Resources for Rethinking (R4R.ca)
Resources for Rethinking (R4R.ca) is a web portal that provides access to more than 1 000 teaching resources for teachers working on education for sustainable development.
Developed by Learning for a Sustainable Future, R4R.ca connects teachers to lesson plans, books, videos and other materials that explore the environmental, social and economic dimensions of important issues and events unfolding in our world today. R4R resources have been reviewed (and provided for) by classroom teachers that matched them to relevant curriculum outcomes for each province and territory in Canada. This portal is used by many teachers and other educators across Canada.
It contains a very effective search engine that enables teachers to find resources for their subject classes and age groups that is linked to the resources database. It also contains a dedicated web section and a newsletter with links and suggestions for activities that happen outside of school (outdoors), as well as a calendar of sustainability-related days and events, and suggestions for cooperation with other projects and initiatives outside of direct school environment.
The R4R represents one of the better organised and well-resourced databases on education for sustainable development available not just in the Canadian context, but also worldwide. All the resources in the database are reviewed by experienced teachers and linked very closely to the curriculum requirements in different parts of Canada.
Although most of the resources available adopt a “soft” approach to dealing with sustainability issues that is largely de-politicized and aimed at developing individual agency and/or community action that does not challenge structural inequalities, injustices and relations of power, the portal nevertheless represents an admirable example of a well-executed educational resource database, hosted by an NGO, but edited/reviewed by teachers themselves and supported by various other partner organisations and networks.
The resources collected on the website also offer many innovative approaches to EDST, especially since a whole section, called Step Outside is dedicated to a simple, but in the context of formal schooling almost revolutionary idea of learning about nature in nature. As such the portal should be of relevance to anyone interested in innovative approaches to EDST, as well as to those that are interested in developing multistakeholder partnerships across sectors, which may be considered LSFs trademark approach.
The tightly knit connections between resource content and curriculum demands can also be used by GCE advocates as an example of the depth and breadth of the extent to which GCE (or EDST) can be embedded in formal education systems.