Select a project for reorienting education to address sustainability
(e.g., creating a green campus, incorporating more social equity into
campus policy, modifying primary school curriculum to include sustainability).
Also, see Stoplight exercise
to prioritize which projects are ready for action.
Write the project name in the space provided at the top of the Steering
Around the Barriers worksheet.
Participants brainstorm barriers to the project:
Each participant states one or two barriers he or she wants the
group to discuss (2 minutes maximum per person). Each participant
speaks in turn without comment or interruption from remaining participants.
Write each barrier mentioned on a large sheet of paper, summarizing
each barrier with a keyword or short phrase. Affix paper to wall for
all to see.
Prioritize barriers to the project:
Ask participants to select three barriers to be discussed in depth.
Hint: Choose the three barriers which have the greatest potential
to stymie the progress of the project.
Write the three selected barriers in the top row of the Steering
Around the Barriers worksheet ("Barrier #1," etc.)
Ask participants to use their worksheets to analyze each barrier and
classify its source (e.g., barrier: the geography curriculum does not
include sustainability; source of the barrier: the nationally mandated
curriculum). (10 minutes).
Ask each participant to share his or her ideas about the sources of
these three barriers to change. Write down each person's ideas on a
large sheet of paper for all to see.
Using these ideas, participants work together to fill in the section
"Sources of barriers" on the left side of the worksheet. Participants
discuss each of the three barriers in turn to gain a deeper understanding
Write relevant details in the spaces under each column, and brainstorm
solutions for each barrier (15 minutes).
Write ideas for solutions in the space labeled "Solutions"
on the worksheet. (Numbers along the left side refer to Barriers #1,
2, and 3).
If the barriers
to your project seem too numerous, try the following before beginning
Participants brainstorm barriers and write down each barrier on a
separate 3" x 5" card.
Spread out all cards on a table. Participants then group together
cards with similar themes.
Ask the participants to identify a common theme for each group of
cards (e.g., funding, human resources, lack of awareness/understanding).
Discuss the themes.
Have participants examine the barriers under each theme. Discuss the
Can some barriers be combined into one theme?
Can any barriers easily
Can some barriers be safely ignored?
Are some barriers based on assumptions rather than facts? Use the
exercise Examining Assumptions to address
Write a keyword or short
phrase that describes the common theme for each group of cards.