The pupils of a school in Huesca, Joaquín Costa de Monzón, have been working on their project GREEN SCHOOL. This is an effort by the school community to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly environment within their campus. They endeavour to have a positive effect on waste management within the school and hope that the now more eco-conscious students will take their green practices with them wherever they go.
The OPERA teaching method
The project, while commendable in the current context of the climate crisis, is also innovative for another reason. The teachers, partners, and students involved used an interactive and alternative teaching method called OPERA. For readers already familiar with the NEMESIS project, the term OPERA may ring a bell. OPERA is a practice often invoked as part of the co-creation process. OPERA has become so integral to our collaborative way of developing projects that it has become a fixed part of the first co-creative laboratories that we set up in schools. In fact, it was the OPERA structure of teaching that encouraged this Huesca school to pursue their journey with NEMESIS.
OPERA is a five-step process of learning which encourages students to brainstorm and develop their own ideas. First, they come up with ideas by themselves (Own Thinking). Then, they exchange these ideas with other students they are partnered with (Pairs). The process continues with presentations given before the class who subsequently vote on what they have heard, ranking and arranging the ideas that the students would ultimately like to pursue. A truly democratic form of decision making. In the case of the GREEN SCHOOL project at least, OPERA has proved to be a fruitful and eye-opening learning method.
Joining forces with NEMESIS
While the school initiated the project on their own, they have decided to join us as they endeavour to take their project further. They announced this decision to join forces with NEMESIS on Twitter:
“We have joined the NÉMESIS project! This European Project uses different practices to make improvements at a social level. Its formula: actively make deals and decisions that are agreed on by the student body. For this reason, it fits in perfectly with our overall goal to save the environment. In this way, we are all taking action in our Greenschool Project in a more active way than ever before.”
First NEMESIS Co-Creation labs
As part of the first phase of their NEMESIS Green School project, teachers and students held a meeting. Here, they distributed notebooks with the guidelines for the project, checking that all items were agreed upon in the ‘Environmental Constitution’. Two tasks were assigned to each class involved:
1. Come up with the best possible placement for their Environmental Constitution posters, so that it could be seen.
2. Brainstorm ideas to store reusable tupperwares and wrappers during lunch, to reduce plastic waste at lunchtime.
They held another meeting to exchange and compare ideas with the NEMESIS Green team representatives. Here, children on the Green team, teachers, the principal, and a member of the school board also voted on the new Green School Logo.
In their next meeting they will collect suggestions from families and the educational community, and decide on the right format for future co-creation labs.
Given the impressive entrepreneurial initiative that the school has demonstrated so far, we have no doubt that they will be a perfect match for our network of innovative teams. We welcome them with open arms into the project and expect to see great strides within their school, both in terms of the environment and the community in general.
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