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Linking Research and Training in Internationalization of Teacher Education with the PEERS Program: Issues, Case Studies and Perspectives

Edited By Jean-Luc Gilles

The PEERS program proposes international exchanges adapted to the context of teacher training institutions wishing to take advantage of internationalization in order to link training, research, and practice. PEERS is based on the completion of Research and Innovation (R&I) projects during the academic year, during which international groups of professors and students from teacher training partner institutions collaborate remotely as well as during two placements of one week. For the students, the PEERS program aims to develop competencies in distance collaboration with the help of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the management of intercultural groups, and the continuous improvement of their activities through reflective thinking and the spirit of research. For the professors the PEERS program aims to better link research and training, to reinforce their skills in the management of international research projects and to foster opportunities for international publications.

The aim of this collective book is to give an overview of the Issues, case studies and perspectives of the PEERS program. The first section entitled "Issues, Opportunities, and Challenges for the Internationalization of Teacher Training in a Globalized, Multicultural, and Connected World", focuses on the foundations and general features of PEERS projects, as well as the context of globalization in the intercultural and connected world in which it is situated.

The second section, "Case Studies and Lessons Learned from the PEERS Project in Southern Countries" constitutes a series of chapters presenting case studies on PEERS projects focused on innovation and cooperation in the developing world. The third section, "Results of Research-Oriented PEERS Projects," considers the results from PEERS projects that have enabled the implementation of theoretical and practical educational research, generally taking the form of small-case research studies or innovations in the design of teaching units. Finally, in the conclusion we propose to present the key points of the three sections that make up this book "Linking Research and Training in Internationalization of Teacher Education with the PEERS Program: Issues, Case Studies and Perspectives".

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Chapter 15: Teaching Urban Ecology in Schools in Switzerland and the United States: Considering the Design of an Ecodistrict (Philippe Hertig)

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Philippe Hertig

philippe.hertig@hepl.ch

University of Teacher Education of State of Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland

Chapter 15: Teaching Urban Ecology in Schools in Switzerland and the United States: Considering the Design of an Ecodistrict

Abstract

This PEERS Project involved faculty members and students from HEP Vaud and Lesley University during the academic year 2011–12. Due to the very different profiles of the participating students, the project was designed as follows: the Swiss students developed an interdisciplinary teaching unit focused on the topic of Ecodistricts and taught it to their senior high school students in Geography and Biology. The American students worked on an adaptation of this teaching unit for much younger pupils (2nd grade and 4/5th grades). Both teams also developed teacher’s guides for their units. Highlights of the collaboration were the discussions about the students’ different visions of sustainable development, urban ecology, and ecodistricts, and about the educational and methodological approaches of teaching education for sustainable development with younger pupils or high school students. The chapter gives an overview of both teaching units’ main features and of the benefits and challenges of the collaboration.

1. Introduction and Context

Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the topic of urban ecology offers broad opportunities as part of teacher training, since it has to be approached via methods that derive as much from the natural sciences as from the human and social sciences, all while taking into account the...

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