by Cristiano Lupo
What does innovative teaching look like and what can it achieve? This was shown by Stefan Junker of the Max Planck School in Kiel. The 46-year-old geography and math teacher wanted to find out from his students what they knew about climate change. The class was able to identify seven questions on the topic. What happens if the 2 degree target is exceeded? What is the impact of global warming of 1.5 degrees? What is the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees of global warming? How can climate change be stopped? If the causes ceased immediately, would the earth regenerate completely? When and why will humanity lose the ability to intervene in anthropogenic climate change? What will the world be like in 2050?
The Geomar Helmholtz Center helps
When the students tried to answer their questions, they realized they needed help. “Tobias Beyer and his team at the Geomar Helmholtz Center then supported us with review tips and research tips,” says Stefan Junker. When the project work was done and all seven questions were answered, the students wanted to make their accumulated knowledge available to others. “We then received support from Karina Kruse from the Kiel environmental agency, who said we could print flyers and posters and post student work on the website,” says the teacher.
Social media make the project known
However, the breakthrough came with social media. There were quickly many supporters for the teaching project, such as the second division soccer team Holstein Kiel. “In the end we got feedback from Bayern Munich and even from former Chancellor Angela Merkel,” says Stefan Junker happily. The class was also able to share their knowledge with Kiel Climate Week visitors. The girls and boys then also discussed with the visitors of the event. Climate activist Luisa Neubauer also learned about the project and talked about it in her podcast.
“It is enormous to realize that something can be achieved. And I believe that schools can do a lot more,” says Stefan Junker. In the end, it is also thanks to the class: “We teachers think of ideas on how to encourage students. But we only open the door, the students have to walk through it alone.” Schleswig-Holstein Minister of Education Karin Prien (CDU) was also praised for this: “This shows that school is and must remain the space where social issues are discussed”.
Course trip by train
For Stefan Junker, what his class has achieved is impressive. The fact that the 46-year-old’s school project only came in second place for innovative teaching in the teacher’s award doesn’t bother him: “It’s much nicer that we changed something. For example, we didn’t take our school trip by plane, but in plane Zug. And many students have changed their behavior afterwards and are doing their part to protect the climate. “
Many winners of this year’s teacher’s award
The German Teacher Award is awarded in three different categories. These include “Excellent School Management”, “Excellent Teachers” and “Innovative Teaching”. In the last category, the project “Our question on the climate crisis” took second place. Junker was awarded the prize together with a team of 15 people.