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Educating for a Sustainable Future - Resources

Box 6.2.2: VEE Heuristic

This is a useful technique for pupils and/or teachers to:
Plan a learning and teaching programme.
Evaluate a learning and teaching programme.


Before starting a learning and teaching programme a teacher has to select a suitable topic. This selection may be done in consultation with the pupils. Figure 6.2.3 assumes that the teacher will choose the focus question, because she/he is better informed about what the pupils are supposed to learn. However, it can be feasible for pupils to select the focus question

1 At the start of a learning and teaching programme pupils always start with an empty Vee and the pupils start the Vee by adding the focus question to their copy of the Vee.
2 The teacher then asks the questions. Why should we study this issue? Why use time to try to investigate this issue? Each pupil answers these questions individually. Pupils will usually already know something about the issue.
3 Construct a concept or mental map of pupils’ existing knowledge about the issue. This information is important for both the pupils and the teacher. From the concept map, identify the main concepts that will be involved in learning about the issue.
4 Pupils have to answer the question, how are you planning to get an answer to the focus question? After completing steps 2-5 (Figure 6.2.3) the teacher collects pupils’ answers in order to analyse them. Then it is time to start the learning programme according to the pupils’ and teacher’s plans drawn up in step 4. This part of a learning and teaching project can last for many weeks or for a few days. The time depends on the focus question.
5 What object and events have to be researched in order to get answers to the focus question? After studying the issue pupils are given their original Vee again and the teacher asks the pupils to write down everything they did to find answers to the focus question (step 5-9).
6 Then the pupils draw a second individual concept map. When they have completed these the teacher shows each pupil their first map. The pupils are asked what knowledge they have constructed and are usually very surprised to see how much they have learned.
7 The last question (step 10) is evaluative, about how valuable they think that knowledge they have constructed is.

Section 6.2
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