Want to make creations as awesome as this one?


British council

How to Engage Your Learners with Environment Issues?

Pop-up activity

Boring, unappealing, predictable

Low level learners

I can't choose the topics I teach

Milica Vukadin and Owain Llewellyn

No expertise in environmental education


Critical thinking questions for any text (spicy)


  • a text (listening, written, video, a picture. Even something someone in the class says!
  • These questions:
    • What is the aim of the text (e.g. to persuade, inform, etc)?
      Who do you think paid to have this article written? Why?
      Which of these aspects of the topic are not mentioned? Why do you think that is?
  • Thank you for this idea Dan Barber!

Adding environmental aspect to regular activities

While covering topics from your textbook (literally any topic) think about how can you give this topic an environmental twist.

Example: Theme 'My Birthday' 1st or 2nd grade - almost all textbooks have this theme.

How can we make the birthday party more environmentally friendly?

What can we swap (cups, napkins, paper plates, the way we wrap presents, no balloons, etc.)

Lead the students to discover how can birthdays be more eco-friendly, and make a pros and cons poster, or a poster to 'green-up' regular events/activities such as a birthday.

The double food pyramid

  • Does this image have healthy food in it?
  • Does this image have food that is delicious?
  • Name 5 foods you can see.
  • Which foods can you eat a lot of?
  • Which foods are good for the environment?
  • Where does a dish you like fit in here?
  • What can we do to make our diet more environmentally friendly?
  • What will the impact on your lifestyle be?

Imagine the next topic in the syllabus is food. How can we hack it?

Are the activities boring and unappealing?

Try an experiment!

Water pollution

Face to face activity, online (the teacher can do the experiment in a live lesson and the children can do the rest of the activity their parents and present in an online lesson).

Individual and group work

Here’s a difficult question: How does water pollution work? How can we know the water is polluted?

What You Need:

  • 3 cups of water
  • Food coloring
  • Salt
  • Vinegar

The level of English prevents you from teaching environmental education

Option 1: grade the questions

  • Can you see some bread?
  • Where is the chicken?
  • How many potatoes?
  • Do you like cake?
  • Is meat good for the environment?
  • Are fruit and vegetables good for the environment?

Writing e-mails to children from other countries

Face to face activity, online (Parents can do this activity as well.).

Individual and group work

For this activity, you do not need to know a lot of environmental or scientific words.

Find pen-pals to discuss local environmental programs live or via email.

You can practice both writing and speaking. To find a class/children simply ask in any teacher Facebook group and present your cooperation. Ask questions and compare the information to your city/country. Are there similarities?

Here are some easy prompts for starting a discussion:

Find teachers for this activity in:

  1. ELT Footprint Facebook group
  2. British Council Teaching English Facebook group

This is a common concern for teachers - you are not alone if you are worried about this.

You are not a climate scientist. You might not have a science degree.

But you are highly skilled teaching professional with expertise in:

  • facilitating dialogue
  • managing discussions
  • giving feedback on language use
  • motivating students to learn

Geo-inquiry: Be a facilitator

Help your learners explore by themselves by using Geo-Inquiry to make questions and investigate.

Here are the steps of the Geo-Inquiry process:

  1. ASK – develop a Geo-Inquiry question (you need to teach students how to make questions properly);
  2. COLLECT – acquire geographic information;
  3. VISUALIZE – organize and analyze geographic information;
  4. CREATE – develop Geo-Inquiry stories;
  5. ACT – share Geo-Inquiry stories.

Explore this article on British Council Teaching English to see an example project.

Click on the links to learn more and get more resources for your environmental education activities: