22nd April 2021
From 2020 into 2021, we have been reflecting on all the world has been collectively experiencing since the start of the pandemic and, in particular, how it has caused the environment to rise even more strongly to the top of the agenda. What will the post-pandemic world look like? How do we want to take care of the communities we live in and the environment around us all?
Whilst we’ve been understandably focused on the need to take care of ourselves, and those close to us during the global health pandemic, the subject of climate change and the need to take care of our planet, is one that is never far from our day-to-day reality.
April 22nd is World Earth Day. So, we take a moment to reflect about the environment today.
Wales might be a small country, but it has big ambition. Last Autumn Wales had it’s very own #WalesClimateWeek, which aimed to raise awareness of climate change and encourage anyone passionate about it to join conversations with national and global policymakers, campaigners and innovators about how climate change can be tackled.
In Wales, we do things differently. We have a law which helps us work together to improve our environment, our economy, our society and our culture. We are the first and only country in the world to legalise our plans. This is called the Well-being of Future Generations Act. That means the decisions we make in this country have to take into consideration the future impact, and make sure it’s a positive one. Plus, it holds us accountable to them.
At Celtic we continue to be committed to our environmental goals. In February 2020 we completed renovations to our main building that will help us save energy by installing double glazing windows and automatic lights. Our suppliers are green energy. Plus, during the pandemic we dramatically reduced our paper and print use, going digital, and now students use e-books and we are developing more e-materials.
We are also committed to curriculum development in educating others in their environmental and global awareness, as global citizens. We offer the Global Citizenship English course for adults which combines learning English with taking the Global Competence Certificate. Students also explore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through this course.
Also, in summer 2020, Celtic combined teaching English with an environmental focus in ‘Camp Change Makers’. Our Change Makers programme provided young learners with live face-to-face online topic-based session in the English language which allow them to explore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations Act.
We also ran ‘Holiday Club Change Makers’ for local schoolchildren using the same material. Louise, Head of Holiday Club Change Makers and programme lead, tells us more, “Lessons were focused on raising awareness of the UN SDGs through fun, interactive and thought-provoking exercises, encouraging students to become active participants in shaping the world around them into a better place for all. Students learnt how to work independently and collectively to find solutions to achieve certain goals and plan how to put those solutions into action”.
During the pandemic, whilst we have really missed to meet with our partners around the world face-to-face, we have had meetings, events and presentations, across every corner of the world online. This has resulted in a great reduction of international travel emissions in our sector, and now that we’ve all transitioned and seen what is possible, remote and virtual business is likely to continue to be a way that we reach out to our network in the post-pandemic world. Of course, there will always be an invaluable place for face-to-face meeting, but perhaps we will have a measured approach as to when to travel for business.
The pandemic also provoked a rise in remote working. We successfully moved all our teaching online and continue to offer online and hybrid teaching, as well as face-to-face classes at the Academy. Coming through the pandemic, Celtic has embraced the changes to set up our organisation to thrive, not only survive. We now operate an agile working environment, alongside enhancing our digital services and communications for our customers, as well as staff.
Learning in immersion is often the preference, when possible, but we have been delighted to embrace the remote and online changes that have also been effective in allowing our students to progress with learning English today, so they can start their tomorrow. It will be interesting to watch this space to see how students’ collective carbon footprint might be reduced as there are more options to take English language courses or workshops from your home country or take a short online course before an in-person immersion programme.
Or where travel isn’t practical, we can readily address local needs with in-country training, or flexible, remote tuition. We have successfully completed a programme of teacher training for a teacher’s association in Zambia with over 100 teachers! We could fit the training around teachers’ daily schedule and give this great opportunity for professional development and collaboration.
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