A Curriculum of Resilience: Increasing Personal Resilience through Environmental Education

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As more communities feel the impacts of climate change, the field of environmental education (EE) has been incorporating climate change topics into EE curriculum. One such topic, resilience, has begun to emerge. Most EE resilience activities focus on ecological resilience rather than personal resilience, even though both of these concepts are deeply intertwined with climate change. This paper explores a case study of resilience in EE that explicitly connects personal and ecological resilience via a middle school resilience curriculum co-created by researchers, resilience practitioners, and educators in coastal North Carolina. This curriculum blends personal and ecological resilience concepts using activities including storytelling. This study examines how teachers responded to the co-created curriculum writing process and the resulting resilience curriculum. Specifically, we asked, 1. What were teachers' perspectives on the challenges and benefits of the co-creation curriculum design experience? 2. What were teachers’ perspectives on the challenges and benefits of teaching the interdisciplinary resilience curriculum? Our initial results identified four themes of teacher-identified benefits and five themes of teacher-identified challenges of resilience curriculum and curriculum design experience. Benefits include themes like meeting a distinct local need and engaging with like-minded professionals. Challenges include themes like the difficulty of navigating middle school identities when trying to be vulnerable and students knowing the right answers but having trouble applying those answers to their personal lives. We will use these preliminary findings to iterate and improve on the curriculum and design process to better serve the teachers and students in this area.





McCollum, Aurora (2023). A Curriculum of Resilience: Increasing Personal Resilience through Environmental Education. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27147.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.