This summer Binghamton High School Social Studies Teacher Taylor Weigand traveled to Potsdam, Germany as an Alumni-Teacher Fellow representing SUNY Cortland to present a lecture on “Teaching the SDG’s- Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship.” This seminar was intended to engage future teachers who will play a vital role when it comes to implementing the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals to prepare younger generations for the challenges in an ever-changing world.
The 17 SDGs, which are an urgent call for action by all countries, are part of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. These SDGs recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth- all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Weigand has been working with SUNY Cortland as a guest speaker and host teacher for its social studies educator program. He said the head of the program approached him two years ago and asked if he would be interested in this project.
“I immediately jumped at the opportunity and worked as an Alumni Teacher Fellow, to bring a practical teaching experience to the international classroom, both in a virtual setting and in Potsdam,” he said.
Weigand assisted with “Engaging with Global Citizenship,” one of several courses offered during the summer program. This interdisciplinary class centered on issues of migration, language and culture, and identities.
Weigand said that the seminar included people from across the globe and broadened his personal and professional horizons.
“The shared experience allowed me to get exposure to many different professionals with different outlooks and practices,” he said. “Sustainability is not just an environmental buzzword, rather it is a mindset that can be fostered in people and bring about positive change. By educating students and pairing the learning with action, small immediate change can be derived while encouraging involved citizenship from future generations.”
Weigand said he is always looking for ways to engage his students through teachable moments.
“I want to move beyond just teaching and begin to encourage students to address their concerns with informed action through proper channels,” he said. “I believe those educational opportunities can make positive long-term changes.”