New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

A Climate Academy in a European Secondary School New Pedagogical Strategy for Climate Education

Nicolas Duquenne, European School of Brussels 2 (Belgium)


In a context of environmental systemic crisis, the Climate Academy Program emphasizes the importance of education in supporting the societal transition to environmental sustainability and in providing students and staff with the necessary sustainability skills to provide Education for Sustainable Development with a cross curriculum approach in line with EU and international documents. The last JRC (Joint Research Center) report establishes this academic framework. This objective is in line with the UN sustainable Development Goals, as well as with the EU Commission’s Green Deal. The Climate Academy can strengthen the academic profile of students by developing their key competences for lifelong learning through cross-curricular projects and a rich variety of learning approaches and environments. Each year, 12-16 students (15/16 y/o) are offered the chance to join the Academy, based on their academic strengths and transversal skills. This core group stays together for a cycle of 3 years. The Climate Academy offers students the opportunity to learn about climate change in its systemic dimensions by accessing academic knowledge and by developing forward-thinking civic and entrepreneurial skills. The core commitment is one formal teaching period in the students’ official school timetable, with projects that they develop plugged into this. At the start of the cycle, the emphasis is on the systemic understanding, and the students progressively become more autonomous in the projects and learning. The Academy can offer a backbone to which numerous initiatives, which up until now have been fragmented and isolated, can be attached. It can offer the necessary cohesion required for a systemic understanding of climate change. The interdisciplinary nature represents a new form of teaching: a pedagogical cross-sectional approach, which may be project-based, and assisted by peer training.  

This fosters a blended learning approach based on 3 main pillars. The first and core one is the systemic understanding that climate change presents. The second one refers to a civic engagement: Students develop media literacy, skills in journalism, and high-quality media publications. Students publish work (articles, podcasts, videos) in partnership with a professional partner. The third pillar could be defined as entrepreneurship. Indeed, students in the Climate Academy design, manage and implement projects that open up the different layers to the core science of climate change. The core group of  students learn a vast range of Life-Long Learning skills and key competences in the process. These projects develop the skills of collaboration, resilience, and networking.

Keywords Climate Change; Anthropocene; Systemic; Critical Thinking 


• GreenComp, The European sustainability competence framework (JRC)

• What is Education and Outreach? | UNFCCC

• Green education initiatives | European Education Area (

• Education for Sustainable Development (


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