in improving the environmental condition of this world. The group of learners at Avista firstly outlined the scope of the global environmental problem and the challenges it may present to society through Zoom workshops. The group decided that they wanted to visually show the impact environmental issues have on everyone, including those with a disability and identify the role that every citizen plays in our environment. As a collective, they opted to express their concerns through dance and the produced a video for the general public. Every movement was choreographed and adapted to suit every individual's ability. Each learner practiced for months in advance to ensure that their participation showcased their views on the environment around them without the use of words. Al Ramiah and Hewstone, (2013) suggests

that personal contact between the wider community by those perceived to be different has repeatedly been shown to change public perceptions. With this final video all of the learners wanted to empower others to have a voice about their views and concerns regarding climate change.

Target group, beneficiaries or clients

    • People with disabilities.

Solution

Goal 13 of the UN sustainability goals outlines the need to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Avista as an organisation has pledged to play its part in supporting staff and individuals to help reduce waste and increase awareness of how small changes can make a big impact. This video project has helped unite staff, individuals and visitors to work together by improving day to day activities and encouraged us all to think about the effect of our activities on the planet.

Innovation

This project explores new ways to educate people with intellectual disabilities and to encourage them to take on the role as active global citizens. This project uses creative dance as a method to teach new concepts, develop new skills and build our participant’s confidence.

Although learners with intellectual disabilities are limited in their capacity to fully understand the global environmental issues

that we find ourselves in. The individuals involved in this project wanted to learn and explore new ways of learning. The project began in Spring 2021 as an offshoot of the 'Rethinking Day Supports' efforts underway across Avista's service. The organisation intended to restructure day supports with greater emphasis on activities and opportunities based on the individual's/learner's needs, wants, and preferences. In order to begin the process of learning more about the environment, Avista Project Co- Ordinator Carmen Martinez used accessible easy read material to engage learners and found educational video content on deforestation, plastic pollution, water pollution and littering in public places. Learners had the opportunity to engage and react to the content either verbally or via assisted technology. These learning sessions were held via Zoom and in person depending on Covid- 19 restrictions.

Impact

The outcomes, which are reflected in the resulting project videos, exceeded the expectations of everyone involved. We witnessed first-hand how participants overcame the limitations imposed by their intellectual and physical disabilities and

support needs.

The participants engage in an interpretive dance focused on the key themes of environmental degradation and the need to take action to address climate change. The message of the video was made all the more apparent as the country was battered by three major storms the week of the live webinar premier of the video.

It was a wonderful opportunity to work alongside Fingal County Council who provided vital access to Donabate beach where we filmed the video and all our stakeholders who actively supported this active and inclusive learning environment.

https://www.facebook.com/AvistaCLG

Carmen Martinez

carmen.martinez@docservice.ie